The daily beast
Vaccines are more effective than you think, even with these looming variations
Illustration photo by The Daily Beast / Getty Andy Slavitt was shocked when he joined the Biden administration. “I felt when I arrived – like many, many Americans were – that there were large stocks of vaccines waiting to be released. over the past year. It has been much, much less the case than I think we were led to believe, ”White House Senior Advisor for the COVID Response said to Molly Jong-Fast and Jesse Cannon on the latest episode of The New Abnormal. “Not enough vaccines, not enough vaccinators, not enough places where people can get vaccinated.” “So when we got here on January 20, one of the things we learned [was] only 46 percent of vaccines delivered to states had actually entered the hands of the population. Now you never expect it to be 100%. But 46 percent? He was weak, ”Slavitt adds. There is now a plan in place to purchase up to 600 million doses, hopefully enough for every American. States are now using 75 percent of their doses, a big step up from a few weeks ago. And there might be another vaccine around the corner, from Johnson & Johnson. “I would like to tell you that we weren’t going to start with a huge stockpile of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The truth is, we start with a small number and we need to build it up as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, the virus is evolving. More contagious and deadly variants are spreading quickly. But even here, Slavitt sees signs of hope. “All vaccines work very well against the English variant B117. So it’s good. The South African variant – and there is another that looks like the South African variant, it’s the Brazilian variant – this one is interesting. There is a degradation in the performance of vaccines against the South African variant. However, this degradation is fortunately still above the scientific threshold of effectiveness, ”says Slavitt. “It always generates antibodies. It doesn’t generate as many. But it’s good. The vaccines may even be a little better than advertised, Slavitt says. “You know, maybe we did ourselves a bit of a disservice when with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, we talked about the endpoint as including [severe] and soft [COVID-19 cases], because we really don’t care that much about softness. And so we’re very obsessed with the fact that they’re 95% effective against both, right. And we probably should have taken a step back and said, ‘You know what, let’s just measure it against more serious symptoms. In this case, the Johnson & Johnson is very close to comparable. And all vaccines seem to stop severe cases – of all variants. There are even indications that the “viral load” – the amount of virus a person carries – “is lowered for those vaccinated”, indicating “that these vaccines not only reduce disease and save lives, but these vaccines. will also reduce people’s ability to influence each other, which, if this resists, will be great news. But only if the vaccine gets into the hands of the people who need it. “It’s not just the number of vaccines given, but also how they are distributed fairly,” Slavitt warns. Because look, we all know there is half the population or more that would crawl on broken glass to get vaccinated. But the problem is, they’re crawling on other people, ”he adds. “You know, they connect and go to communities, maybe neighborhoods that they haven’t visited or visited in a long time, but [where] we are putting in vaccines that are really badly affected by the virus. People come in, refresh their browsers, go in and get those appointments. It’s really important that we don’t just focus on the number of people we’ve vaccinated, but that we do it in the fairest way possible. And that’s a big, big push for us. »Listen to The New Anormal on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher. Learn more about The Daily Beast. Get our best stories delivered to your inbox every day. Register now! Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside digs deeper into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.