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Why the COVID cases of people vaccinated in LA County are not surprising


In June, 20% of Los Angeles County coronavirus cases were in fully vaccinated residents. That’s up from May, when 11% of coronavirus cases were in that group.

Is this a cause for concern? Is something new going on here?

In fact, the development is not surprising to health experts, who say it is to be expected, especially when transmission increases dramatically.

They point out that vaccines offer extraordinary protection against COVID-19, even the highly infectious Delta variant. Plus, they said, the mass vaccinations prevented what would otherwise have been a much worse wave.

What is going on?

When the coronavirus begins to spread more widely, it will test the immune systems of people who have been vaccinated more often. And some people will be exposed to just enough coronavirus in their body for it to appear as an asymptomatic infection or mild illness.

The most important factor, according to experts, is whether a person ends up getting sick enough to need to go to the hospital. And the available data continues to support that the vaccines used in the United States are very effective in this regard.

“Infections after vaccination are expected. No vaccine is 100% effective, ”said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US government’s foremost infectious disease expert. “However, even if a vaccine does not completely protect against infection, it usually protects against serious illness if it is successful.”

According to Fauci, it’s extraordinarily unusual for a type of vaccine to be so protective that it makes a virus completely benign in any case. (Part of the reason that vaccines do such a good job of preventing diseases like polio and smallpox is that they are taken by enough people to achieve herd immunity.)

Vaccines are still considered effective if they prevent a virus from causing serious illness that can lead to hospitalization or death, Fauci said.

LA County Situation

According to a chart presented Thursday by the LA County Public Health Department, there were around 1,000 cases of the coronavirus in June among those fully vaccinated – accounting for 20% of all infections diagnosed during that time.

By the end of this month, about half of the Angelenos had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data compiled by The Times. That means the other unvaccinated half of the county accounted for 80% of all new infections.

Overall, of the more than 4.8 million people in LA County who were fully vaccinated, 6520 – about 0.13% – subsequently tested positive; 287 of them, around 0.006%, had to be hospitalized for COVID-19; and 30,0006%, ultimately died.

Why the COVID cases of people vaccinated in LA County are not surprising

If so many LA County residents had not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the total number of coronavirus cases would have been much higher in June, said public health director Barbara Ferrer.

The vast majority of fully vaccinated people who subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus “have known either no illness or very mild illness,” she added.

“So, yes, if you are fully vaccinated you have a lot of protection, which is what vaccines have always been best at: protecting people from serious illness and death. And these vaccines – even with the Delta variant – hold up very well, ”Ferrer said.

Getting an infection after being fully immunized, she continued, means that “your chances of the two of them ending up in the hospital, ending up in an intensive care unit, ending up being intubated is much less than the odds. for this to happen if you are someone who is not vaccinated. “

“Even for fully vaccinated people who are infected, they are much less likely to get as sick as unvaccinated people to require hospitalization and die,” she said.

Why the COVID cases of people vaccinated in LA County are not surprising

High risk unvaccinated

Data released by LA County shows that unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people were nearly five times more likely to be infected than fully vaccinated people.

Among those fully vaccinated, there were about 27 coronavirus infections per 100,000 people in the county in June, according to figures presented Thursday. But among those not fully vaccinated, there were 125 infections per 100,000 population.

That month, there were also 2 fully vaccinated people hospitalized per 100,000 population – much lower than the comparable rate, 11, for those not fully vaccinated.

“Case rates have increased dramatically among unvaccinated people. And while cases are also increasing in people who have been vaccinated, the increase is much smaller and much slower than in people who are not vaccinated, ”Ferrer said. “Our county’s case rate would probably be much higher if we didn’t have so many people vaccinated. “

Death rates for both cohorts were very low, but still higher among those who were not fully immunized.

Why the COVID cases of people vaccinated in LA County are not surprising

A limited peak?

Despite the new wave of infections seen in LA County, many experts don’t believe the pattern seen earlier in the pandemic – spikes in cases triggering waves of hospitalizations and deaths – will necessarily materialize this time around – ci, because more than half of LA County residents are fully vaccinated.

In Britain, for example, where 54% of residents are fully vaccinated, authorities are reporting around 700 cases of newly diagnosed coronavirus per day, not far from its peak of 800 cases per day at the worst time of its pandemic, Ferrer said. . Still, the country’s death rate is only one-thirtieth of what it was at its worst peak, and hospital admissions are relatively low.

In Israel, 58% of the population is fully vaccinated and daily cases have increased exponentially since mid-June, Ferrer said. But “daily deaths are still low. Some level of community immunity appears to protect the people of these countries as a whole from the types of mass tragedies we have all witnessed earlier in this pandemic. And that’s encouraging news, and it’s further proof for us that increasing immunizations to as high a level as possible is our best way to get back to very low community transmission rates. “

Ongoing data continues to show that vaccines are very effective against COVID-19, Fauci said, although certainly not 100% effective.

Studies show that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are 95% and 94% effective against symptomatic COVID-19, respectively, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 72% effective against a clinically recognizable disease in the United States.

“What we’re really dealing with is efficacy against serious illnesses leading to hospitalization,” Fauci said. “Even though we see infections after vaccination – commonly referred to as’ breakthrough infections’ – the efficacy against serious illness is still substantial, which is, again, another argument we all keep saying: ‘Do- vaccinate yourself. It offers good protection against diseases.





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