The CDC has issued new guidelines for people vaccinated against Covid-19. They are incredibly conservative. And while the federal government tells vaccinated people they can stay indoors and not be seen in small groups with other vaccinated people or with family members who have not been vaccinated, it tells vaccinated people they cannot travel. But the reasons why don’t make sense.
The damage done by caution is the missed opportunities, the lives not lived during that time, and the message about how little benefit vaccination has. Soon we will come out of the Vaccine Thunderdome, fight for the vaccine and beg those who doubt the vaccine to get vaccinated. It’s a mistake to tell these people that it doesn’t give them much freedom – when science says it does.
I have argued that most people can feel well again after a full vaccination. The CDC said I was wrong. Let’s see.
vaccinated persons do not travel withvirus
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walenski said Monday: Each time there is more travel, the number of cases in our country increases. But that’s not really true, and it completely misses the point.
First: Travel is not the cause of the pandemic. On Labor Day, there was no increase in activity. The number of cases was already on the rise before the 4th quarter. July and Thanksgiving, and the trend has continued in an upward direction.
Moreover, the highlights of the trip coincide with the holidays. Back then, it wasn’t about drinking and driving, it was about indoor activities for community members during the holidays – families and friends meeting inside.
And in each case, Dr. Walenski describes what she believes happened to the unvaccinated, not the vaccinated.
If you don’t want to accept that, that’s fine, but show your work. Going to the authorities (but it’s the CDC that says so!) only begs the question. Going to the authorities should be your last resort, not your first.
Vaccines protect people enough to travel
A vaccinated person is highly protected against bad outcomes. Vaccine protection may vary depending on symptoms, but we don’t care. All vaccines provide incredible protection against hospitalization (so as not to overburden hospitals) and death. They may not be 100% certain, but they are certainly close. The widespread use of vaccination in Israel means that Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine is best studied in a real-world setting:
Once the vaccine has had a chance to work (7 days after the 2nd dose),
there were 2 hospital admissions in the vaccinated group
The main benefit of preventing hospitalizations and deaths was evident even before the second dose was administered. Dose of course.
It reminds us that a dose is always strong enough.
– Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH (@ashishkjha) 25. February 2021
They are protected by vaccination, not perfectly, but enough that most people expect to be able to participate in more activities than the CDC recommends. For example, you’re going out to dinner again.
And it’s the activities you do during the trip, not the trip itself, that were the riskiest to begin with. Airports are not ultra-safe, but planes are safer than other crowded facilities. If you go to a resort and stay in your room or by the pool, you are at less risk than people who go to bars that must be 50% occupied.
The calculations may be different for an elderly person with co-morbidities than for a young, healthy person, but vaccines play an important role in the decision.
Vaccines protect others – not just you
Can you transmit the virus to other people? Again, this is less true if you are traveling and have limited space to devote, than if you are staying home and have no space. But we are starting to see protective vaccinations against the spread, not just symptomatic infection.
We know that vaccines do not eliminate the risk of transmission and that efficacy against asymptomatic transmission varies from vaccine to vaccine, but all vaccines licensed in the United States to date significantly reduce asymptomatic infection and transmission.
- We have known this for a long time because vaccines eliminate asymptomatic infections in primate studies and because treatment with monoclonal antibodies reduces viral load in all airways, including the nose.
- During the follow-up period, which began seven days after the second dose, vaccinated individuals were 92% less likely to test positive for coronavirus, 94% less likely to develop symptoms of COVID-19, and 92% less likely to develop severe illness.
- The CDC itself says that Israeli studies show that people who develop Covid-19 after vaccination have a viral load four times lower than unvaccinated people, so they are much less likely to spread the disease (and if they do, much more).
- The Lancet study found that infection rates (including asymptomatic infections) were reduced by 85% seven days after a second dose of the vaccine, with the British B.1.1.7 variant predominating, as in the US.
- A Mayo Clinic study of 60,000 people found that 88.7% were effective in preventing infections, not just symptoms.
There is no absolute guarantee that a vaccinated person will not carry and spread the virus, but the risk is significantly lower than for an unvaccinated person.
So what’s left?
There is a potential, but small, risk of someone getting sick while traveling if they had just stayed home and not gone to a restaurant.
There is a potential, but small, risk of someone becoming infected with the virus while traveling and not at home while eating at a restaurant.
And there is a potential, but small, risk that they will get a variant of the virus with the E484K mutation found in the Brazilian and South African strains, even if they are vaccinated, and spread those strains, although it is certainly the B.1.1.7 that seems to be becoming dominant, and vaccines against that offer high protection.
These risks will not end this year or even next year. The airlines are therefore asking the CDC to disclose the criteria it will use to adjust travel policies. The exceptionally low risk of the vaccinated individuals was not sufficient for the CDC to withdraw its recommendation not to travel. Yeah, so what? They won’t say.
Update: After I wrote this, I came across a new Washington Post article by Dr. Lina Wen,
This is not common sense. Nearly a month ago, the CDC said that vaccinated people, if they have no symptoms, do not need to be quarantined if they come into contact with someone with Covid-19 or be tested. If the risk of infection is so small that even contracting the virus does not require quarantine, why can’t we say that vaccinated people can return to work around people who are unlikely to have Covid-19?
Fly the plane. The risk of contamination during air travel is already very low if all passengers wear masks. This risk is of course even lower in vaccinated persons. Why can’t the CDC say that vaccinated people can travel without quarantine or testing?
I even think you could go even further and encourage those who are fully vaccinated to travel. The CDC may indicate that they need to be careful to achieve their goal. Go to z. B. do not go to parties with people whose vaccination status is unknown, but it is possible to visit extended family, go to the beach and parks, and visit cultural institutions (while wearing a mask in public).
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