Many people who got COVID-19 vaccines say that they did it because they felt the risks were worth the potential protection from severe disease offered by the shots, but there are lots of signs that they’re not providing the degree of protection that many people hoped.
In Los Angeles County, where daily new cases are averaging between 2,000 and 2,500 – numbers that haven’t been seen since February – a quarter of new cases are among people who have been fully vaccinated.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said a rise has been seen in cases across the board, with cases among vaccinated people reportedly rising more slowly than in the unvaccinated, but it’s still bad news for those who thought they’d be in the clear after getting the vaccine.
According to data from the county, of the nearly 14,000 cases diagnosed between July 1 and 16, 74 percent were unvaccinated, while 26 percent were fully vaccinated. That amounts to 3,592 people. In June, 20 percent of the cases diagnosed in L.A. County were fully vaccinated, which isn’t much better, but the fact that the number is rising is concerning.
When broken down by vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine seems to fare the worst, with 0.27 percent of those fully vaccinated testing positive for COVID-19, followed by 0.15 percent with Pfizer and 0.09 percent with Moderna. A study published last month in the journal website BioRxiv revealed that Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine provided significantly less protection against the highly transmissible delta variant that is widely circulating right now than Pfizer and Moderna’s offerings. While the latter two were 94 to 95 percent effective at preventing COVID-19, the J&J jab was only 66.9 percent effective at preventing moderate to severe disease.
L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said: “As more people are vaccinated, the number of fully vaccinated people becoming infected will increase, and with the Delta variant that’s far more infectious, exposures to infections have also increased.”
Being vaccinated doesn’t make a person less contagious
It’s important to remember that no vaccine is 100 percent effective. Although fully vaccinated people are said to theoretically be less likely to become seriously ill or need hospitalization, it is not the free pass that so many people seem to think it is.
Of course, rising numbers of infections and the fact that we now know vaccinated people are equally as contagious as unvaccinated people don’t seem to be doing much to change restrictions aimed at excluding people who aren’t vaccinated from society.
L.A. County has recently started requiring that all residents wear masks in indoor public spaces. In addition, Los Angeles Unified School District has announced that all students and faculty will be required to get COVID-19 tests before going back to school this year, regardless of their vaccination status. They will be subject to baseline COVID-19 testing as well as ongoing weekly tests, a shift from their previous policy to only require testing among the unvaccinated.
Several restaurants and bars in the L.A. area are requiring that patrons show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to be served. Fox 11 L.A. reports that one Italian restaurant is not requiring proof of vaccination but is requiring customers to either show a negative test or take a rapid test right there at the restaurant, which patrons can buy for $12.
L.A. isn’t the only place where fully vaccinated people are getting sick. In fact, a CDC study showed that 74 percent of those infected in a recent Massachusetts outbreak were fully vaccinated. Yet the unvaccinated continue to be treated as pariahs, and businesses continue to impose rules aimed at excluding them even though those with vaccines are also contributing to the disease’s spread.
Sources for this article include: