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In major shift, EU says vaccine boosters should be considered for all adults (reuters.com)
36 points by bryan0 11 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 94 comments





> Available evidence emerging from Israel and the UK shows a significant increase in protection against infection and severe disease following a booster dose in all age groups in the short term

So, I’ll admit I don’t understand the physiological mechanisms at play (is it just waning antibody concentration?) but what is the long term strategy here? Is there going to be annual boosters with vaccine passports? The governments are not exactly being transparent and I think it is time now that things are under relative control to start having adult discussions and public policy debates once more.


> (is it just waning antibody concentration?)

Two notable mechanisms:

* The booster shot does increase antibody concentrations and recruits more memory B cells to make antibodies.

* Each booster also significantly increases the diversity of the immune response. You get more antibodies against the antigen, and you also get many more antibodies against things kind of like the antigen.

> but what is the long term strategy here? Is there going to be annual boosters

That's a really good question.

I personally believe (based on little evidence at this time) that each dose provides some small permanent increase in protection against infection, and a somewhat larger permanent increase in protection against severe illness.

So as we go through this whole exercise, a greater proportion of the population is protected and people are less likely to be carriers. In turn, it becomes easier to leave things up to individual choice, as the overall baseline risk reduces and people's choice mostly affects their own health.

> and I think it is time now that things are under relative control to start having adult discussions and public policy debates once more.

Yes. Look, I don't want to wear masks forever indoors. I think it'd be great to normalize it for when we're feeling under the weather or it's flu season, but I also want to be able to see other peoples' faces and carry on normal conversations.


> So as we go through this whole exercise, a greater proportion of the population is protected and people are less likely to be carriers.

I suspect we should also be vaccinating the wider world in order to minimize mutations which might nerf our vaccine and natural immunity. I’m of the impression that most of the world doesn’t hasn’t had even a single dose.

That said, last I checked, the US had donated more vaccine than all other countries combined and committed itself to many times more donations than it had already delivered. Further still, it was committed to building out the logistics infrastructure to make sure those vaccines get delivered and in such a way that other polities (e.g., Europe) can donate via that same infrastructure. Now we just need other polities to step up their donations.


> I’m of the impression that most of the world doesn’t hasn’t had even a single dose.

It's very unevenly distributed, but it looks like we're at ~55% with a single dose and ~43% fully vaccinated: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/world/covid-vaccina...


We don’t know the long-term strategy. We’re literally looking at the data coming out of Israel month-to-month to determine how long the boosters will be effective.

Why only Israel?

They have the highest vaccination rates the earliest.

Do you happen to know how they manage that ahead of the small northern European countries?

They paid Pfizer a lot more per dose than other countries. There were also reports that they were willing to share data on outcomes more freely (or less bureaucracy) than normal.

https://amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/617780/

Basically they negotiated to be Pfizer’s testbed / data partner for full rollout of the vaccine.


They are very very small, so when supplies were tight it didn't take many doses to fully vaccinate them, and then they are the lab test of the world. They are WAY smaller than even the small northern European countries.

They also have a very integrated very high tech medical data system, with complete info on each person, medical history, doses, everything in one file.


Their population is the same as ours in Sweden, the biggest Nordic country, while Belgium is only slightly bigger and Switzerland slightly smaller and we're all richer (their GDP is 200bn less than ours for example.)

We all also have a very integrated high tech medical data systems with complete info on each person, medical history, doses, everything in one file (and works anywhere in the country.)

So there must be a difference in policy.


yes, it was basically the one thing most people would agree that Netanyahu got right (at least if you're not an anti-vaxxer). He basically didn't wait for the vaccine, he went to Pfizer with a plan and worked closely with them to get it to fit their needs.

I believe the answer there is military enforced/backed vaccine mandate. To my knowledge so far Israel is the only state in the world to in some cases quite literally put guns to people's heads to take the vaccine. Don't know if it is the right approach or not, but in world vaccination statistics it has been a leading approach.

that's not true. there are plenty of anti vaxxers in Israel who have not been vaccinated. With that said, people who want to work (and have to work from an office setting) would have to pay for a test every 72 hours or so out of their own pocket. Of course if work from home, less of an issue. So, they've made it difficult for people to live their lives without being vaxxed, but they haven't put a gun to anyone's head or thrown anyone in jail for the simple act of not being vaccinated.

Many Orthodox Jewish communities outrightly refused vaccines and implementing the mandates. These communities saw the largest outbreaks, nonetheless there could never be. forced vaccination mandate in Israel

From outlier to harbinger.

That’s true. There were many people, including commenters on HN, recommending people ignore Israel’s booster data and recommendations because it was an “outlier”

Annual boosters for all volunteers or annual boosters for risk patients seem to be the most likely future strategy, depending on the approach of the local health authorities and the number of infections in the future. Just like with influenza, and it's probably going to be combined with the influenza shots.

Surely the answer is: we don't know. And, we'll see. For now I feel short term is a reasonable focus.

Hundreds of million of doses have been administered and "we don't know, we'll see". Seems foolhardy.

"You can't produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant."

Sometimes understanding long term effects requires long term observation.


It's more .. not letting perfect be the enemy of good enough. The longevity of the vaccine has been the only real disappointment so far - the results have been otherwise fantastic.

So do we give up fantastic results while we wait to see if they'll find something with better longevity?


The hundreds of millions of doses haven't been administered to the same person.

There are vaccines for which after a couple boosters we consider the lifetime immunity to be acceptable; there are others for which we do not. Many variables at play (including actual infection rates, mutation rates, etc), so hard to predict.

They've been saying from the beginning that vaccines only offer short term immunity and that the virus will be mutating (hence potentially making current vaccines ineffective) so that we might end up in a scenario similar to the flu.

Now, I suppose that whether large scale booster programs, vaccine passports, etc will continue will simply depend on how widespread and serious the virus remains. So no-one knows for sure.

We might end up with combined flu/covid vaccines recommended annually for the vulnerable.


coronaviruses do not mutate as quickly as influenza so it’s a bit of a different situation. The 3 dose mRNA + booster is all the same exact vaccine. That being said, maybe we will need annual boosters which we get with a combined flu shot.

> The 3 dose mRNA + booster is all the same exact vaccine

Yes, currently it is. But that may change at any time.


They mutate 2 gnomes/month.

So we already have thousands of mutations. But changes we call variants happen much slower.

Still, the vaccins are based on the 2019 variant.


The likely scenario is no one actually knows what the future will hold yet, so they're only basing policy on what they have learned thus far, and changing as the situation develops when it doesn't match their expectations. Not sure if there's anything else one can do.

Well, maybe three will actually do it. There's quite a few vaccines which require a course of three or even four shots to confer lasting long-term immunity. If you don't do the full course with repeat challenge it tends to fade after some months or years.

Is it just me or are they neglecting the treatment option here? Expanding manufacturing of monoclonal antibodies such that they're available everywhere for rapid treatment of actual cases rather than just vaccinating everyone might make more sense (particularly when vaccine breakthrough with new covid varients seems so common now). There's also several new antiviral meds that studies claim are quite effective.

This might mean accepting we have a new endemic disease that's going to be around for the foreseeable future, but that might be inevitable given the global distribution and all the new variants.

Incidentally, this is why I'm strongly opposed to gain-of-function research involving taking wild-type animal viruses and modifying them to include sequences that bind human cell receptors. It's likely possible to transform a wide variety of animal viruses into human pathogens with these approaches, and it doesn't add much value to the medical knowledge base. Yes we have learned how to create new diseases - oops - so let's stop doing it already.


From what I understand there are already 3 antiviral treatments being introduced right now in pill form. That being set they can help if they are taken early on after symptoms appear and again aren't 100% effective. In addition they cannot be used by pregnant women. As with every disease prevention is always the better approach and vaccines offer that.

From the biology perspective, monoclonal antibody production is hard, expensive and time-consuming. I don't think you'll see a rapid scale-up of these, as manufacturing at scale is so different to manufacturing in small batches.

Recombinant monoclonal antibodies seem like an interesting approach, these would speed up production by shortening the critical chain.


What makes you think they're neglected? Billions of govt money have been poured into them.

For all adults means everyone above 18. That seems rather extreme.

It is important to remember that initially we meant to protect the vulnerable. I still remember when several government ministers in their late 50s and people even in their 80s contracted COVID-19 and the majority of those were saying in TV interviews that they had luckily only mild symptoms. I remember when the chief medical officer was stressing that even though the virus can be deadly that the vast majority of people will experience no or very mild symptoms.

That was at the beginning of the pandemic. I contracted the virus like at the very start and I had indeed only mild symptoms. Almost a year later I received my very first shot as soon as I was eligible. I was very happy because people were saying that I could get COVID again and I simply didn't want to be unwell for a week again even if it was a mild illness to me. Then I got my second shot as well as soon as I could get it. I was convinced that after my natural infection that I had a very strong immune response, because I was knowingly exposed to COVID many times before I got my first vaccine jab and never felt ill again.

Now I have had: - Natural infection before vaccine: I had a very mild illness - 1st shot - 2nd shot - Many natural exposures to COVID which might have boosted my immune response.

I honestly don't feel very keen anymore on yet another jab. Mainly because when I got my first two jabs I had quite noticeable heart palpitations for a few days after and now I'm thinking why do I still need to keep getting more jabs if even when I didn't have a jab at all I was already strong enough to shake off the virus.

I do understand that we need to have a lot of immunity and I do believe that I have a lot of immunity without any further boosters. I'm certain that my natural immunity has given me the best protection from the beginning with the jabs acting as long lasting boosters.

Can someone explain to me why I should even entertain the idea of yet another booster. I feel like I'm ok to get infected with COVID-19 once every so often like with a cold or flu. We all have a baseline protection which we didn't have before. Now our illness should be mild for everyone, even the older and more vulnerable people.


I’m persuaded governments make law what “most people want”, and media impacts what people want a lot. Measures don’t seem related to factual conditions (but to the current level of panic/impressions) so, to decide whether you need a jab, we should rather have a more paced media coverage.

> Can someone explain to me why I should even entertain the idea of yet another booster.

It honestly sounds like this is a conversation for your doctor, considering the possible heart thing. Regardless of public policy (which will be to protect the most people and reduce hospital burden), individual health concerns will always be the final answer to your question. One reason for the healthy to get vaccinated is to reduce the risk for someone who can’t be vaccinated for some complication or another.

It’s also worth noting that both flu and COVID are dangerous and severe enough to not want to get them. (Way more so than the common cold, which doesn’t take long to get over.) Hence the yearly flu booster that some folks opt for.

Honestly, the political side of this will optimize towards reducing the burden COVID takes on the health system. If there are too many people with severe cases in the hospital, the rest of us can’t get treated for other ailments. That sort of thing just doesn’t happen with the flu regularly, and it’s the sort of thing public policy is supposed to solve.


> It honestly sounds like this is a conversation for your doctor, considering the possible heart thing

Yes, if I must get a third jab in order to be allowed to roam freely then I will probably ask my GP if I could get a different vaccine the next time. I had Moderna as my first two jabs and perhaps having the Johnson or Oxford is something to consider.


Your last paragraph seems like the sort of discussion that should be had with a healthcare professional, not random people on the internet.

> Now our illness should be mild for everyone, even the older and more vulnerable people.

Well, data shows it sadly isn't, that's why we talk about booster shots, because data looks like they help with that.


I am not going to take a booster. I had two doses and I haven't got back to normal after the second one and it's been months now. I've got massive headaches and shortness of breath which I didn't have before.

Surely if someone had severe reaction to the first 2 he shouldn't get a 3rd. Tbh I haven't read anywhere about long term side effects from the vaccination for covid. I assume you must have researched it, can you please share some information?

I am not aware of any long term studies. I have reported it as a side effect to the health agency.

At this point a major shift would be not having a major shift every month.

Myself, I am refusing a third booster shot. We were promised a return to normalcy after getting vaccinated (with the % required ever increasing, and communities with almost 100% seeing no improvement) and after falling ill with the second shot I'm not participating in this charade anymore.


> after falling ill with the second shot I'm not participating in this charade anymore

“Falling ill” means your body had a strong, visible immune response to the vaccine. The whole point of the vaccine is to trigger your body into an immune response which creates antibodies against the vaccine, thereby giving you protection against the real thing.

> communities with almost 100% seeing no improvement

You’re just wrong about this. In cities like Seattle and Portland, life is pretty much “back to normal.” As a result, people are interacting with each other and “spreading germs” around like they used to be. Without a vaccine, this kind of behavior would have caused a huge spike in severe cases. And while changed behavior has caused an uptick in cases, the number of severe cases has not. Unvaccinated people in King county near Seattle, for example, are 38x more likely to be hospitalized with covid.

The better explanation to your comment is that an imperfect world is hard to predict and that there are reasonable explanations to most things, rather than some sort of superstitious reference to it being a “charade.”


See, in my country there was a sad announcement that there are now more than 100,000 people dead by Covid.

Less than 4000 are people under 60 and still my government tries to vaccinate kids. Why? It is entirely possible that it can have a negative effect on building real immunity against Covid. The very low death count in lower age brackets would very well warrant to build a control group here.


> Less than 4000 are people under 60 and still my government tries to vaccinate kids. Why?

Well, one assumes children often have contact with older people, and can spread it to them. Plus we don't know that Covid does not have long term impacts in young children. Plus if we ever want to eliminate this disease, it means doing it in children as well.


We won't eliminate Covid or any Coronavirus with our current vaccines, this is simply a dream not at all supported by evidence.

At some point people will have to build immunity and I think there are some people that made good cases that vaccine immunity is reductive because vaccines only include a specific component of the virus towards which immunity is build. We simply don't know enough here, not even how our immune system reacts exactly, it is not a system we completely understand.

I don't really think the long covid examples are very convincing as a potential for danger (I also don't think vaccines have long term effects either).

Yes, kids could infect elderly people and they should be protected as best as we can. But I don't really see vaccinating kids as feasible. It should only be done when there is a measurable benefit.


>You’re just wrong about this. In cities like Seattle and Portland, life is pretty much “back to normal.” As a result, people are interacting with each other and “spreading germs” around like they used to be. Without a vaccine, this kind of behavior would have caused a huge spike in severe cases.

Oh, I've heard of so many cities/communities like these. Tell me in a few months.


> after falling ill with the second shot I'm not participating in this charade anymore

Where exactly is the charade? Being ill for a few days after a vaccine is normal, it even happens with flu.


The charade is that vaccinations will fix this. I'd be willing to take them if there were no bad effects from them, but I spent like 10 hours in bed and I don't wish to go through that again.

Vaccinations are the closest thing we have to a solution.

No one has long term experience with them, so understandably no one knows how long they protect you for. That's life.

Yes, there are some (minor) risks associated with the vaccines. I too spent a day in bed. Twice. So what? Both you and I knew there's a risk of that when we got it. Still, the vaccine does what it says on the tin. So again, where's the charade?

We live in a time and place that allowed us to get a vaccine with 90%+ efficiency just a year after an incredibly infections, never before seen virus has been spotted and begun taking (many) lives. It even proved to be effective against the even more infectious variants that appeared later. And after millions around the world were literally suffocated to death by covid, both you and I got the vaccine for free (or at an affordable cost, depending on where you live). And the only side effect of the vaccine that either of us experienced is feeling sick for less than a day.

The word I'd use to describe this situation is definitely not charade.


I too spent 2 days in bed shivering after my first vaccine... But I'll be getting a booster and all after that.

If my body reacted to the vaccine like that, I dread to think how it would have dealt with the real thing.

10 hours in bed is a minor inconvenience.


It isn't a major shift, this policy was very predictable, don't know why the headline implies otherwise.

I don't think boosters are part of a sensible solution to be honest.


To all the sceptics out there: UK went in a massive vaccine binge and, you know, life is pretty normal here.

We have 80% two-dose and 90% single-dose people in the 12+ population (yes it includes children) and close to 30% third dose.

There are no lockdowns, hospitals not overloaded, people dying but not like crazy. Hospitals coping. The case numbers are high, but the logical implication is that most are mild and do not overload the system.


A hypothesis is that BoJo’s Summer of Love reopening’s Covid infection spike helped in naturally inoculating a larger portion of England while vaccines still had their full potential, unlike in the rest of Europe where delta has only now reached, coinciding with both colder weather and waning vaccine immunity.

Its basically the death rate you'd expect from an outbreak of the flu. Essentially the vaccine and the boosters have turned Covid into the flu.

It's extremely sad that after nearly 2 years of this, governments still haven't mastered the ability to say "our uncertainty is high so we will not make policy recommendations" and then to - only once having collected the new data - render data-driven policy.

Even I, as someone who fully accepts vaccines and sees the data illustrating that mRNA vaccines reduced death rates enough to make COVID "the new flu" were it not for the antivax population and their role in overwhelming hospitals, am quite tired of hearing about how the boosters were only going to be for old and sick, and then it was a sudden flip into "everyone should get them". I don't even know what data would suggest that I should get a booster shot, I do not see death rates climbing and I have fatigue from doing the research I wish the nation-state which sets my laws would simply have done correctly and before recommending my action.


> and then it was a sudden flip into "everyone should get them". I don't even know what data would suggest that I should get a booster shot

There's some evidence of waning immunity and reduced antibody titers, and greater incidence of breakthrough infections for people who have been vaccinated a long time. There's also just a lot of evidence that 3 is better than 2 for likelihood of breakthrough infection.

Waning immunity isn't enough to make overall death rates increase: even at current slow incremental rates of vaccination the effect from increased vaccination "beats" waning immunity. But this can't hold up forever.

> I do not see death rates climbing

Waiting for death rates to climb is way too late. It'll take a long time to move them in the opposite direction. Also, a lot of this is preventative: more doses doesn't mean just "more immune response" but "broader immune response and better protection against future variants".

> and I have fatigue from doing the research I wish the nation-state which sets my laws would simply have done correctly and before recommending my action.

There's no way the dose schedule is ideal steady-state. Doses a few weeks apart isn't what will maximize response. The vaccine doses themselves are probably too high. But we had to do something while supplies were lacking, the pandemic raging, and with partial information.


> There's some evidence of waning immunity and reduced antibody titers, and greater incidence of breakthrough infections for people who have been vaccinated a long time. There's also just a lot of evidence that 3 is better than 2 for likelihood of breakthrough infection

I do not contest this. I am likely to receive a booster shot myself in January.

What I contest is that they make the original suggestion that "only weakened immune responses will receive the booster" with no implication the policy will change with new data. Now it is a "major shift", and not an "predicted outcome acted upon with sufficient data". This is a consistent problem in public messaging throughout the pandemic; people feel uncertain and like the government is as clueless as them.

> There's no way the dose schedule is ideal steady-state

Again, I am not in medicine, nor do I in general care for this style of research, yet I have been made to do it consistently because I do not understand the public messaging, and I am quite staunchly a believer that you cannot simply not act against a pandemic. This is my complaint. I do not argue the conclusions you put forth, simply the way the governments have been unable to outline scenarios in any meaningful way and thus give off the appearance of constant reactivity without foresight


> What I contest is that they make the original suggestion that "only weakened immune responses will receive the booster" with no implication the policy will change with new data. Now it is a "major shift", and not an "predicted outcome acted upon with sufficient data". This is a consistent problem in public messaging throughout the pandemic; people feel uncertain and like the government is as clueless as them.

I think it's really hard to give such a nuanced message. Here in the US, there was broad speculation about the requirements for boosters for all eventually-- including by policymakers -- but the boosters were initially only recommended for those with risk factors (either occupational or health).

In a few years, there's going to be a recommended coronavirus vaccine dose schedule, and it's going to look nothing like what we do now. It's all going to evolve. The public messaging is going to be focused, though, on what we want people to do now.


> "predicted outcome acted upon with sufficient data". This is a consistent problem in public messaging throughout the pandemic; people feel uncertain and like the government is as clueless as them.

This is where I think you may be asking too much. I agree with you that we need to better normalize uncertainty in politicians, but asking politicians to interpret science to even make "predicted outcomes" is unlikely to work out at best, and likely part of why we got here in the first place. "We think we only need two shots, but we'll find out when more data arrives" turns into "Just two shots and we're done" because the politicians are trying to "predict outcomes" and in part are going to tell people what they want to hear rather than the uncertain part. If they are right they sound like heroes of the people and if they are wrong they apologize and move on, and we get exactly the whiplash a lot of people have felt in all this, because this has been a virus intent on breaking "predicted outcomes".

I think what we need to normalize is both simpler and a lot harder: "I don't know, I will ask the experts." and "We don't know yet." and "Let me get back to you on that." and "Right now, here's what we think based on the data that we have, but that could change."

It's simpler because those are arguably really easy answers to give. They don't take a lot of time. They don't make "predictions". They state pretty plainly that there are experts to trust, those experts need time, and those experts update their recommendations as real world facts come in.

It is a lot harder because it isn't "good" politics (in the current political climate, at least). "No one" wants to elect a politician that defers to experts, that admits when they don't know something, that doesn't make bold predictions their constituents want to hear. It sounds "weak" to ever state that you don't know something or don't have an opinion on something until you have more facts.

An interesting thing that I watched in the past couple of years was my own state's Governor attempt to put contemporary politics aside and very much take that stance of "We don't know yet" and "We want to find out" and "We have experts working on that", because he seemed to generally believe that an event like this was more important to get right than to treat as politics as usual. It has had some insane political blowback from the obvious stuff of opponents predicting he will take a beating in the next reelection attempt and may only be a one term Governor, to a dramatic hanging of an effigy on the Governor's Mansion lawn (where he and his wife and kids live), and many things in between subtle and not-so-subtle.

I absolutely wish there were more politicians like that out there in this crisis, because watching my governor do exactly this "We don't know yet" and "I don't know but I'll try to find out" to press question after press question was immensely satisfying and comforting to some of us here, and I would have wished more people to experience that. I don't know how we get there in the current general political climate (at least in the US) that is currently so deeply anti-expert and stuck in toxic machismo where "I don't know" is a "weak" and "unacceptable" answer.


Thank you, this is probably more clear than what I wrote.

> were it not for the antivax population

There's always someone to scapegoat. Instead of blaming politicians for being wrong, you're blaming the skeptics who knew that vaccines aren't going to change anything.


Also, "antivax" is unnecessarily pejorative. There are plenty of people who are hesitant toward covid vaccines exactly for the reasons you mention, while they're not at all against vaccines in general. The communication habits of all major governments haven't really encouraged trust. Fauci is on record as having lied to the public deliberately.

> skeptics who knew that vaccines aren't going to change anything

But they have, they've cut the death rate from Covid enourmously. Unless you have alternative figures that you can point me towards?


Sorry, but you are making politically charged arguments. I am stating facts. COVID is defeated by Pfizer/Moderna when it comes to an increased background death rate, i.e. if 100% of the population had Pfizer & Moderna there would be approximately no excess deaths in the population vs pre-COVID times. The remaining issue with the disease isn't so much the people dying from it as it is the fact the unvaccinated population gets very sick and overwhelms healthcare systems, resulting in triage situations that were easily avoidable.

https://ourworldindata.org/covid-deaths-by-vaccination#unite...


This data is interpreted wrongly. You need to separate mortality rate by age groups, need to check when cases were recorded, etc. pp.

These graphs are more or less useless to draw conclusions from.


Strongly disagree. I see no bias in vaccine uptake with respect to health outcomes. If anything I would expect the more at-risk to be more likely to be vaccinated, which would skew results towards showing an anti-vaccination result, yet...

Measuring COVID cases and outcomes in two unbiased population samples gives a statistically significant result. Please show me why this is false, I would love to know, but I don't see how what you list would introduce bias that would make that graph "more or less useless"


They've reduced my chance of dying from COVID (when I'm infected, not if; it's happened at least twice so far) by around 95%.

That's more than nothing.


This sounds more like reading news selectively reporting whatever is most engaging. From the mask stuff to the vaccine boosters there wasn't much serious doubt among scientists (yes I'm sure you can find somebody and some comment). I'm not sure what can really be expected of politicians (who aren't scientists) or scientists (who are public figures), much less reporters.

The booster trials literally started as soon as the first EUV was issued, because they were expected to be more effective. They didn't invest in it because they thought it was unnecessary. The EUV was necessary because the disease is wide spread, communicable, and deadly enough to overwhelm ICUs, otherwise epidemiologists would prefer to have even more data. However, when the risk to your patient of actual illness is more than an order of magnitude higher without action... you take emergency action.

I hear similar stuff from engineers who now are looking for even more data on the effectiveness of masks, because they've read reports saying they aren't effective, or questioning studies saying that they are. The germ theory of disease hasn't been disproven. People don't wear masks well. Cloth masks aren't very effective protection (of the person wearing them) due to bypass flow. Viruses can enter through the eyes as well, so a mask can never be "perfect". Masks and glasses also protect (if you bother to wash your hands) from accidental surface contacts. At the same time there are doctors/nurses working in ICUs intubating COVID patients for months without getting exposed... that's an (uncontrolled) experiment running in thousands of places. It's not published, but it's known to be effective by people working there. The PPE is expensive and training along with diligence is required, because even if you're vaccinated you can spread it just not as likely and not as much and not as long (another long chain of but, but, buts... which add up to more than an order of magnitude).


I do not think this is an example of the (real) problem you are highlighting. First, the ECDC is not a government. Second, their previous standpoint was not inconsistent or wrong: in particular, there was no urgent need for boosters (for healthy youngsters) in September since the vaccines appeared to be working well.

Did you read the ECDC guidance, in September and now? Can you point out the passage that exemplifies your point? Or do you have another example of a government saying that young people will never get boosters? Since naturally you did not write your comment based solely on the tone implied by the words 'major shift' in the headline of the Reuters article...

There are certainly people, journalists, and government ministers guilty of what you say. But throwing a catchall accusation around is a bit cheap, in my opinion.


Why do you think "our incertainty is so high we (shall) not make policy recommendations" ?

Even if the example you are putting was correct, and there was an insane amount of uncertainty, it may have still be the correct recommendation and the correct policy to first vaccinate "risk groups" and then later extend to the entire population, when/if shown necessary.

In other words: adding "unless conditions change" to every statement made by any organization is redundant, so they don't do it.


Doing that would require humility and honesty.

And a population that understands how to respond to it if they see it. The typical response now is to vote for the other guy, no matter how obviously worse they might be.


"Rates" is the operative word, and I of course mean "in the vaccinated population", because antivax people will die from COVID; this is well-known. Seems to me that most EU countries are in a fourth wave of COVID with total cases surpassing anything in the past, yet the graph you link shows deaths below all the past waves, and it doesn't discuss vaccination status. Please read a bit more charitably, it makes no sense to post this graph as if it shows something relevant.

> the graph you link shows deaths below all the past waves

and rising, which is what you said you didn't see

> and it doesn't discuss vaccination status

What is there to discuss? There are more vaccinated people in the EU now than at any earlier time, and yet the death rate has already climbed halfway back from to the November 2020 peak (which occurred when nobody had been vaccinated yet) and shows no sign of slowing down.

> Please read a bit more charitably, it makes no sense to post this graph as if it shows something relevant

However charitably I try to read this statement, I can make no sense of it.


> > the graph you link shows deaths below all the past waves

> and rising, which is what you said you didn't see

"Death rates". How explicit do I have to be? "Death rate" is the total amount of deaths (which you linked) DIVIDED BY the total amount of COVID cases. Linking "total deaths" and implying it is "death rate" is absurd.

> There are more vaccinated people in the EU now than at any earlier time, and yet the death rate has already climbed halfway back from to the November 2020 peak

And this is even more absurd. You must be able to ARGUE IN NUMBERS if you will argue that numbers are increasing; using half-baked logic and ignoring the unvaccinated population who is probably fueling most of that death spike is like me making a performance benchmark for performance-per-core and then measuring how many instructions were executed without providing a time measurement and saying "the higher instruction count is better", which is to say if someone was to do it they would be laughed out of the room.

Perhaps this is your cue to exit.


> > > the graph you link shows deaths below all the past waves > > and rising, which is what you said you didn't see

> "Death rates". How explicit do I have to be? "Death rate" is the total amount of deaths (which you linked) DIVIDED BY the total amount of COVID cases.

By your personal definition, which you did not bother to specify until now. A (I think generally accepted) definition is deaths DIVIDED (to mirror your all-caps frenzy) by population, which is what I linked (no, it's not "total amount of deaths"; did you even look at the chart?).

What you are referring to as "death rate" is actually called "case fatality rate".


You would be some special kind of fool to think that what I call “death rate” isn’t the most obvious and only relevant statistic when it comes to describing vaccine effectiveness

You would be some special kind of fool to think that if you say A when you actually mean B, people will respond to B rather than to A.

I would take the opposite view: After nearly 2 years I would have expected government not to be so indecisive and to go for boosters for everyone earlier (like in the UK).

Now, once again, they've only wasted time and probably made the new wave worse, which in turn may force them into more stringent measures.


I kinda wish someone would organise a booster shot boycott until significant resources have been committed to covax. I'm happy for better protection and would like to avoid our hospitals being overloaded, but it feels perverse to be giving out boosters like this when so many people haven't had the chance to get a vaccine yet.

Sooooo fourth dose in May?


This isn’t going to end. There is no point at which things will return to normal. If you think otherwise, I’m sorry but you simply haven’t been paying attention.

If vaccine mandates bother you, I strongly suggest moving to a rural area or to a region/country with less restrictions. Otherwise you will inevitably be forced to receive yearly boosters in order to participate in society.


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This talk of money motives is nonsense. There are far more economic interests involved in getting things opened up again than there would be in artificially prolonging the pandemic like you're claiming is happening.

Why do you think e.g. the EU would be more concerned with artificially boosting the profits of a couple of American pharma companies by billions than rescuing the wholly European tourist and restaurant industried which are about two trillion combined.


> 1918 flu lasted 26 months. We are at 21 months with masks, vaccines and lock downs and no ending in sight.

Do you think masks and lock downs were intended to reduce the duration of the pandemic? The opposite is the case: they're intended to reduce the infection rate (to avoid over-stressing the hospitals), which slows down the pandemic --> it'll take longer than if we did nothing!


> The fact that there is widespread lack of transparency and money motives to carry on with this situation makes me really skeptical.

Shouldn't you be skeptical of the entire healthcare industry then?


> No matter what people say the current situation shows that the vaccines do not work

This could not be further from the truth.


I mean they work but not exactly as we had hoped.



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