FDA, Tanya Lewis, Josh Fishman discussed on 60-Second Science


This is your fast track update pandemic we bring you up to speed on the science behind the most urgent questions about the virus and the disease we de mystify the research and help you understand what it really means. I'm tanya lewis. I'm josh fishman scientific. American senior health editors today. We're going to talk about the fda approval of the pfizer vaccine whether new reports of breakthrough infections mean. Vaccines are losing power. And what you need to know about vaccine booster shots this week. The food and drug administration granted full approval to the pfizer vaccine for people ages. Sixteen and older that moves the shot past. Its initial emergency use status and makes it like any approved. Drug or vaccine will the solid endorsement affect vaccination rates tanya. It could affect them in a couple of ways. A growing number of government agencies cities and businesses have already started implementing vaccine mandates for example the us military instituted a mandate for all active duty servicemembers. New york city is requiring all department of education teachers and staff to get vaccinated and lots of colleges and universities are implementing mandates to the other. Big question is whether the fda approval will sway any people who are vaccine hesitant on that front. It may be a big uphill battle while some people say that the lack of fda approval was their main reason for not getting vaccinated others cite mistrust of government and other concerns which are not likely to magically disappear now that the fda has given it its formal stamp of approval time will tell if the approval will have a big impact on vaccination rates right now though the delta various rapid spread is what appears to be driving an increase in vaccinations in many of the hardest hit states. We keep hearing more about breakthrough infections. When the virus infects people who are fully vaccinated. That doesn't mean the vaccines don't work anymore. Though right josh the vaccine still work really well tanya and we have some new numbers to back that up there have been headlines about prominent people who tested positive even though they were vaccinated three. Us senators last week. For example and when these stories appear in such cluster. It gives the impression that vaccines are losing protective power. The real story however is different. These vaccines never gave perfect protection. Even in clinical trials for instance visor reported eight vaccinated. People got infected out of about twenty thousand people got the shots but one hundred sixty two people in the unvaccinated trial group got the disease and that's a lot more with the highly transmissible delta variant. That's dominating new cases now. These numbers have changed a bit. But the pattern of good vaccine protection still holds this week. The cdc reported on forty three thousand infections in los angeles county between may and the end of july about seventy percent of them were an unvaccinated people about twenty five percent were in fully vaccinated folks so while. That's more infections than we saw. In the clinical trials vaccinated people. Were still almost three times more likely to repel the virus. Then where people without the vaccine when it came to people who got sick enough to need a hospital in intensive care the power of the vaccines was clear. Seven point five percent of the unvaccinated had to be hospitalized that was true of about three percent of the vaccinated people so the vaccines are twice as likely to keep you out of the hospital and hold the virus to just a mild illness. Oregon just reported on its co vid infections. In july eighty-one percent were an unvaccinated people. So that makes nineteen percent of them in breakthrough cases again. A big advantage for vaccines. That's also true. For the most serious consequences of cogut forty two of oregon's fifty five deaths wherein and people who did not get vaccinated the us has now vaccinated nearly one hundred and seventy two million people. The virus has now spread much more widely through the country. Both of these trends are going to run into one another more often and that means more vaccinated people will get infected but clearly a lot. Fewer of them will get the virus then unvaccinated people even more clearly. The vaccine will keep the huge majority of them from getting seriously ill and really. That's what any vaccine is supposed to do. The big debate now is about cova booster shots. The biden administration said it plans to offer boosters to all eligible americans eight months after their second shot of an mri. A vaccine are these needed and needed by whom those are important questions. And we don't have all the answers yet. What we do know is that some data from israel as well as the cdc's own studies in the us suggests that vaccinated people may be more susceptible to mild or moderate infections now than previously. This may be the result of waning immunity over time the effect of the delta variant or some combination of the two. The good news though. Is that the vaccine still appear to provide excellent protection against severe disease death as you mentioned. The vast majority of people hospitalized for kobe right now are unvaccinated as for who needs boosters. I spoke with some experts for a story earlier this week including selene bounder of nyu and shane. Crotty of the la hoya institute of immunology. They said it was clear that people who are immuno-compromised or the very elderly especially those living in nursing homes may benefit from an additional dose of vaccines. But there's not much evidence yet that healthy people will need to booster anytime soon. Both counter crotty agreed that the bigger focus right now should be on getting unvaccinated people their first and second shots because the benefits of doing so far outweigh the benefits of giving a subset of people. Booster shots vaccinating. The rest of the country and the world is really the key to ending this pandemic..

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