Monday, March 01, 2021

Vaccination Part II Achieved

 This morning at dawn (okay, eight o'clock) I received my second dose of vaccine. So far, despite the rumors, no side effects to speak of. (A little ache at the vaccine site.)

Mainly I'm concerned about whether this vaccine will protect us against the variants. I'm seeing mixed reports on that.


nicoleandmaggie said...


Jenny F. Scientist said...

I mean... we do have answers to your question! Between the FDA briefing documents and some surveillance data recently published, all the vaccines currently approved (and also AZ even though their trial was fucked) are roughly 50-70% effective at preventing even the South African variant and greatly reduce the risk of severe disease. One shot of J&J was at least 50% effective in SA (as long as the patient didn't have HIV). There is plenty of data!

(Long answer: exposure to a vaccine or virus causes a suite of antibodies, as well as T and B memory cells, to be generated; they are then refined against the antigens presented. They tend to be strongly cross-reactive, such as two years ago when the influenza vaccine was roughly 30-40% effective at preventing disease, but 85% effective at reducing the risk of hospitalization. Despite what the news says, this is not a magical new virus; it works pretty much like every other virus. I am very frustrated with the news. And public health messaging. And pretty much everything.)

delagar said...

I was hoping you would comment, Jenny! I knew you'd know.

Jenny F Scientist said...

The unspoken goal of vaccination is that when everyone eventually gets one variant or another, it should be truly like influenza and top out at roughly 1% mortality in the truly elderly (like 2009) and somewhere between 1 in 1000 and one in 100,000 for all other age groups. But everyone will basically get the plague sooner or later!

Vaccines work in part because they do typically provide fairly broad immune responses, so even if you get a small jumpstart on immune response you get better faster. There will be more variants, but the chances of total escape from vaccine induced immunity are fairly low! Even the possible reinfections are relatively rare. And for a bunch of complicated and boring reasons, the vaccine provides much better immunity than natural infection in general.

Also, my town was third in the country in per capita cases last week (really), and yet I have only gotten the plague once, even without a vaccine. Immunity! It's great! (I will still get a vaccine when my group comes up, but seriously, we were at 3% of the town getting infected PER DAY for a while there.)

Anyhow. Don't lick strangers, but you'll probably be fine.

delagar said...

Thank you! Very useful information.

Bardiac said...

Well, darn! Can I lick acquaintances? (assuming consent, of course. I don't just lick people without consent!)