Tuesday, February 09, 2021

A change of emphasis

 When the coronavirus vaccines were being developed, we were told that this was the way out of the crisis, the light at the end of the tunnel and the pathway back to normality. Our hopes were therefore raised when trials of these vaccines showed that they were both effective and safe. 

I may have misunderstood but my impression was that the vaccines were meant to build antibodies that would prevent you from being infected with Covid 19. We were told that the Pfizer/Moderna and Astra Zeneca style vaccines work in different ways but both had been shown to work. 

Originally there was talk of up to 95% effectiveness  whichever vaccine you were given and I assumed that meant they were almost guaranteed to prevent infection in all age groups. In other words, it didn't matter which vaccine you were given you would be equally well protected. Now we are told that the Astra Zeneca jab has yet to be proven  effective for senior citizens which is why most countries in Europe have decided not to use these with older people. Only the under 55s will be given the Astra Zeneca jab here in Spain.   

Further more,  there is a South African variant and reports from that country say that the Astra Zeneca vaccine is not effective against it. In South Africa they have stopped administering that vaccine until there is evidence that it will work.. 

In response, the UK is saying the Astra Zeneca jab may not prevent you from infection but it should stop you being seriously ill, requiring hospital treatment and dying and that surely is the important thing. Presumably you would still be infectious and thus capable of passing the virus to others.  I have not come across any similar concerns about the Pfizer vaccine so I assume that it still works against the new variants of the virus 

Don't get me wrong, when the Medical Centre in Bigastro phones me to make an appointment, I will be there with a smile on my face and thank the person who puts the needle into my arm. The fact that I will certainly be given the Pfizer version and not the Astra Zeneca one gives me a crumb of comfort. However it won't make me more confident to go out into crowded places and certainly won't make me abandon my mask any time soon. 

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