Can Los Angeles vaccinate people fast enough to avoid another surge of Covid cases? That is the question many people are asking now that businesses all over California have started to reopen.
A recent bit of good news about the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is a reason for optimism.
We now have real-world numbers about the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. We don’t have to rely on clinical trials anymore.
Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were effective at preventing Covid after one dose. This was significantly better than what we previously thought.
Data from 3,950 health care personnel, first responders, and other essential workers were studied. It found that the vaccines were 80% effective at preventing Covid after one dose. It also found that they were 90% effective after two doses.
This is different from what the clinical trials found. In the clinical trials, Pfizer was shown to be 52% effective after one dose. Moderna was shown to be 50.8% effective after the first dose.
What it means
People are better protected after one dose of the vaccine than we previously thought.
According to Dr. Shobha Swaminathan, an associate professor at Rutgers:
“The data supports what many of us have felt. After two weeks, most vaccines will have some efficacy, and the degree of efficacy would relate to the potency of the vaccine.” -Dr. Shobha Swaminathan
This is not a reason to skip your second dose, however.
Dr. Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo in New York, stresses your second dose's importance.
He warns against people avoiding their second dose due to fear of side effects. He claims that the stories of worse side effects after the second dose are “a little bit of embellishment.”
“Only a minority of people have severe, systemic symptoms. Even if you have flu-like symptoms, you take a ‘vaccine day.’ It’s a small price to pay for getting a really tremendous degree of protection from this coronavirus.” -Dr. Thomas Russo
Why it’s good news
Los Angeles’s race towards herd immunity continues to look better and better.
Vaccination is our most powerful weapon in the fight against Covid right now. The recent approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was exciting because it only takes one dose.
Developing a significant level of immunity after one dose is a huge deal. It means that Los Angeles residents can build immunity much faster than previously thought.
Hopefully, there won’t be any significant setbacks in the vaccination process. That way, we can continue to build on the momentum we have now.
We are not out of the woods yet
Nationally there is a lot of worry about another surge of Covid. The numbers are increasing again. Thankfully, the increase in new cases has not reached Los Angeles yet.
President Biden tried to stress the seriousness of the situation. He is urging governors to reinstate mask mandates.
The director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, shares his concern.
“We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope. But right now, I’m scared. I’m going to lose the script, and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom.” -Dr. Rochelle Walensky
Why are they so concerned?
New cases of Covid are up by about 10% this week over last week. The country is now around 60,000 cases per day. Both hospitalizations and deaths are increasing as well.
Thankfully that increase has not reached us in Los Angeles yet. Hopefully, it stays that way until we get more people vaccinated.