All the sailors serving on the Royal Navy flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth have at least one thing in common: They have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
However, that has not prevented a coronavirus outbreak on the ship and the surrounding vessels in the Carrier Strike Group.
The BBC reported last week there have been around 100 cases among the Queen Elizabeth’s crew.
“Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said all crew on the deployment had received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine and the outbreak was being managed,” according to the BBC.
The ship is now sailing in the Indian Ocean as part of a 28-week deployment.
“As part of routine testing, a small number of crew from the Carrier Strike Group have tested positive for Covid-19,” a spokeswoman for the Royal Navy said.
“The Carrier Strike Group will continue to deliver their operational tasks and there are no effects on the deployment.”
HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group exercising with the Indian Navy over the last few days. 🇬🇧🇮🇳
(Royal Navy Photos) pic.twitter.com/1k4bJnE2qp
— Intel Air & Sea (@air_intel) July 22, 2021
Of course, one does not need to go as far away as the Indian Ocean to find so-called “breakthrough” cases.
At least six Democratic Texas state House members famously contracted COVID-19 during their publicity stunt traveling to Washington, D.C.
Further, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox had to postpone a game last week because of multiple confirmed breakthrough cases.
These are just some of the more high-profile instances.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has told us such breakthrough cases were anticipated, but the vaccine nonetheless has great efficacy.
“COVID-19 vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. However, no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people. There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19,” the CDC’s website states.
As of July 12, “CDC received reports from 48 U.S. states and territories of 5,492 patients with COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough infection who were hospitalized or died.”
U.S. News reported 97 percent of new hospitalizations of COVID patients are unvaccinated, according to CDC director Rochelle Walensky.
Health experts point to the Delta variant as the culprit for the uptick in cases nationwide.
“Significantly, early evidence also suggests that people infected with the Delta variant may carry roughly a thousandfold more virus than those infected with the original virus. While that does not seem to mean that they get sicker, it does probably mean that they are more contagious and for longer,” The New York Times reported.
“Dose also matters: A vaccinated person exposed to a low dose of the coronavirus may never become infected, or not noticeably so. A vaccinated person exposed to extremely high viral loads of the Delta variant is more likely to find his or her immune defenses overwhelmed.”
That said, the vaccine helps the body recognize the virus earlier and wage a defense.
“That is what explains why people do get infected and why people don’t get seriously ill,” Michel C. Nussenzweig, an immunologist at Rockefeller University in New York, told the Times. “It’s nearly unavoidable, unless you’re going to give people very frequent boosters.”
There is good news for the 160 million fully vaccinated Americans in all of this.
Axios reported, “Of those 160 million people, just 3,733 have subsequently been hospitalized for a severe COVID-19 infection, according to the CDC’s most recent update, and 791 have died from the virus.”
Additionally, a newly released study out of India also backs up the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Of the roughly 28,000 health care workers tracked who received the vaccine, just 5 percent developed symptomatic infections. And among those, just a few required hospitalization and there were no reported deaths.
So as the outbreak on the Queen Elizabeth and beyond has shown, the fully vaccinated can still get COVID, but the evidence suggests the vaccine still offers strong protection against serious infection.
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