A startling share of coronavirus patients being admitted to U.K. hospitals — up to 40 percent — have been fully vaccinated.
“In terms of the number of people in hospital who’ve been double-vaccinated, we know it’s around 60 percent of the people being admitted to hospital with COVID,” Sir Patrick Vallance, chief scientific adviser to the U.K. government, said during a Downing Street news conference.
“We do expect there to be over 1,000 people per day being hospitalized with coronavirus because of the increase in infections. But the rates should be lower than they have been previously because of the protective effects of vaccination.”
Now, Vallance later corrected that 60 percent statistic in a tweet, saying, “About 60% of hospitalisations from covid are not from double vaccinated people, rather 60% of hospitalisations from covid are currently from unvaccinated people.”
Correcting a statistic I gave at the press conference today, 19 July. About 60% of hospitalisations from covid are not from double vaccinated people, rather 60% of hospitalisations from covid are currently from unvaccinated people.
— Sir Patrick Vallance (@uksciencechief) July 19, 2021
The wording of Vallance’s tweet made his meaning a bit unclear, though if 60 percent of hospitalizations were from unvaccinated people, that suggests 40 percent of hospitalizations were from partially or fully vaccinated patients.
While there is a 20-point gap between 60 percent and 40 percent, the latter figure still represents a startling number people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 yet who still ended up hospitalized due to the disease anyway.
In fact, the rise in cases mimics numbers witnessed over four months ago.
Although rates should be lower considering vaccination’s “protective effects,” reality presents a much different story.
But Vallance’s explanation differs from my own — and what many others would hypothesize as well.
According to Yahoo News U.K., Vallance said that since a greater percentage of the populace has been jabbed twice, “it [is] ‘inevitable’ that the proportion of people being admitted to hospitals who have had both jabs will increase.”
To break that down to (hopefully) simpler terms, consider sampling one group of 10 fully vaccinated people versus a separate group of 100 fully vaccinated people.
Now, imagine three individuals are infected with COVID in the smaller group and ten are infected in the larger group.
Of course, the larger group would be expected to have more COVID cases since it contains more people.
Applying this to Vallance’s logic isn’t too difficult either. As the number of fully vaccinated residents increases across the U.K., the number of people arriving at hospitals (more specifically, people who have been fully vaccinated) would increase as well.
But the argument is rife with gaps as well.
For one, why is the number of COVID hospital patients climbing as the vaccine becomes increasingly widespread?
Why are overall infections on the rise regardless of vaccination status?
Yahoo U.K.’s report added that the U.K. government‘s latest figures show that “742 people were admitted with COVID. That means the total admitted in the past seven days stands at 4,317.”
That’s a 40 percent increase from the week before.
According to the Sky News report, Vallance said he isn’t surprised by the number of infections since “[COVID] vaccines are not 100 percent effective.” I acknowledge that much, but I’m also curious as to how effective these vaccines actually are.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are approximately 94 percent effective in preventing hospitalization for COVID-related symptoms or post-COVID side effects.
Still, the organization’s webpage, which discusses the topic, acknowledges that, while clinical trials tend to indicate high efficacy rates for the two, “evaluation of vaccine effectiveness against severe outcomes in real-world settings and in populations at high risk, including older adults, is needed.”
But, in this case, the reality for these two “most effective” forerunning vaccines is much different than the CDC presented. And it makes them look not terribly effective at all.
As Americans, it’s safe to assume we’re most familiar with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and we’re still hearing of many fully vaccinated individuals contracting COVID here in the United States as well.
But, I digress.
How long will it take before we think of the coronavirus similar to how we think of polio or chickenpox?
The traditional Varicella vaccine released in 1995 transformed chickenpox from among the most common childhood ailments to one far less common. In fact, as someone born in the late 1990s, I have never seen a case of chickenpox firsthand.
And, as for polio? After successful vaccination runs which began in the 1950s, the U.S. has been poliovirus-free since 1979, according to the CDC, and the U.K’s National Health Service says a case hasn’t been reported in the U.K. since the mid-1980s (this is why I don’t oppose traditional vaccines).
Still, the technology in COVID vaccines is as novel as the coronavirus itself and we have little room to say how effective — or ineffective — this technology will be in the long run.
Imagine if four in 10 people hospitalized with COVID in the U.S. were vaccinated and that, despite the incessant vaccine push, cases were on the rise.
That’s what’s happening to our U.K. friends, and it doesn’t inspire vaccine confidence anywhere.
UPDATE, July 19. 2021: This article, and its headline, originally cited an incorrect statistic shared by Sir Patrick Vallance, chief scientific adviser to the U.K. government, during a news conference. Vallance claimed 60 percent of coronavirus patients being admitted to U.K. hospitals have been fully vaccinated.
In fact, as Vallance later noted on Twitter, “60% of hospitalisations from covid are currently from unvaccinated people.” We have updated our article and headline to reflect this new information.
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