The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths shows that of more than 18,000 people who died from COVID-19 in May 2021, only 150 deaths occurred in fully vaccinated people (Associated Press, June 26, 2021). That’s less than one percent. Furthermore, of the 853,000 reported hospitalized COVID-19 cases, fewer than 1200 occurred in vaccinated people, or 0.14 percent. These deaths and hospitalizations are a senseless tragedy because we have enough vaccines for everyone. People who have not already had COVID-19 and refuse vaccination are harming their fellow humans as well as themselves. The only way that we can stop the pandemic is to have herd immunity, when about 80 percent of the population is immune to COVID-19 either by having been infected with the disease or by being vaccinated. Every day we do not reach herd immunity brings more needless deaths.
The Available COVID-19 Vaccines are Highly Protective
At the end of June, more than 180 million Americans have received the COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech or Johnson & Johnson. The CDC has recommended one injection of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and second doses of Pfizer’s vaccine 21 days after the first, and 28 days after the first for Moderna. About 67 percent of the population over 18 years of age has received at least one dose, while 58 percent are fully vaccinated.
After just one injection, the Pfizer vaccine has been 80 percent effective in preventing disease and nearly 100 percent effective at protecting against hospitalization or death. One dose of the Moderna vaccine has been at least 80 percent effective at preventing COVID-19, while the one-dose-only Johnson & Johnson vaccine is at least 72 percent effective (NEJM, June 30, 2021). So far we know that one injection of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines provides robust protection for at least 12 weeks, and two injections are expected to provide protection for at least a year (Nature, June 28, 2021).
If you have not had COVID-19 and are not yet vaccinated to protect you from the disease, please get your vaccination as soon as possible. If you are already vaccinated, thank you.
Dr. Gabe Mirkin is a Villager. Learn more at www.drmirkin.com.