No one should be surprised, alarmed or discouraged about reports of so-called breakthrough cases in which fully vaccinated people contract COVID.

More importantly, no one should find validation for their choice to be among the unvaccinated in breakthrough cases.

Health officials have warned all along there would be breakthrough infections — no vaccine is bulletproof.

COVID-19 vaccines still are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“No vaccines are 100 percent effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people,” according to the CDC. “There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick, are hospitalized or die from COVID-19.”

Still, every report of infection among the vaccinated ramps up fear and, in some cases, contributes to vaccine hesitancy.

Breakthrough cases are making headlines largely because of reporting bias, which has nothing to do with politics. It’s the man-bites-dog-syndrome. It’s a bias to report the most interesting or sensational news. That’s why a plane crash just about anywhere gets international attention and car crashes don’t, even though far more people die in cars.

“Breakthrough infections are not unique to COVID-19, but we are indeed noticing and talking more about breakthrough infections because we are testing people frequently for COVID-19 rather than other diseases, even those fully vaccinated, and therefore finding and tracking these cases more closely,” said Paulo Verardi, a virologist at the University of Connecticut, in a July 15 report to Vox, a general- interest news site.

Vaccine hesitancy — or obstinate refusal — is creating a perfect vicious cycle at a time when most of us are celebrating a return to normalcy brought about by mass inoculations. The delta variant is ripping through under-vaccinated populations because it’s finding welcoming hosts.

Overwrought reports of fully vaccinated people contracting COVID might inspire more vaccine hesitancy, which will lead to more breakthrough cases as the more contagious delta variant spreads.

Delta won’t be the last variant of COVID-19 we see, said infectious disease expert Dr. Leyla Best of UnityPoint Health, a network of hospitals, clinics and home care services in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin, in an article on variants.

“That’s because every time the virus jumps to a new person, its chance of mutation increases,” Best said. “If the virus keeps running into vaccinated people, it hits a wall and can’t keep spreading. Decreasing the number of infections in a community is the best way to prevent new variants from developing.”

The truth is, evidence still shows COVID-19 vaccines slow transmission and reduce deaths and hospitalizations, which is important to prevent health care systems from being overwhelmed.

Vaccine hesitancy often is fueled by myths, misconceptions and outright hogwash.

Sometimes, paranoia is impregnable to fact and reason. But for what’s it’s worth, here’s what Johns Hopkins Medicine has to say about some of the most persistent COVID vaccine myths:

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine can affect women’s fertility.

Confusion arose when a false report surfaced on social media asserting the spike protein on this coronavirus was the same as another spike protein called syncitin-1 that’s involved in the growth and attachment of the placenta during pregnancy. The false report asserted getting the COVID-19 vaccine would cause a woman’s body to fight this different spike protein and affect her fertility.

Fact: The two spike proteins are different and distinct, and getting the COVID-19 vaccine will not affect the fertility of women who are seeking to become pregnant, including through in vitro fertilization methods. Getting COVID-19, on the other hand, can have a potentially serious impact on pregnancy and the mother’s health.

Myth: Researchers rushed the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, so its effectiveness and safety cannot be trusted.

Fact: The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna were created with a method that has been in development for years, so the companies could start the vaccine development process early in the pandemic. Also, developers didn’t skip any testing steps but conducted some of the steps on an overlapping schedule to gather data faster. And, vaccine projects had plenty of resources, as governments invested in research and/or paid for vaccines in advance.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine enters your cells and changes your DNA.

Fact: The COVID-19 vaccines are designed to help your body’s immune system fight the coronavirus. The messenger RNA from two of the first types of COVID-19 vaccines does enter cells but not the nucleus of the cells where DNA resides. The mRNA does its job to cause the cell to make protein to stimulate the immune system, and then it quickly breaks down — without affecting your DNA.

Myth: The messenger RNA technology used to make the COVID-19 vaccine is brand new.

Fact: The mRNA technology behind the new coronavirus vaccines has been in development for almost two decades. Vaccine makers created the technology to help them respond quickly to a new pandemic illness, such as COVID-19.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine was developed with or contains controversial substances.

Fact: The first two COVID-19 vaccines to be authorized by the FDA contain mRNA and other, normal vaccine ingredients, such as fats (which protect the mRNA), salts, as well as a small amount of sugar. These COVID-19 vaccines were not developed using fetal tissue, and they do not contain any material, such as implants, microchips or tracking devices.

Although perhaps not a myth, a risky assumption that recovering from COVID-19 means you’re immune and don’t need the vaccine might also help variants develop and spread.

In fact, “not enough information is available to say whether or for how long people are protected from getting COVID-19 after they have had it (natural immunity),” according to Johns Hopkins.

“Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. Several subjects in the Pfizer trial who were previously infected got vaccinated without ill effects. Some scientists believe the vaccine offers better protection for coronavirus than natural infection.”

• Laura Elder

 Laura Elder: 409-683-5248; laura.elder@galvnews.com.

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(6) comments

Bailey Jones

No vaccine protects you from infection. Vaccines work by training your body to create antibodies to fight off a specific virus. So, they do their work only after you get infected. Once the virus is in your body it's a race between how fast the virus can reproduce and how fast your body can create antibodies to fight it. Vaccines give your body a head start by creating an army of antibodies before the virus enters your body. So, the virus has a much more difficult time getting established and becoming symptomatic.

The Delta variant is at least 2X as contagious as the original strain - and we no longer have COVID protocols in place to stop it. The results are predictable - increases in cases, hospitalizations, deaths, and test positivity rates. In many ways, we are back where we started in March of 2020. The difference now is that we have vaccines that are safe and very effective against illness and death.

Wayne D Holt

--The Delta variant is at least 2X as contagious as the original strain

Source for this.

-- increases in cases, hospitalizations, deaths, and test positivity rates.

"The Delta variant is not driving a surge in hospitalization rates in England, health data shows." NY Times says you've got it all wrong again. Delta is approx 75% of all new cases but hardly a blip in effects. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/01/health/delta-variant-covid-england.html

-- In many ways, we are back where we started in March of 2020. The difference now is that we have vaccines that are safe and very effective against illness and death.

Actually, the difference now is we can see that science facts can't compete with a population made hysterical by computer models, fraudulent testing agendas, attribution of death defaulted to Covid with no autopsy evidence, vaccine adverse reactions 30x the historical average for all vaccines...and so it goes.

Better schedule another booster, Bailey. Your wobble is getting noticeable.

Carlos Ponce

"The Delta variant is at least 2X as contagious as the original strain" - That's typical of variant strains.

Wayne D Holt

Researchers in the UK report a 50% higher transmissible factor for Delta, according to the New Yorker online magazine. If true, that would make Bailey's claim 2X exaggerated. Sort of a nice symmetry there.

Wayne D Holt

"Vaccines work by training your body to create antibodies to fight off a specific virus. "

This experimental gene therapy (not a vaccine by clinically accepted standards) is designed to work by stimulating the production of antibodies. The problem is the human body, when well cared for, uses a VARIETY of suppressive technologies that are far superior to the one-dimensional approach that spike protein generation in mRNA shots juice up. And it does it without metals, salts, bovine or human fetal tissue and who knows what else may be in the shots which ever greedy, ever corrupt Big Pharma has a mind to include. After all, if you are immune from liability by law, why would you care?

Wayne D Holt

Those readers who still prefer science facts to the science fiction being shoveled out by Big Pharma stooges may feast their eyes on the following re naturally developed immunity:

'T cells induced by COVID-19 infection respond to new virus variants -U.S. study' A peer reviewed study by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) found:

“Our data, as well as the results from other groups, shows that the T cell response to COVID-19 in individuals infected with the initial viral variants appears to fully recognize the major new variants identified in the UK, South Africa and Brazil,” said Andrew Redd of the NIAID and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who led the study."

RE naturally developed immunity: "So, I would say the best data that exists is that immunity should be robust for at least 17 years. I think it’s entirely possible that it is lifelong. The style of the responses of these people’s T cells were the same as if you’ve been vaccinated and then you come back years later to see if that immunity has been retained. So I think the evidence is really strong that the duration of immunity will be multiple years, and possibly lifelong.” Former Pfizer Vice President and Chief Science Officer Dr. Mike Yeadon.

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