The Power of Boosters – The New York Times

CDC has begun releasing data on Covid outcomes among people who have received booster shots, and the numbers are featured:

As you can see, getting vaccinated without boosters provides a lot of protection. But a booster takes someone to another level.

This data highlights both the strengths of Covid vaccines and their greatest weakness – namely, that effectiveness declines over time, as is the case with many other vaccines. If you had two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine early last year, official statistics still consider you “fully vaccinated.” In fact, you are only partially vaccinated.

Once you get a booster shot, the risk of you getting very sick from Covid is very small. It is quite small even if you are old or have health problems.

The average weekly chance that a boosted person dies from Covid is about one in a million during October and November (most recently available CDC data). Since then, the chances are definitely higher, because of the spike in Omicron. But they are likely to be even lower in the coming weeks, because the increase is dwindling and Omicron is milder than earlier versions of the virus. For now, one in a million per week seems like a reasonable estimate.

That risk isn’t zero, but it’s not far off either. The chance of the average American dying in an auto accident this week is significantly higher – about 2.4 in a million. Average weekly mortality from influenza and pneumonia – about three parts per million.

With a booster shot, Covid is like other respiratory illnesses that have persisted for many years. It can still be annoying. Because the elderly and immunocompromised, it can be debilitating, even fatal – similar to the flu. The increase in Omicron was so terrible that it caused tens of millions of Americans to get the flu at once.

Of course, for the unvaccinated, Covid is still many times worse than the flu.

I highlight these statistics because there is still a great deal of skepticism about vaccines in the United States that I have heard it so often from readers over the past week, after our poll about Covid attitudes and partisanship, as well as episode “Everyday” about the poll.

This vaccine skepticism takes two main forms. The more damaging form is the one common among Republicans. They are very skeptical of vaccines – partly from wrong information come from conservative media figures and Republican politicians – many of whom remain unvaccinated.

Take a look at this detail from the Kaiser Family Foundation’s latest portrait of vaccinations: Shockingly, there are more unvaccinated Republican adults than vaccinated Republican adults. room.

This lack of vaccines is killing people. “It cost the lives of everyone I knew, including last week, a friend of 35 years, someone I met on one of the first weekends of my freshman year,” David French, a conservative writer living in Tennessee, wrote on the Atlantic Ocean. “I can’t tell you how heartbreaking it is to watch one by one fall into the hands of the virus when a safe and effective injection almost certainly not only saves their life, but can save them from a serious illness. ”

Peter Hotez, a vaccine expert at Baylor College of Medicine, estimates that in the second half of last year, 200,000 Americans lost their lives because they refused a Covid vaccine. “Three doses of Pfizer or Moderna will save your life,” Hotez told me. “That’s the only way you can be reasonably assured that you’ll survive a Covid-19 infection.” (Small children, who are not yet eligible for vaccines, are also more likely to get very sick.)

Vaccines don’t just prevent death. Local data suggest that the risk of hospitalization is also very low. Vaccination also reduces the risk of contracting Covid for up to very low level.

The second form of vaccine skepticism is among Democrats – although many would object to any suggestion that they are vaccine skeptics. Most Democrats certainly did not suspect being shot. But many people doubt that vaccines protect them.

About 41 percent of Democratic voters say they are worried about getting “sick” with Covid, according to a poll by the Kaiser . Family Foundation released last week. That’s a very high level of anxiety for a small risk.

Here’s proof that much of the fear is irrational: Young Democrats are more worried about getting sick than older Democrats, despite the science the opposite would be true.

The most likely explanation for this pattern is political ideology. Younger Democrats are significantly freer compared with older Democrats, according to the Pew Research Center (and other pollsters). Ideology tends to shape Covid views, as the complex mix of reasons often doesn’t make sense. The freer you are, More worried about Covid you tend to; The more conservative you are, the less anxious you are.

I know that many libertarians believe that an exaggerated sense of personal Covid risk is actually a good thing, because it pushes the country toward more precaution. Preventive measures, in this view, will reduce The death toll of Covid, which is really horrible right now. In a newsletter this weekend, I’ll examine that argument.

For now, I’m simply reiterating the many experts who beg Americans to get vaccinated and boost their health.

What can help increase the country’s vaccination ranking? Vaccination mission, for one thing – although many Republican politicians, as well as Republican Supreme Court appointees, oppose the mandate broadly. Private companies can still impose duties on their employees and customers.

Without a mandate, the best hope for increased vaccination is probably outreach. While many unvaccinated Americans are staunchly opposed to vaccination, others – including some Democrats and independents – remain agnostic. If vaccinations are convenient and a nurse or doctor is available to answer questions, they will consider it.

“I can’t count how many people I’ve talked to with the Covid vaccine who said, ‘No, I don’t think so. No, “Emory University Dr. Kimberly Manning told Journal-Constitution Atlanta. “Then I met them two weeks later and they told me they were vaccinated.”

Related: “You have to scratch your head and say, ‘How the hell did this happen?'” Dr Anthony Fauci told Michael Barbaro on today’s episode of “The Daily”, on the partisan gap in the attitude of Covid. Fauci also predicts that people worried about Covid will be less due to the crates of discounts.

In Opinion TimesJames Martin, a Jesuit priest, argues that sharing the suffering of vaccine skeptics bend the soul.

The Sundance Film Festival – fantasy is in its second year – ended this past weekend. “At a time when many of us are concerned about the health of the movies,” Film critic AO Scott wrote“It provides proof of life.”

Among the notable films: director Jesse Eisenberg’s debut, “When You Finish Saving the World,” about an Indiana teenager struggling with love; “Navalny”, a suspenseful documentary about Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny; “Nanny,” subjects with its protagonist, a Senegalese immigrant living in New York, into supernatural and psychological fears; and “Master” by Mariama Diallo, about a Black student and a Black professor on a hostile campus.

One of Scott’s favorite movies is Sara Dosa’s “Flames of Love,” which tells the story of a French couple who research volcanoes. The film’s violent eruptions and peaceful lava flows were captured on the couple’s camera before their death in 1991. These are the festival’s award winners. – Sanam Yar, a Morning writer The Power of Boosters – The New York Times

Fry Electronics Team

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