COVID UPDATE FOR NOVEMBER 16th


Listener Email Question:

"I do have a question that you may pose to your sources concerning the booster shot. Pat and I are both eligible for it due to age and Pat needs it more than I due to underlying conditions. But, Pat is adamantly against it even though her Rheumatologist strongly recommends it. As for me, I am okay with getting the booster. I suggested that we may not be able to travel to Portugal in April, or with you on the Danube, but she said nothing.

Perhaps your reliable sources could give their honest opinions about the need for the booster and if they would recommend it."

Source Response:

 ONE

The Food and Drug Administration does not plan to wait for an advisory committee to meet before authorizing the Pfizer Covid booster shot for all adults, breaking from the typical process.

The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) initially declined to recommend Covid boosters for all adults during a meeting in September, instead only green lighting the Pfizer shot for those 65 and older.

Pfizer is once again making a bid to have its shot made available for all adults, and there were multiple reports yesterday that the FDA does not plan on giving the committee a chance to vote against it again.

This is very unusual and is an indication that the FDA is acting on internal pressures, political and or scientific, to approve boosters for ALL. This is against the clear guidance of the independent panel of experts that advised against this in September.

On September 17, the independent expert panel voted 16-2 against the shot's authorization for all adults.

The main concern cited by the experts was the risk of rare heart inflammation cases for people under the age of 30 who receive the jab.

The panel did not believe the risk of the condition was worth it for age groups who had little risk of complications from the virus anyways. This was the critical point!

AGE matters the most with Covid!

The Covid death risk if you are under 40 is 1 in nearly 6,000. In children it's 5 in a million.

If you are 65-75 your risk is 90 times that of a 40 year old !

If you are over 75 your risk is at least 300 times that of a 40 year old !

Older adults have always been much more likely to die of Covid-19: People 65 and up comprise75% of Covid-19 deaths in the US. Also, older immune systems seem to get less from the vaccines or, at the very least, see protection wane more quickly; as the study of veterans found, vaccine effectiveness against death was about 10 percentage points lower for those 65 and older than those younger than 65.

The boosters are not different from the initial vaccines. After 8 Billion shots- they are safe.

In a large US study researchers studied more than 10,000 people ages 16 and older who were fully vaccinated. Among the participants who received a third Pfizer dose, just five people developed symptomatic cases of covid-19. In comparison, 109 participants who received a placebo developed covid infections.

The booster was 95.6% effective at preventing infection.

This is supported by the Israeli data as well.

There are some reasons to believe, immunologically, that once you get a booster six months after your second shot, that that should have a lot more durability than the first two shots did. We don’t know for sure. We don’t have any long-term data.

TAKE HOME

If you are in the high risk groups for severe Covid the boosters are a good idea. Our trusted source agrees with the Rheumatologist, a person over 60 with any risk factors is well advised to get a booster. They are safe and effective. However, the duration of protection is completely unknown. Many authorities recommend Pfizer for people under thirty, particularly men, and Moderna for people over 30, regardless of the original vaccine type.

Listener Email Question:

"My granddaughters’ school closed for 3 days to clean after a few COVID cases. My daughter was informed yesterday that the preschool had at least one case as well. Are school kids getting COVID more these days?"

Source Response:

TWO

It is difficult to describe graphs on the Radio. When shown on a graph it is clear that the pediatric hospitalizations are a tiny fraction of the hospitalization rate for older adults. The pediatric line is barely visible and very near the zero line. The pediatric hospitalization rate peaked in August at 1.8 per 100,000 population and is now below .8 per 100,000. In adults over 65 the delta wave peaked in August at 30 per 100,000 population, well below last winter's peak at 70 per 100,000. 

TAKE HOME

While there may be another winter wave ahead of us, for now the delta wave has peaked for hospitalizations in adults and children. The hospitalization rate for children is nearly equal to the historic hospitalization rate for the seasonal flu. The mortality rate for kids is significantly LESS for Covid than the mortality rate for the seasonal flu.  

THREE

Sweden has suffered almost 1,500 confirmed Covid deaths per million people, which is lower than the European average (1,800).

The UK — which has endured three national lockdowns and several regional fire-breakers — has recorded 2,100 per million, for comparison, while Belgium and Italy both have rates above 2,000. The US rate is roughly 2,500 Covid deaths per million.

When looking at excess mortality during the pandemic, Sweden ranks just 21st out of 31 European countries with 5% more deaths since March of last year than would be expected. Britain, Italy and Spain, on the other hand, have each suffered around 10 per cent more deaths than average during Covid.  

Statisticians say excess mortality is the most accurate way to measure the toll of the pandemic on health because it accounts for testing disparities between countries and includes knock-on fatalities. 

Sweden also has a lower infection rate currently than most EU nations, with just 100 per million people testing positive daily compared to 800 in Austria, nearly 700 in Belgium and Ireland, and 500 in the UK. 

changes as they see fit to do so.Sweden didn't have a Government-enforced lockdown. It didn't need one! It had a type of voluntary lockdown that was well-adhered to.

can get countries over a Covid peak without mandated restrictions. 

Notably, Sweden's economy bounced back faster than any other country in the EU. 

TAKE HOME

It's not too soon to declare the Swedish experiment of protecting the elderly and the vulnerable with only VOLUNTARY masking and VOLUNTARY vaccination, with NO lockdowns, NO school closures, and NO autocratic crippling of businesses and the economy as a success. It should be a model for the rest of the world. 


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