We’ll get to the latest disgraceful embarrassment for the Chinese Communist Party in a moment, but first, some good news on the vaccine front in the West.
We are going through a terrible period for COVID deaths, with 3,000-4,000 or more Americans dying from the virus every day. This nightmare keeps churning away, even as the news media is largely distracted by the (wild and newsworthy) drama in Washington, DC. But help is arriving, and it’s finally arriving faster. Well over 10 million Americans have now received at least their first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, as of yesterday.
Remember, the initial jab alone is fairly helpful at staving off the virus, then the vaccines’ efficacy shoots way up after the second injection. After some government-caused debacles across the country, some of which are still languishing, the worst decisions (like this one from – who else? – Andrew Cuomo) appear to be getting reversed. The ramp-up is real. Hospitalizations have finally ticked down a bit. In Israel, whose approach has been working so well that other allied governments are studying and emulating their methods, a sizable portion of their population has been vaccinated. And guess what? It’s already working:
Initial data from Israel’s vaccination campaign shows that Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine curbs infections by some 50 percent 14 days after the first of two shots is administered, a top Health Ministry official said Tuesday, as the country’s serious COVID-19 cases, daily infections and total active cases all reach all-time peaks. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of the Health Ministry’s public health department, told Channel 12 News that the data was preliminary, and based on the results of coronavirus tests among both those who’ve received the vaccine and those who haven’t. Other, somewhat contrary data was released by Israeli health maintenance organizations Tuesday evening. Channel 13 News said that according to figures released by Clalit, Israel’s largest health provider, the chance of a person being infected with the coronavirus dropped by 33% 14 days after they were vaccinated. Separate figures recorded by the Maccabi health provider and aired by Channel 12 showed the vaccine caused a 60% drop in the chances for infection 14 days after taking the first shot.
Whether it’s one-third, or closer to two-thirds, the bottom line is this: The vaccines are working, the first shot alone offers some degree of protection, but the second shot is really important. Better yet, it’s looking like the vaccines prevent the spread of COVID, beyond merely protecting against negative impacts of infection. And it appears as though the Moderna vaccine will confer at least one year of immunity upon recipients, which is also a positive development. Here’s another piece of seriously promising news, while we’re at it:
Johnson & Johnson’s experimental one-shot Covid-19 vaccine generated a long-lasting immune response in an early safety study, providing a glimpse at how it will perform in the real world as the company inches closer to approaching U.S. regulators for clearance. More than 90% of participants made immune proteins, called neutralizing antibodies, within 29 days after receiving the shot, according to the report, and all participants formed the antibodies within 57 days. The immune response lasted for the full 71 days of the trial. “Looking at the antibodies, there should be good hope and good reason that the vaccine will work,” in the company’s late-stage clinical trial that’s soon to report results, J&J Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels said Tuesday in an interview. The one-shot vaccine generates more neutralizing antibodies than a single dose of other front-runner Covid-19 vaccine, all of which are two-shot regimens. But when compared with two shots of these rivals, the response to J&J’s single shot is in the same range, Stoffels said.