The coronavirus vaccines are the subject of much discussion, some valid some not. However, one news story out today cites recent peer review studies in Nature and the New England Journal of Medicine are certainly cause for concern. It says that frequently boosting people against upcoming COVID-19 variants is helping the virus mutate and spread rather than slowing it down.
Public-health experts are sounding the alarm about a new Omicron variant dubbed XBB that is rapidly spreading across the Northeast U.S. Some studies suggest it is as different from the original Covid strain from Wuhan as the 2003 SARS virus. Should Americans be worried?
It isn’t clear that XBB is any more lethal than other variants, but its mutations enable it to evade antibodies from prior infection and vaccines as well as existing monoclonal antibody treatments. Growing evidence also suggests that repeated vaccinations may make people more susceptible to XBB and could be fueling the virus’s rapid evolution.
Prior to Omicron’s emergence in November 2021, there were only four variants of concern: Alpha, Beta, Delta and Gamma. Only Alpha and Delta caused surges of infections globally. But Omicron has begotten numerous descendents, many of which have popped up in different regions of the world curiously bearing some of the same mutations.
Basically, what the author, Allysia Findley, is saying is that the coronavirus is learning ways of avoiding the vaccination effects. A result similar to how microbes or germs built immunity due to constant use of antibiotics. What’s worse is that, according to Cleveland Clinic research Findley cites, people who have been immunized and boosted multiple times are now at risk of COVID-19 infection.
By vaccinating and developing boosters to try and combat COVID-19 variants, the research papers show they’re having the opposite effect. This article may be too little, too late. A manuscript published in Israel two years ago showed similar results with vaccinated people being at risk of infection after the first shot while another 2021 Israeli study revealed that some patients were even at high risk of experiencing serious cardiac or heart-related events.
Like anything in life, there are trade-offs and that certainly applies to vaccinations. However, it has been a practice in epidemiology for the last 200 years to not mass-vaccinate during a pandemic. That principle went out the window resulting from the panic related to COVID-19, and the consequences or side-effects are not promising.
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