Can the vaccinated become superspreaders? | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Vaccinees lining up in San Juan City on July 29: The vaccinated are often asymptomatic when
infected and thus more likely to transmit the virus unknowingly. —GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

It may come as a surprise, but recent data suggest that vaccinated individuals may be the potential superspreaders of the virus without them realizing it.

This is the reason the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States recently revised its guidelines that even fully vaccinated individuals should wear masks indoors.

This was based on a study from Massachusetts, one of the top vaccinated areas in the United States. The study looked at an outbreak in one of the cities in the state, showing that 75 percent of the infected were fully vaccinated, and the striking finding was that their viral load, as gathered from their nasopharyngeal swabs, was pretty much the same as in those who were not vaccinated.

No less than Dr. Anthony Fauci, US President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor on COVID-19, confirmed this finding, and almost apologetically pleaded that vaccinated individuals should cooperate by wearing their masks again, especially indoors.

“High viral loads suggest an increased risk of transmission and raised concern that, unlike with other variants, vaccinated people infected with Delta can transmit the virus,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director, in media releases last week.

“This finding is concerning and was a pivotal discovery leading to CDC’s updated mask recommendation. The masking recommendation was updated to ensure the vaccinated public would not unknowingly transmit the virus to others, including their unvaccinated or immunocompromised loved ones,” Walensky added.

Not fake news

This precaution that vaccinated individuals are potential spreaders is not fake news, as it came directly from the US CDC director, and is based on actual real-world data.

In the Massachusetts study involving close to 500 COVID-positive individuals, majority only had mild symptoms and less than 10 were hospitalized, supporting the efficacy of vaccines in preventing severe disease.

However, this finding debunks the speculation that vaccinated individuals have significantly less viral loads should they get infected and, therefore, have lower risk of transmitting the virus.

Since the vaccinated are much less symptomatic than those who are not vaccinated when they get the infection, they’re more likely to transmit the virus unknowingly whereas the unvaccinated, who are more likely to be symptomatic, could immediately get tested, isolate themselves and be treated.

This also makes completely illogical, almost absurd the practice in some local governments that allows only the vaccinated to dine inside restaurants or to enter establishments.

A draft of a memo from a Visayan local government even prohibited unvaccinated individuals from taking public transportation. Because of the resulting uproar, the local executive recanted and said he was just kidding.

Some offices also require all their employees to get vaccinated, lest they lose their jobs. The reason cited is to protect everyone from getting infected, with the erroneous belief that the vaccinated no longer transmit the disease to others.

In some shops, those who have their vaccine certificates are given special discounts, presumably because they’ve done their heroic part to reduce transmission of the virus. I was next in line when the shop cashier was explaining this to the person in front of me and I felt bad, not because I was after the discount but because I felt discriminated against just because I decided based on my best judgment.

Now, we realize that the opposite may be true about the transmission the vaccinated can cause.

Vaccine expectations

We’ve written in past columns that the vaccinated with suboptimal protection, particularly between the first jab and two weeks after the second jab, could serve as a vast training ground for the virus to override the vaccine, mutate and develop into more transmissible variants. Vaccinees in between their two jabs are really in a precarious state.

Local experts may continue to argue otherwise, as they did when they shot down this hypothesis I proposed in March, but the data is now emerging that they could be wrong, and the hypothesis is tenable.

It’s not really a question of who’s right and who’s wrong. Bottom line is that we should join hands and minds in getting us out of this pandemic with the least physical and psychological complications possible.

We should immediately stop this vaccine apartheid we’re currently encouraging, which unfairly discriminates against the unvaccinated, as if they’re 21st-century pariahs who pose a risk to society.

Any intention of making vaccination mandatory should also be put on hold, and exploring multiple means of licking the virus for good should be explored. (“Multipronged approach vs vaccine-centric strategy,” Lifestyle, 4/13/21)

We need to level expectations of what one may expect from vaccination.

It reduces symptoms in those who get infected despite full vaccination, and increases the number of asymptomatic infection.

It reduces the risk of hospitalization and deaths, but the risk appears to wane starting on the fourth month after vaccination. This benefit is very strong in the elderly, and those with significant comorbidities, but not so much in healthy young adults.

The vaccine card allows access to some public places, cash and material incentives from the local governments, and special discounts in some shops.

It does not prevent disease transmission, and could possibly heighten asymptomatic disease transmission.

It may protect the vaccinee but, in the case of asymptomatic infection, it may expose the people around them at home and in the workplace.

Unproven speculation

Some side effects can be serious or even fatal, but mercifully rare—in the vicinity of one in 20,000 based on data from health agencies.

This is, however, believed to be markedly underreported, based on the claims of whistleblowers.

According to professor Robert Malone, inventor of the mRNA technology used in some vaccines, the risk of antibody-dependent enhancement, which may make the vaccinated more susceptible to a more severe disease when the vaccine effectivity already wanes, could not be ruled out.

The mid- to long-term (one to 20 years) side effects are still uncharted territory, and no one knows exactly what’s in store for vaccinees in the long-term.

Vaccine manufacturers have not explained why the bodies of vaccinees become magnetic and can hold teaspoons, paper clips and other metallic objects placed close to their bodies, and why the spike proteins in autopsied vaccinees who had died are found in most organs of the body, including the heart, brain, ovaries and other vital organs.

There’s also an unproven speculation that there’s now an increasing incidence of COVID-19 in infants and children because vaccinated parents can shed a sizable quantity of the spike proteins that can also infect their children and cause pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome (PIMS).

The risk of PIMS is claimed to be increased in breastfeeding mothers. Another possibility is that the parents and other vaccinated adults in the household may be asymptomatic carriers due to a breakthrough infection, and they unknowingly spread the virus to their infants and children.

We reiterate that this is not proven yet, but just speculated by temporal association of the development of COVID-19 in these children and the vaccination of their parents and other adult members of the household.

The waning vaccine protection with time also indicates that natural immunity obtained from previous COVID-19 infection remains more robust and durable than vaccine-generated immunity.

So, once you survive a COVID-19 infection like 98.3 percent of afflicted Filipinos will, you’re protected for a long time with your natural, God-given immunity. No vaccine can match that, and there is already 11-month data of natural immunity following a COVID-19 infection, showing that the risk of reinfection is exceedingly rare.

There’s no convincing data that would show any significant additional benefit with vaccination if you already have a previous infection.

Natural immunity

We believe natural immunity, rather than vaccine immunity, will be our real source of herd immunity, unless a monster of a variant will emerge that can escape both natural and vaccine-generated immunity.

Unfortunately, vaccinating the entire population can prevent us from attaining the more robust and lasting natural immunity we really need to attain herd immunity.

With vaccines, what we’ll get is less symptomatic disease but with unbridled asymptomatic transmission that can perpetuate the virus indefinitely. (“Is herd immunity still attainable?,” Lifestyle, 7/13/21)

If we just analyze the development of variants from the time vaccination was started, mass vaccination seems to be associated with a higher risk of such development. So vaccination would just confer a temporary (six-month to one-year) protection, and you’re hooked on repeated vaccination jabs.

If we reduce our vaccination and limit it only to the elderly and vulnerable sectors who really need the protection it could offer, we just might be able to reduce the rate of development of monster variants in the future.

That’s why our recommendation stays that we should only vaccinate the elderly and high-risk population. But our health officials should optimally protect the rest of the population, too. (“Urgent steps that can help turn health crisis around,” Lifestyle, 3/22/21)

We reiterate our recommendation to our Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow only emergency use authorization of all currently available vaccines for the elderly, the immunocompromised and other high-risk individuals, and require vaccine manufacturers to go though the regular application route for other low-risk age groups.

No one can deny that the vaccines, particularly the new-technology preparations, are still in the experimental stage with uncompleted safety data requirements—yet we’re allowing them for mass population use.

We know this will require a lot of courage and determination for our FDA to execute, but this will truly be a defining moment for them, as well as the other FDAs in the world.

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