Vaccines are on my mind a lot these days. The first vaccines were released to the public in Uzbekistan on Thursday. Everyday I am reaching out to our network of contacts lobbying for our faculty and staff to get vaccinated. I am reading everything I can about vaccines. The CDC has given permission for fully vaccinated people to travel. This Scientific American article (If You Don’t Have COVID Vaccine Side Effects, Are You Still Protected?discussed the side effects after receiving the vaccine – April 1, 2021 by Stephanie Sutherland) has some insight:
- About 50% of people get some kind of systemic reaction to the vaccine. More side effects come with the second dose of a 2-dose vaccine.
- Women and the young experience more side effects than men and the elderly.
- All subjects are equally protected regardless of reaction to the vaccine. Reaction of the immune system to the vaccine depends on many factors.
The US FDA (Food & Drug Administration) recently approved Abbot Laboratories’ BinaxNOW test (above). It is simple to use at home, results are ready in 15 minutes and retails for less than $10, some places less than $5. It might be a good idea to have loads of these available for TIS next school year so we can host more events with parents and visitors attending.
We should all feel fortunate to be in Uzbekistan during the pandemic. Schools around the world have gone back to Virtual Learning and country lockdowns. This includes Brazil, most of Europe and India to name a few locations. The numbers of cases in Tashkent are still rising however with an average of 132 cases/day last week. It has me concerned because you can see on the graph above, we are getting back into the same levels we had in November. I have a feeling more vaccines will be available here after the government gave permission for private companies to offer paid vaccinations.
Yesterday, the CDC released real-life data showing that, just two weeks after even a single dose, the two mRNA vaccines were 80 percent effective in preventing infection. The effectiveness rose to 90 percent after the second, booster dose. People in the study were routinely tested regardless of whether they had symptoms, so we know that vaccines prevented not just symptomatic illness—the vaccine-efficacy rate reported in the trials—but any infection. People who are not infected by a virus cannot transmit it at all, and even people who have a breakthrough case despite vaccination have been shown to have lower viral loads compared with unvaccinated people, and so are likely much less contagious.Tufekci, Zeynep “The Fourth Surge Is Upon Us. This Time, It’s Different“,The Atlantic, March 31, 2021