Coronavirus breakthrough cases continue to rise among the fully vaccinated as "vaccine pandemic" worsens
Several countries around the world were reporting more cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) among vaccinated individuals
. This was in contrast to what the mainstream media, public health officials and politicians were telling the public – that we're having a "pandemic of the unvaccinated."
It looks more like a "vaccine pandemic" is coming based on the recent trend. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) reported 4,115 COVID-19 infections among fully vaccinated people who have either been hospitalized or died. Interestingly, that report has not been updated since June 21.
The 4,115 breakthrough cases represent only vaccinated hospitalizations and deaths – not vaccinated breakthrough infections overall, which the CDC stopped tracking in April.
Israel: 64 percent of COVID patients in serious condition are fully vaccinated
It's a worldwide problem. (Related: Breakthrough covid cases among the vaccinated are the norm, not the exception… vaccines are failing across the board.
Israel has one of the fastest vaccination programs in the world. According to the vaccine tracker of the New York Times
, 64 percent of Israelis have received at least one dose
and 60 percent have been fully vaccinated as of Thursday, Aug. 12. More than 650,000 citizens over age 60 or who are immunosuppressed have also received a third dose of the vaccine.
But the country recorded 6,525 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday for a seven-day rolling average of 4,937 new cases.
The Associated Press
published a fact check saying that such information is being presented without context. "Misleading posts on social media are now twisting data from Israel to falsely claim the country's vaccination program is a failure due to the number of breakthrough cases of COVID-19 among the vaccinated," the AP
also argued that "no vaccine is perfect at preventing breakthrough cases, but the data shows vaccines are reducing the number of people who are severely ill, hospitalized or die from the virus." However, Israel's Ministry of Health
reported on Wednesday, Aug. 11, that 64 percent of the 400 COVID-19 patients in serious conditions were fully vaccinated.
Dr. Kobi Haviv, the medical director of the Herzog Medical Center in Jerusalem, said in an interview with Channel 13 News Israel
that the infections are the result of the coronavirus vaccine losing its "effectiveness."
The country's preliminary vaccine data published in July found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was just 40.5 percent effective on average at preventing symptomatic disease.
The analysis, which was carried out as the delta variant became the dominant strain in Israel, appeared to show a waning effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine
. The vaccine was only 16 percent effective against symptomatic infection for those who had two doses back in January. For people that had received two doses by April, the efficacy rate against symptomatic infection stood at 79 percent.
"Most of the population is vaccinated, and 85-90 percent of the hospitalizations here are 'fully vaccinated' people," Haviv said.
Israel is not the only country facing the same predicament.
Vaccinated people account for majority of new COVID infections in several places
Singapore is also experiencing high numbers of vaccinated people being infected with COVID-19. According to government data, the vaccinated make up 75 percent of new cases in the city state as of July 23.
Teo Yik Ying, the dean of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore
, has expected such scenario.
"As more and more people are vaccinated in Singapore, we will see more infections happening among vaccinated people," said Ying. "Suppose Singapore achieves a rate of 100 percent fully vaccinated, then all infections will stem from the vaccinated people and none from the unvaccinated."
Singapore has the fifth-highest vaccinated population in the world with 77 percent of its 5.7 million citizens having received at least one dose.
In Gibraltar, the daily count of new COVID-19 cases has increased more than 2,500 percent. It's safe to say that most, if not all, of the new coronavirus patients in Gibraltar were fully vaccinated as the British Overseas Territory has vaccinated more than 99 percent of its adult population.
Similar to Gibraltar, Iceland also has an extremely high vaccination rate with 90 percent of the population between the ages of 40 and 70 receiving the vaccine. Among people older than 70, the vaccination rate is 98 percent, according to official government data.
However, Iceland has seen a surge of new COVID-19 cases since July. Because of the latest outbreak, the CDC added Iceland to its list of nations to avoid visiting.
Scientists, health experts say mass vaccinations not going to stop COVID transmissions
The avalanche of breakthrough cases may have opened the eyes of some scientists and health experts working for governments. They have started to realize that mass vaccinations are not going to wipe out the virus
. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is likely to be around for a very long time.
Just recently, some British experts called for an end to mass testing.
"We don't have anything that will stop transmission, so I think we are in a situation where herd immunity is not a possibility and I suspect the virus will throw up a new variant that is even better at infecting vaccinated individuals," Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, told a parliamentary panel. (Related: Plastic face shields can't prevent COVID-19 transmission, experts warn.
Pollard argued that if mass testing was not stopped, "the UK could be in a situation of continually vaccinating the population." He said that only those with symptoms should be tested while others should go about their daily lives.
Infectious disease expert Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia
, told the panel that vaccination would not bring about herd immunity. He said it was time to stop concentrating on supposed cases rather than actual infections.
"We need to start moving away from just reporting infections or just reporting positive cases admitted to hospital, to actually start reporting the number of people who are ill because of COVID," said Hunter, who also advises the World Health Organization
on the virus. "Otherwise we are going to be frightening ourselves with very high numbers that actually don't translate into disease burden."
According to recent reports, analysis by Public Health England
has shown that vaccinated and unvaccinated people have a similar viral load when they catch the virus and likely have the same odds of transmitting it to others.
Iceland's state epidemiologist voiced similar sentiments. "We really cannot do anything else but allow the virus to take its course in order for the population to achieve herd immunity," said Porolfur Gudnason, chief epidemiologist of Iceland's Directorate of Health
"We need to try to vaccinate and better protect those who are vulnerable, but let us tolerate the infection. It is not a priority now to vaccinate everyone with the third dose."
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