Thursday, December 31, 2020

Watch the body language

This is Joseph

In very early 2019 I remember telling my friends "I am not very worried about this new virus in China, but the one that that concerns me is that the Chinese authorities are acting like they are terrified-- that is really the only thing that worries me". These words came back to haunt me.

Recently we heard about a new mutant strain of covid-19 in the UK. I was initially not super worried, as any new strain that shows up will look like it will have a transmission advantage. Whether it is causal or not is very hard to be sure of.

Then I read the latest draft of "in the pipeline":

We do not know. We don’t know for this vaccine, nor for the Pfizer/BioNTech one, nor for Moderna’s. No studies have been designed to find that out, so all we can do is guess based on what we’ve seen with the interval between doses in the two-dose studies. That’s been encouraging with the two mRNA vaccines, but remember: we don’t know how they are over a longer period, because no one was left without a second dose for that long. It’s certainly possible that without the second booster that the protection seen after one shot starts to wane. We do not know. And we know even less about the Oxford/AZ vaccine’s behavior under these conditions. Giving as many people in the UK as possible a single dose of that vaccine with a longer wait until the booster is a gamble, and you wouldn’t want to do it that way if the alternatives weren’t even worse. It’s the right move, unfortunately, and it’s a damned shame it’s come to this.

The bolding is mine. 

Now it is possible that the UK government is trying to get ahead of cases and end the pandemic quickly. This is still the most likely answer, I think. But maybe they know stuff about the new strain that they are trying new strategies because they are really worried and not because they thought out the science

This is likely a situation to keep an eye on, Thankfully it is likely that vaccines will still work on it, but it suggests that getting good with vaccine delivery is important. Early news has shown challenges with TPM reporting that perhaps only 2.1 million of the 14 million doses delivered have been given. But hopefully these vaccine distribution challenges are teething pains and not enduring issues as we gear up to finally end the pandemic. 

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