Vaccinated People Make Up 75% of Recent COVID-19 Cases in Singapore

Aradhana Aravindan and Chen Lin wrote . . . . . . . . .

Vaccinated individuals accounted for three-quarters of Singapore’s COVID-19 infections in the last four weeks, but they were not falling seriously ill, government data showed, as a rapid ramp-up in inoculations leaves fewer people unvaccinated.

While the data shows that vaccines are highly effective in preventing severe cases, it also underscores the risk that even those inoculated could be contagious, so that inoculation alone may not suffice to halt transmission.

Of Singapore’s 1,096 locally transmitted infections in the last 28 days, 484, or about 44%, were in fully vaccinated people, while 30% were partially vaccinated and just over 25% were unvaccinated, Thursday’s data showed.

While seven cases of serious illness required oxygen, and another was in critical condition in intensive care, none of the eight had been fully vaccinated, the health ministry said.

“There is continuing evidence that vaccination helps to prevent serious disease when one gets infected,” the ministry said, adding that all the fully vaccinated and infected people had shown no symptoms, or only mild ones.

Infections in vaccinated people do not mean vaccines are ineffective, experts said.

“As more and more people are vaccinated in Singapore, we will see more infections happening among vaccinated people,” Teo Yik Ying, dean of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

“It is important to always compare it against the proportion of people who remain unvaccinated…Suppose Singapore achieves a rate of 100% fully vaccinated…then all infections will stem from the vaccinated people and none from the unvaccinated.”

Singapore has already inoculated nearly 75% of its 5.7 million people, the world’s second highest after the United Arab Emirates, a Reuters tracker shows, and half its population is fully vaccinated.

As countries with advanced vaccination campaigns prepare to live with COVID-19 as an endemic disease, their focus is turning to preventing death and serious diseases through vaccination.

But they are grappling with how to differentiate public health policies, such as mask wearing, between the vaccinated and those who are not.

Both Singapore and Israel, for example, reinstated some curbs recently to battle a surge in infections driven by the highly contagious Delta variant, while England lifted almost all restrictions this week, despite high caseloads.

“We’ve got to accept that all of us will have to have some restrictions, vaccinated or not vaccinated,” said Peter Collignon, an infectious diseases physician and microbiologist at Canberra Hospital in the Australian capital.

“It’s just the restrictions are likely to be higher for those unvaccinated than vaccinated people, but that may still mean they have mask mandates indoors, for instance.”

The Singapore data also showed that infections in the last 14 days among vaccinated people older than 61 stood at about 88%, higher than the figure of just over 70% for the younger group.

Linfa Wang, a professor at Duke-NUS Medical School, said elderly people had been shown to have weaker immune responses upon vaccination.

In Israel, which also has a high vaccination rate, about half of the 46 patients hospitalised in severe condition by early July had been vaccinated, and the majority were from risk groups, authorities said.

It was not immediately clear if the Singapore data reflected reduced protection offered by vaccines against the Delta variant, the most common form in the wealthy city state in recent months.

Two doses of vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca are nearly as effective against Delt

a as against the previously dominant Alpha variant, according to a study published this week.

Singapore uses the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in its national vaccination programme.

Friday’s 130 new locally-transmitted infections were off this week’s 11-month high. The recent rise in cases prompted authorities to tighten curbs on social gatherings in the push to boost vaccinations, particularly among the elderly.

Source : Euro News

In Pictures: Food of Pop-up Kogimyun Hatsukoi Cafe in Shibuya, Japan

Israeli Research Claims Pfizer Shot Now Only 41% Effective Against Delta Strain

Nathan Jeffay wrote . . . . . . . . .

New data from Israel and the United Kingdom painted a confusing and contradictory picture on Thursday as to the effectiveness of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in fighting off the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

New Health Ministry statistics indicated that, on average, the Pfizer shot — the vaccine given to nearly all Israelis — is now just 39% effective against infection, while being only 41% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID. Previously, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was well over 90% effective against infection.

Meanwhile, a new UK study published this week in The New England Journal of Medicine found the same vaccine to be 88% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID — more than twice the rate found in the Israeli data.

Israel’s research agreed, at least, that the shot was highly effective in avoiding serious illness, at 91.4% effectiveness.

Some analysts have warned that the figures on vaccine effectiveness are prone to major inaccuracies because of a range of factors, including questions over whether there is accurate data on infection levels among the non-vaccinated, which is vital for such stats.

The Israeli statistics also appeared to paint a picture of protection that gets weaker as months pass after vaccination, due to fading immunity. People vaccinated in January were said to have just 16% protection against infection now, while in those vaccinated in April, effectiveness was at 75%.

Doctors note that such figures may not only reflect time that has passed since vaccination, but also a bias according to which those who vaccinated early were often people with health conditions and who are more prone to infection, such as the elderly.

Reacting to the Israeli figures on Thursday, epidemiologist Nadav Davidovitch, a Ben-Gurion University professor and leader of Israel’s doctors’ union, told The Times of Israel, “What we see is that the vaccine is less effective in preventing transmission, but it’s easy to overlook that it’s still very effective in preventing hospitalization and severe cases.”

Davidovitch added: “It’s still excellent, very good in preventing severe cases and death, but less so in preventing transmission. And this is why we can’t rely on vaccinations alone, but also need Green Passes, testing, masks, and the like.”

Davidovitch stressed that all figures should be treated as preliminary and with limited relevance given the relatively small numbers of positive patients at the moment. “It’s quite early to comment, as the number of positive people is still quite low,” he said.

He spoke after ministers approved reinstating the Green Pass, limiting attendance at large events to those who are vaccinated, have recovered from COVID-19, or who present a valid negative test result.

The renewed restrictions will apply to both indoor and outdoor events with over 100 participants, starting on July 29. The requirement to present proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test from the past 72 hours will only apply to people older than 12. Under that age, there will be no restrictions.

The decision was approved by the so-called coronavirus cabinet, a high-level ministerial forum tasked with leading the government’s pandemic response. It must still be ratified by the government, and is set to be voted on Sunday during the weekly cabinet meeting.

Source : The Times of Israel

Cowboy’s Buns

Ingredients

6 crusty white rolls
1/4 cup butter, melted
8 oz Dutch pork smoked sausage
1 small onion, finely chopped
7 oz can baked beans
watercress sprigs, to garnish

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
  2. Cut tops off rolls and set aside. Hollow out centres of rolls, leaving a thin wall of bread. Brush insides of rolls with 9 teaspoons of the butter.
  3. Wrap foil around each roll, leaving the top open. Place on a baking sheet and put in the oven for 10 minutes to heat through.
  4. Simmer the sausage in boiling water for 10 minutes.
  5. Fry the onion in the remaining butter until slightly softened and transparent.
  6. Cut the sausage into thin slices and stir into the onion. Add the beans and heat through.
  7. Remove the foil from the rolls, then spoon in the sausage mixture. Replace the bread tops and return to the oven for a further 2-3 minutes.
  8. Garnish with sprigs of watercress and serve at once.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: The Book of Breakfasts and Brunches


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