POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - INSTITUTIONS

Covid-19

Vaccines: immunity not guaranteed



New statistics--one in two people are vaccinated, but only one in five has been infected--illustrate how the vaccine works: it does not guarantee immunity to the virus, but it does reduce the risk of transmission. Photo: Nader Ghavami / Maison Moderne

New statistics--one in two people are vaccinated, but only one in five has been infected--illustrate how the vaccine works: it does not guarantee immunity to the virus, but it does reduce the risk of transmission. Photo: Nader Ghavami / Maison Moderne

In one week, 18.6% of those infected had a complete vaccination schedule. This increase is the result of a vaccination campaign that has now reached more than half of all residents. Vaccines reduce transmissibility and above all protect against severe cases.

Of the 566 new covid-19 infections that occurred during the week of July 19-25, 461 people (81.4%) were not vaccinated, 105 people (18.6%) would have had a complete vaccination regimen, according to the latest weekly report from the health ministry.

The proportion of people infected post-vaccination has increased in recent months. Specifically, between 1 January and 22 July, 2021, 765 vaccinated people had a complete vaccine regimen, out of a total of 26,210 infected people, or only 2.92% of cases

But this increase is logically explained by the rise in the number of people vaccinated: the vaccination campaign, which began at the end of 2020, got off to a slow start before accelerating in April.

However, 336,173 people have now been fully vaccinated in the country. This means that almost 53% of the population is vaccinated, which statistically increases the risk of a vaccinated person becoming infected compared to the first months of the year, when the proportion of vaccinated people was very low.

These statistics--if one in two people is vaccinated, only one in five is infected--demonstrate how the vaccine works: it does not guarantee immunity against the virus, but it does reduce the risk of transmission.

“The transmissibility of the virus has been considerably reduced following vaccination,” explained Claude Muller, from the LIH, to Paperjam. “But the question must be asked differently: to what extent is the R-factor (the reproduction rate of the virus) reduced by immunisation? With a vaccine, the R-factor can be reduced by a factor of 30, 50 or 100, so if R is 3 in a population without immunity, it could be 0.1 with a vaccinated population. We see this in the field in immunised populations.”

Protection against severe forms

Thus, “at the level of the individual, the risk of being infected is reduced, since there are fewer infected people,” explained Claude Muller from the Luxembourg Institute of Health in an earlier interview with Paperjam. "Furthermore, a person who is infected despite vaccination has a reduced viral load, which limits the risk of infecting a third party.”

However, there is no question of going so far as to believe oneself perfectly immune and free to no longer respect barrier measures: despite vaccination, practices like having good hygiene, wearing a mask and social distancing remain essential to protect oneself and, above all, to protect others from contamination.

Although it does not provide immunity, vaccination ultimately protects against severe forms of covid-19 and prevents hospitalisation. Despite an increase following the outbreak of covid-19 cases at the end of June, the number of people hospitalised--22--remains limited. Most importantly, only three people are in intensive care. “We are now at a stage where we have managed to protect hospitals and intensive care units,” Claude Muller recently said. “From a public health point of view, we have therefore defeated the pandemic caused by the current variants.”

This article was originally published in Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.