By Filippo Della Santa, ComeDonChisciotte.org
More than a year has passed since the start of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign.
We remind the most forgetful how, thanks to the drugs authorized in an emergency by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), we were promised herd immunity: first to 70%, then to 80%, which became 90%, in a I keep chasing an end of the emergency always a dose later.
With the emergence of new variants, and with vaccines being tested in the real world, achieving this goal soon became increasingly difficult to guarantee. It is certainly not new, we talked about it last summer.
Data from the National Institute of Health
In a first phase the ever increasing number of positive cases among vaccinated subjects was opposed as an argument of the “Simpson paradox”.
With the “COVID-19 Epidemic Bulletin National Update January 5 2022” of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), this argument has lost all consistency.
Let’s look at table 5 on page 27:
As we can see the cases of positivity between subjects who received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine represent 77.3% of all positive cases valued in the period 03/12/2021 – 02/01/2022.
As the percentage of the Italian population that has received at least one dose of the vaccine is around 81%, according to data provided by the Ourworldindata.org website, we are close to the point where the probability of infection will no longer be affected by the vaccination status.
This is confirmed by the sudden change of narrative. Although the entire vaccination campaign was based on the achievement of herd immunity, and therefore on the ability of vaccines to substantially prevent the spread of the Sars-Cov-2 virus, suddenly we are only talking about the occupation of hospitals and intensive care units. .
While this makes sense from a scientific point of view (emergencies must be evaluated based on these parameters, and not based on the positives of a rapid or molecular swab), some observations need to be made.
Also from the table reported in the ISS document, it is observed how unvaccinated individuals occupy 49.4% of ordinary wards and 65% of intensive care units. This seems to confirm the thesis of a good efficacy in reducing the severe form of the disease, however these percentages are in contrast with the same data provided by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità relating to deaths: contrary to what happens in intensive care nearly 60% of the deceased had received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
If we refer to the English data relating to the period between weeks 49 and 52 of 2021, the situation is less inconsistent. In fact, we have:
- Diagnosis of positivity to Sars-Cov-2 among unvaccinated individuals: 23.2% of the total;
- Covid-19 hospitalizations of unvaccinated individuals: 41.19% of the total;
- Covid-19 deaths of unvaccinated individuals: 28.3% of the total;
Possible interpretations of the phenomenon
One of the possible explanations of this phenomenon could be found in the words recently pronounced by the director of Spallanzani Vaia, according to which “a patient can be considered vaccinated only if he has also received the third dose“. To confirm this, a hospital report of an individual with a double dose who presented himself in the emergency room on 1 January and classified as unvaccinated would turn (the conditional is a must).
Although this explanation can be considered valid from a media narrative point of view, extremely useful for pushing third doses, in table 5 the ISS makes a clear distinction between individuals with 0, 1, 2 or 3 doses.
This explanation does not therefore appear to be sufficiently concrete.
Another possible factor could be the use, especially for fragile categories, of early treatment with monoclonal antibodies.
Recently, the director of the infectious diseases department of the San Luca hospital in Lucca, Dr. Luchi, praised the ability to keep the city hospital empty by intercepting the individuals most at risk of complications in the area and treating them with monoclonals. Another example is that of the RSA of Masone (GE), whose positive hosts and vaccinated with a third dose were treated by a team led by Dr. Bassetti.
Since the fragile individuals are most likely largely vaccinated, it is reasonable to expect a contribution in reducing the intensive care units occupied by the vaccinated.
Enough to explain the data provided by the ISS? Very difficult to say, given the many variables involved.
However, a simpler explanation can be found by observing the periods taken into consideration in the ISS report.
In fact, we know that the hospitalization curve follows the contagion curve, so the respective peaks are shifted by about 2/3 weeks. But as we can observe while the diagnosis data of Sars-Cov-2 refer to the period 03/12/2021 – 02/01/2022, those of intensive care relate to an earlier period: 11/19/2021 – 12/19/2021.
From these considerations it is possible to assume an increase in the next few weeks in the percentage of beds in intensive care units occupied by individuals who have received at least one dose of the vaccine. At that point it is possible to reach a more coherent situation like the English one (which in fact refers to the same time interval for the evaluation of positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths).
Will we witness the collapse of the last piece of this narrative in a few weeks? Or will this not happen, apparently confirming the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing severe disease without strangely having the same ability to reduce the risk of death?
Drawing conclusions from Italian data, when present, is an increasingly difficult undertaking.
But it is also through these that the executive imposes ever more restrictive measures every day.
By Filippo Della Santa, ComeDonChisciotte.org