Here's How You Can Catch BA.2 Variant Even If You're Vaccinated
COVID vaccines have been among the greatest innovations in medical history. Nevertheless, daily average of the cases globally still exceeds 700,000 due to the vast nature of the pandemic. Many cases occur in individuals who have had one or more of the approved COVID vaccines. Here are some of the reasons why these cases still occur. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Relying on Inferior Vaccines
Over 200 vaccines for COVID-19 have been in development. Very few of these vaccines have been approved by the WHO, EU, or the FDA. Even among approved vaccines, some have far less efficacy than the others. Many vaccines do not have documented longer-term data which may show even more glaring gaps in quality. As the pandemic continues, we can expect more infections due to vaccine discrepancies.
Not Considering if They Have a Compromised Immune System
Vaccines work best when the individual has an intact immune system. In many people with inferior immune systems, the production of antibodies, T- and B-cells. These diseases include primary immune disorders, lupus, diabetes, and Crohn's disease. Many other individuals with primary lung diseases, asthma, cardiac disease, and morbid obesity are also at risk for complications from COVID. Additionally, medications that adversely affect the immune system like chemotherapy, steroids, and anti-rejection medications can also fail to produce sufficient antibodies after vaccination.
Not Getting Boosters
Many studies have shown that even strong vaccines will have decreased antibody levels over time. These levels start decreasing within months and can leave the individuals susceptible to COVID-19 infection. This situation may be even more exaggerated in elderly people. Boosters can increase antibody levels but may need repeat injections to maintain sufficient antibody protection.
Not Monitoring High-Risk Areas for COVID
The CDC currently monitors all counties for COVID rates using demographic data and wastewater sewage analysis. Individuals can see if their area has higher rates of COVID and manage themselves accordingly. Knowing this information can give crucial information on what areas to avoid and how to decrease their risk of being exposed. Areas with crowding such as bars, nightclubs, and busy airline terminals are also be visited with caution.
Not Masking in High-Risk Situations
Despite having adequate vaccinations and an intact immune system, individuals can still acquire infection with COVID-19. Generally, full vaccination with two initial jabs and a subsequent booster will result in enough immune protection for infected individuals that hospitalization and death will be prevented. Travel, exposures at superspreader events, and having school-age children can contribute to many of these infections. Masking in high-risk situations can diminish risk of becoming infected.
New Variants Are More Contagious
Several notable variants have emerged since the beginning of the pandemic. Unfortunately, new variants of COVID-19 should continue to develop every few months unless all countries improve their low vaccination rates. Variants are important because they are often more contagious than previous iterations of the virus. They are also important to consider because they may be resistant to established vaccines and contribute to large volume outbreaks.
How You Can Protect Yourself
The best to be protected from the BA.2 variants and its new subtype, BA.2.12, is to be up to date on vaccinations and boosters. Even though these vaccines are not themselves designed to target this variant, the presence of sufficient antibody numbers can be protect and prevent death or hospitalization. Additionally, individuals should get surveillance testing in high-risk areas or in preparation for crowded events.
Final Word From Doctor
Newer vaccines will help protect against variants. As evidenced by the onslaught of Omicron cases in vaccinated individuals, variants of the original virus can evade antibodies. To combat this, vaccine makers are trying to create new vaccines that will be more broadly effective. One of these vaccines will use nanoparticle technology and will attack a less mutated portion of the coronavirus. Another technique uses multivalent vaccines that will contain segments of each new variant. Unfortunately, both these methods are still being developed and are not currently available. And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.
Dr. Soumi Eachempati is a former Professor of Surgery and Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College where he worked from 1998-2017. Among his many accolades, Dr. Eachempati was also the Director of both the Surgical ICU as well as Trauma at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Center. He also received an appointment in the Division of Public Health. Dr. Eachempati is a Co-Founder and CEO of Cleared4Work.