Do you know the difference between "protection against disease" and "protection against infection"? This is a fine but important delineation that isn't discussed enough. PLEASE take a moment to understand.
If you are infected with SARS-CoV-2, you might develop the actual disease and get sick. Or you might not. Experts have been debating for months if you are contagious if you are infected, but don't have symptoms, and how that should determine policy.
Let's set aside that debate for a moment and talk about vaccine development, and how it relates to disease and infection. We have been waiting on a vaccine to nip this pandemic in the bud, make us feel safe about being with people, not infecting Grandma, etc. But, is that how vaccines work? The answer is muddy.
History is useful here. The whole-cell pertussis vaccine (whooping cough) aimed at limiting disease and infection, but was so controversial in adverse reactions, that it was removed from the U.S. market and replaced with the Acellular form of the vaccine. (The controversy with whole-cell pertussis vaccine is part of the reason we have the liability-free immunization schedule in the U.S. today.)
(Side note: Thankfully, we had developing countries we could continue to ship the whole-cellular form to, thus allowing us to still make a profit on this vaccine. Because it's okay to provide cheaper but dangerous products to poor brown foreign people, as long as Americans can have a safer product. Incidentally, the polio vaccine has a similar dark history.)
But back to the point. The Acellular pertussis vaccine is acknowledged to be safer, but had the inconvenient and mysterious effect of not seeming to lower overall disease rates nearly as effectively as anticipated. People were vaccinating for pertussis well past targeted rates by the CDC, but pertussis actually had resurgence after resurgence. Why?
Well, then the CDC did a little study on baboons. And realized that there was good evidence that the pertussis vaccine prevented disease in recipients, but not infection in others. In fact, "preventing disease" can even mean mitigation but not eradication of normal whooping cough symptoms, which would mean a person can walk around for days with what they think is a mild cold, and because they have no idea they actually have a mitigated form of whooping cough, they are MORE likely potentially to spread the disease, because they have no clue they have a serious infection and don't follow basic measures of containment.
And now we have this article by Scientific American, on development of a coronavirus vaccine. Some telling quotes from this article:
"Covid-19 is already thought to be spread by people without symptoms, and a symptom-preventing vaccine may create even greater numbers of them."
“That vaccine doesn’t look like it’s a knockout for protecting against infection, but it might be really very good at protecting against disease,” Fauci told the medical news website Stat.
"The vaccine will be a success whether it heads off infections or severe symptoms," AstraZeneca Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot said in a BBC interview.
"Fauci’s NIAID is partnered with Moderna Inc. on a Covid vaccine test whose primary goal is to show their vaccine prevents people from developing symptoms, the company said June 11. Preventing infections is a secondary goal."
I encourage you to read the whole article and keep ALL the facts in mind, when mandates become the new hot topic, with the premise of "saving Grandma." You just might mitigate your own symptoms with the vaccine, visit Grandma, and pass the infection on to her. We need to be armed with MORE facts, not fewer, as this debate will take center ring very soon.
We are about to see a lot of complacent adults who were just fine and dandy with mandating child vaccines suddenly become VERY concerned about their own freedoms being infringed upon, at the thought of mandating adult vaccines. It's going to be an interesting drama to watch. I recommend keeping your legislators on speed dial. And vote in November, as if your freedom depends on it. Because it does.