BREAKTHROUGH COVID CASES: The Dark Secret About COVID Vaccine Effectiveness

Yup, COVID cases are going up — thank you Delta variant.  Worse yet, the Delta variant is causing increasing numbers of breakthrough case clusters, in which groups of vaccinated people are transmitting the disease to other vaccinated people — oftentimes, loved ones.

A breakthrough case occurs when a vaccinated person comes down with COVID.  Health authorities assure us that such cases are extremely rare.  The truth is a lot more complicated.  In fact, a lot more vaccinated people become ill with COVID than you’d imagine.  We may never know precisely how many vaccinated Americans will be sick with COVID, because federal and local governments are not tracking the vast majority of breakthrough cases — only those that result in hospitalization. But the threat is very real and very dangerous.   And here’s what you need to do:

If you’ve been vaccinated and you begin feeling a cold or flu coming on, there’s a very good likelihood that you actually have COVID and you may well have already become contagious.  Immediately isolate and then get tested.  Health officials need to know who and how many people have become breakthrough cases!

Editor’s note:  for any reader who is looking for facts to support not getting a COVID vaccine, you need not read any further.  This article explains why getting vaccinated is absolutely essential.  Literally, it is a no-brainer decision, because the SARS-cov-2 Delta variant virus that is currently sweeping the country is far more contagious and dangerous than any variant we’ve seen since we were first invaded by this particular deadly coronavirus.   The key take-away point is that even if you get vaccinated, you may end up getting COVID and inadvertently transmitting the SARS-cov-2 virus to others.  But you definitely need to get vaccinated now, more than ever.

Are Breakthrough Cases Really All That Rare?

We are seeing that they are not rare in the Delta variant world.  Anecdotally, reports of entire clusters of vaccinated people getting COVID are becoming more common.   Just recently, 8 vaccinated healthcare workers all got COVID after attending a pool party in Las Vegas7 of 12 vaccinated party-goers in Oklahoma also came down with COVID. Similar stories are coming out of Massachusetts and California.  NBCChicago has been especially attentive to breakthrough cases, with a large number of stories about vaccinated COVID victims.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on July 16th,  he believes the U.S. is significantly undercounting the number of Covid delta infections, making it difficult to know whether the highly transmissible strain is causing higher-than-expected hospitalization and death rates. “We don’t know what the denominator is right now,” Gottlieb said in an interview on “Squawk Box.” “I think we’re vastly underestimating the level of delta spread right now because I think people who are vaccinated, who might develop some mild symptoms or might develop a breakthrough case, by and large are not going out and getting tested. If you’ve been vaccinated and you develop a mild cold right now, you don’t think you have Covid.”

But no one really knows the number of breakthrough cases in the U.S. because the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and all state and county governments are not collecting data on breakthrough cases that do not end up being hospitalized.  That’s right — the CDC states on its website that “As of May 1, 2021, CDC transitioned from monitoring all reported vaccine breakthrough cases to focus on identifying and investigating only hospitalized or fatal cases due to any cause.”   And many of these people are not even bothering to get tested (I’ve seen that first-hand in a few cases).

What is really concerning is that entire groups of vaccinated people are coming down with symptoms and that, based upon the advertised 80%-90% efficacy rates, shouldn’t be happening.  Our concern with clusters of breakthrough cases is that the vaccines’ effectiveness doesn’t appear to pertain to the Delta variant.

Symptoms of Delta Variant COVID for Vaccinated Persons

If you’ve been vaccinated with either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines and you have the following symptoms, it is likely that you have COVID.  According to a recent Massachusetts Hospital study, you should get tested immediately if you experience:

  1. Headache
  2. Runny Nose
  3. Sneezing
  4. Sore throat
  5. Loss of smell

If you’ve been vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, the news might be worse for you.   A July 19th study posted online (but not peer reviewed) suggests that the J&J shot is not effective against the Delta or Lambda variants.  While Johnson & Johnson claims their shot is effective, this recent study corresponds to the effectiveness single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine — which has a similar architecture to the J.&J. vaccine — where about 33 percent  of the inocculated persons were found to be immune to the Delta variant.

More is Being Discovered About Long-Haul COVID Syndrome…..and it’s Not Good

Compounding the problem caused by breakthrough cases is that an estimated 20-30% of people who are infected with COVID will likely experience long-haul COVID symptoms…..and there’s no compelling evidence that people who have been vaccinated are somehow protected against Long-Haul COVID.   That’s right — if you are vaccinated and you get a mild case or even have no symptoms at all, you can still fall victim to what is being called Long COVID.

This condition called COVID-19 syndrome or “long COVID.” These unfortunate people seem to recover from COVID and then begin to experience insomnia, brain fog, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, tinnitus and shortness of breath and a multitude of other illnesses.   Primarily, scientists are finding that COVID affects a multitude of organ systems.   So COVID survivors are now displaying brain, heart, liver, kidney, lung and vascular ailments, long past their recovery from COVID itself.  As noted in a Harvard Medical School blog post, some people who recover from COVID-19 are left with clear damage to their lungs, heart, kidney, or brain that may never be reversed.   Two studies released in July indicate that large numbers of COVID patients suffer severe and possibly irreversible brain damage that is comparable to Alzheimers.

Studies that monitored COVID-19 patients 21 days after their diagnosis and 60 days after discharge showed that some 50% to 80% of patients continued to not feel well up to three months after they first were diagnosed, months after tests no longer detect a live virus in their bodies.  A recent Swiss study suggests about after six to eight months, 26% of COVID patients reported not having fully recovered.   On July 22nd, a top story in the NY Times warned that ” there is concern among scientists that a few vaccinated people who become infected may go on to develop long Covid”

This syndrome can be intensely painful and hard to diagnose.  One of the most common mental health effects and challenges has been chronic fatigue, depression and anxiety, making it literally impossible for people to work, or even function.  Many Long-COVID suffers have turned to suicide, as the only relief from this unrelenting syndrome.

Most importantly, this syndrome is not limited to the unvaccinated.  There’s no evidence that suggests that vaccinated COVID cases — even ones who have no symptoms at all — are immune from Long COVID’s ravages.  Scientists are learning more each day about this condition and none of the news is good.

Our Bottom Line

We are recommending that while the Delta variant rages, all Americans need to consider returning to the stringent precautions from 2020 earlier this year.  The vaccines may be reducing hospitalizations they are not protecting 80% of vaccine recipients from getting the virus and becoming subject to Long-COVID syndrome.  Wearing masks indoors and physical distancing is essential in protecting from breakthrough cases and possible Long-COVID.   And, if you have been vaccinated and feel symptoms of an illness, you must immediately isolate and get tested.   Your life and those of your friends, co-workers and loved ones may well depend upon it.
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