“One of the misunderstandings that people have about the COVID vaccine, and there’s lots of reasons why they are confused – they think that if you’re vaccinated, you won’t get the virus,” said Peter Pitts, Former FDA Associate Commissioner and president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.
While that’s true for many people, he explained, the vaccine doesn’t provide complete protection from infection.
“Especially when we have a mutation that’s highly infectious,’ Pitts said. “It [vaccination] mitigates the symptoms.”
He added that with currently available vaccines, the mitigation of serious symptoms and hospitalizations is “extremely robust, as witnessed by high infection, low hospitalization.”
“The reality is that the vaccines as they currently exist are extremely effective at accomplishing their mission of keeping people out of the hospital and dying,” confirmed Pitts.
Pitts said it is expected that vaccine efficacy will drop over time. This may partly be due to waning antibodies, but this study did not measure antibody levels.
Pitts explained that this research proved a hypothesis that vaccine protection wanes over time, and the vaccine provides greater protection against some variants than others.
“But it’s still effective,” he said. “It isn’t necessarily less effective.”
He compared it to needing 20 dollars to buy an item when you already have 40 dollars.
“And then the price goes up to 25 dollars; you still have enough money to pay for it,” said Pitts. “So the big question is; what is robust enough?”
“This study does not answer that question,” he continued. “Because we don’t necessarily know how to properly create those studies.”