Dr. Fauci: Covid shots are less effective against new variant – it's 'a wake up call'

Originally published at: Dr. Fauci: Covid shots are less effective against new variant – it's 'a wake up call' | Boing Boing


One reason I trust Fauci is that he’s constantly telling us things we don’t want to hear.

So yaaaay/we’re screwed, I guess.


No, just forewarned. Time to double-mask! It’ll probably be a while before I get vaccinated (still isolating and distancing).


We’re alwaaaays a year aaawaaaaay.


The positive is we have vaccines now. Changing them for new variants is less work than creating a new one from nothing, so we should be able to get a new vaccine relatively quickly.

At least I think that’s how other vaccines work. I know there are people on the BBS who know more about this than I do, so please correct me if I’m wrong.


This is the wake up call? Oh, Tony, you are so innocent. If overflowing morgues and death toll in the hundreds of thousands have not awakened us, I despair of this doing it. My experience is that even having it hit very close to home, or in the home, is insufficient for the seriously committed. We need to be prepared to hunker down and do what we can to take care of each other. This will pass, seriously, it will, but it will not pass quickly and the price has not even begun to mount up yet. Maybe the new administration can offer some help, but so much is reliant on individual responsibility. So let’s be responsible, eh?


IANAE(pidemiogist), but as I understand it, this is one of the major benefits of mRNA vaccines.


It helps to have an administration that accurately conveys what “responsible behavior” looks like.


This depends on the delivery system. The mRNA vaccines can be modified pretty easily, some of the others not so much. None can really be redone on the fly, (hence the occasional really bad misses on flu shots when the virus shifts after the vaccine is in production) and will require boosters for each modification. Prepare for annual or semi-annual covid vaccines just as we do for influenza.


Will this be predictive, like with flu shots? I.e., some years we get it right, some years not.

Will we always be behind the curve?


The thing with mRNA vaccines is that the lead time can be very short. Flu vaccines traditionally have been made the old fashioned way that needed literally months. In principle mRNA technology will improve flu vaccines as well making them much more accurate because they won’t have to be planned the previous summer.


I agree!! I’ve seen several doctors on CNN (including one infectious disease doc in L.A.) advocate double-masking. The CDC, in a town hall Wednesday evening, still hasn’t pushed this because they just want everyone to mask up with at least one. I wonder if the CDC will be changing their advice now?


The negative is that it’s looking like those existing vaccines aren’t sufficient to provide herd immunity even for the variants they were designed for. The 90-odd percent protection provided by the vaccines is only for young people, they’re less effective the older you are. Given how transmissible the virus is, we need an extremely high percentage of the population to be immune to get it to stop spreading. In between the sub-90% effectiveness of the vaccine in many people, and the unfortunately large number of people who seem like they’re going to refuse to get a vaccine entirely, we can’t hit the required immunity numbers. New variants against which the vaccines are less effective, and that we don’t know how long the vaccines are effective, makes everything worse. If everyone wore masks, that would be a huge help, but the fucking Republicans made sure that’s not going to happen…

The problem is: making the vaccine itself takes no time at all. Literally within a day or two after the genome of the virus was published, they had designed the vaccine. It’s the testing, production and distribution that takes time.


I also wonder what possibilities there are for mRNA to be more broadly targeting. As I understand it, the flu vaccine is based on variants they believe will be dominant that season and since it’s a traditional vaccine, really only works by suppressing that variant. Is mRNA capable of being applied to entire classes of viruses? Or even just a genotype and its descendants?


“I won’t believe it unless somebody in my family dies”

somebody in his family dies

“I won’t believe it unless multiple people in my family die”

more people in his family die

“Liberals did this to us”


They had to go through all the regulatory hoops this time because mRNA is a new technology. This won’t be the case in the future. For example, traditional flu vaccines don’t go through clinical trials every year because everyone understands that they work and are safe.

At least for the time being I see the advantage of mRNA flu vaccines not for creating a “universal” flu vaccine (although maybe in the future), but by making the vaccine closer to the flu season, the chances of picking the wrong variant (which happens) will be smaller.


Sorry, that was unclear. I was specifically talking about adapting them for further Coronavirus variants.

In either case, they’re a huge win for humanity.


But then you have roughly 70 million people in the US committed to doing exactly the opposite out of spite.

with today’s numbers passing 25.5 million infected (over 1 million just in the last week), and >400k dead, I have no idea just how bad it’s going to have to get to wake people up (if they ever can).

But on the plus side, you can get industrial (non-medical) non-valved N95’s (US company) from Grainger…


That’s theoretically true for the mRNA vaccines like Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. Not for the inactivated virus type traditional vaccines. Those would be starting over from scratch.


Simple answer, at least for now, is that it will be reactive. We have no way to predict the next concerning mutation, so yeah, we will be behind the curve for the foreseeable future. Sorry.