mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Reduce Illness Severity in Breakthrough Cases: Study

By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Reporter
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'
July 1, 2021 Updated: July 7, 2021

A new study shows that people vaccinated with messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines who then contract COVID-19 are likely to have a lower viral load, milder symptoms, and a quicker recovery rate than their unvaccinated counterparts.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on June 30, tracked 3,975 individuals to examine the effectiveness of two mRNA vaccines—the one by Moderna, and the one by Pfizer-BioNTech. Researchers sought to gauge the performance of the two-dose vaccines in preventing infection with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the disease COVID-19, and in reducing the impact of the illness on those who did become infected.

The findings, which were based on data from two ongoing studies—one led by University of Arizona Health Sciences researchers and the other by Abt Associates—saw just five fully vaccinated and 11 partially vaccinated individuals develop COVID-19 infections, compared to 156 individuals who were unvaccinated.

The researchers also found that study participants who were fully or partially vaccinated had a viral load that was 40 percent lower than that of unvaccinated individuals.

“If you get vaccinated, about 90 percent of the time you’re not going to get COVID-19,” said Dr. Jeff Burgess, associate dean for research and professor at Arizona University’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, in a statement. “Even if you do get it, there will be less of the virus in you and your illness is likely to be much milder.”

For people who were vaccinated, the risk of self-reported fevers was 58 percent lower, they spent 2.3 fewer days sick in bed, and the overall length of illness was six days shorter relative to those who were unvaccinated.

The study also found that the majority of infections in vaccinated individuals were detected for one week, compared to two or more weeks in the case of those who weren’t vaccinated.

“It’s heartening to see that vaccines operating in the real world can effectively prevent the vast majority of COVID-19 infections—and, moreover, can moderate the impact of those ‘breakthrough’ infections when they do occur,” said Lauren Olsho, the Abt Associates principal investigator on the study, in a statement.

Overall, the study concluded that two doses of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were 91 percent effective against infection from the CCP virus, while a single dose was 81 percent effective.

While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed Moderna’s and Pfizer-BioNTech’s mRNA COVID-19 vaccines safe and effective and authorized them for emergency use during the pandemic, the agency recently added a warning to information on these vaccines about the risk of developing heart inflammation.

Signage is seen outside of FDA headquarters in White Oak, Maryland
A sign is seen outside of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) headquarters in White Oak, Md., on Aug. 29, 2020. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

Health officials have said that the risks of developing heart inflammation are outweighed by the vaccine’s benefits.

“The risk of myocarditis and pericarditis appears to be very low given the number of vaccine doses that have been administered,” Janet Woodcock, the acting FDA commissioner, said in a statement. “The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination continue to outweigh the risks, given the risk of COVID-19 diseases and related, potentially severe, complications.”

Dr. Robert Malone, who identifies himself as the inventor of mRNA vaccines, told The Epoch Times’ “The Nation Speaks” program in a June 26 interview that reports of heart inflammation among people who have been vaccinated with the mRNA vaccines shift the risk-benefit ratio, especially for those under 18 years of age who are at low risk of contracting COVID-19 and, if they do, are unlikely to experience severe complications.

“Vaccines save lives. These vaccines have saved lives,” Malone said. However, he noted that, when it comes to children, he doesn’t believe the use of the vaccines outweighs the risks.

In a separate interview on Fox News, Malone said, “I can say that the risk-benefit ratio for those 18 and below doesn’t justify vaccines, and there’s a pretty good chance that it doesn’t justify vaccination in these very young adults.”

One example of such risk is the story of a 13-year-old Ohio girl experiencing a severe reaction after receiving the second dose of an mRNA vaccine, which was presented at a press conference hosted by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) on June 28. Stephanie de Garay, the girl’s mother, described her daughter’s symptoms, including loss of feeling below the waist and inability to walk, fainting or seizing multiple times per day, and requiring a feeding tube after losing the ability to swallow food and liquids.

“All these symptoms are still here today. Some days are worse than others,” she said.

Meiling Lee contributed to this report.

Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Reporter
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'