15-07-21 11:13:00, Delta variant covid deaths in Russia (low vaccination rate) vs. UK and Portugal (high vaccination rate) (OWD) Actual Russian covid deaths are about four times higher than the official figures shown above.
Are covid vaccines “failing”? Well, not really.
In a recent article, US author and independent covid analyst, Alex Berenson, argued that covid vaccines are failing and have already lost much of their effectiveness. He arrives at this conclusion because of the strong increase in covid infections and the increase in hospitalizations in multiple countries hit by the Indian coronavirus variant. Nevertheless, his analysis is not correct.
The neutralizing antibody response and the effectiveness of vaccines against the original coronavirus variants (the Wuhan and British variants, in particular) remain as high as ever. In other words, the vaccines have not lost their original effectiveness, as determined by trials, at all.
It is important to recall that vaccine trials were not designed to measure effectiveness against “covid infections” (as Berenson writes in his article), but against “symptomatic covid”. Real-world evidence later showed that covid vaccines were also very effective against severe disease and death.
This was best illustrated not by countries that vaccinated into the winter wave (like Israel and the UK), as the decrease of the winter wave in January and February was primarily seasonal (indeed, it occurred simultaneously in countries with a very low vaccination rate, like South Africa).
Instead, it was best illustrated by European countries that had already vaccinated their senior citizens when the British variant hit them in spring (April/May). In these countries, hospitalizations and deaths remained much lower despite infection rates as high as in winter (see chart below).
In June and July, the Indian variant (Delta) started to hit European countries and drive infections up again: first in the UK, Russia and Portugal, and then in other European countries and the USA. Due to several key mutations in the spike protein, the Indian variant achieves partial immune escape and therefore lowers vaccine effectiveness somewhat (as do the Brazilian and South African variants).