by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
This week’s NC Threat-Free Index included the following findings:
I began compiling these statistics after the state Department of Health and Humans Services (DHHS) started reporting data on reinfections and post-vaccination infections. In October 2021, DHHS began to identify reinfections among its daily case counts. DHHS’ weekly counts of post-vaccination infections lag by a few weeks, but the two data counts overlap sufficiently now to produce the graph below.
It shows how four weeks’ worth of lab-confirmed Covid-19 infections break down according to three categories: reinfections, post-vaccination cases, and cases to unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated individuals. These data basically cover the month of October.
Here are the raw numbers behind the graph:
The low infection rates to people with vaccine-induced immunity (1.7%) and with natural immunity (0.8%) are still big takeaways from these data. But it is very important to stress the overall strength of natural immunity from prior infection, which is the stronger, more durable and long-lasting form of immunity as backed by over a hundred studies (128 studies as of this writing).
Immune protection by these individuals, though “unvaccinated,” is indeed significantly greater — even while their jobs, education, access to government services, ability to travel, and ability to dine, etc. are threatened by Pres. Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate and similar bans. Enforcement of Biden’s mandate has been stayed and suspended pending court review. Regardless, it should be patently obvious the idea is not only terrible, but also self-defeating. Furthermore, given the difficulties in predetermining who has natural immunity, such a mandate even under its own merits would cause far more harm than good.
Because of how the “unvaccinated” are defined bureaucratically as opposed to plain speaking, the category of “unvaccinated” must be properly stated “unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated individuals.” Taking cues from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DHHS defines someone as “unvaccinated” if the person has received only one of two injections or if the person is within two weeks of receiving the second injection.
What that means is that some unknown proportion of cases has occurred to people in definitional limbo somewhere between the first injection and 13 days after receiving the second one. Precision requires they be at least acknowledged.
Another problem looms for the definition of “fully vaccinated individuals”: it is changeable. Everyone considered “fully vaccinated” right now, having received two shots of Pfizer/Moderna or one shot from Johnson & Johnson (Janssen), could well be pronounced “unvaccinated” soon by the CDC (and therefore DHHS) if bureaucrats decide to pronounce a booster shot is necessary.
For example, the CDC’s definition on May 28 of “fully vaccinated” was the following: “A person is considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 ≥2 weeks after receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) or ≥2 weeks after receipt of the single dose of the Janssen vaccine.”
By October, the CDC’s definition had added the following proviso: “Administration of an [sic] or a booster dose is not required to be considered fully vaccinated for public health purposes” (emphasis added). Not long afterward, the CDC amended that proviso to where it presently stands: “Administration of an additional primary dose or a booster dose is not required to be considered fully vaccinated for public health purposes at this time” (emphasis added).
Just last week, on Nov. 9, the CDC’s Twitter account answered “Yes” in response to the question “Am I still considered ‘fully vaccinated’ if I don’t get a COVID-19 booster shot?” This week, however, CNN reported that “The definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ is changing to three Covid-19 doses.” Also this week Dr. Anthony Fauci argued that receiving a “third-shot booster … should be part of the actual standard regimen.”
Of course, such a redefinition would strongly imply an ongoing series of redefinitions to push an untold, expanding number of boosters. The CDC is no stranger to redefinition, having already redefined “vaccine” and “vaccination” recently.
A vaccine was previously defined as “A product that stimulates a person’s immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease, protecting the person from that disease” (emphasis added). Currently it is merely “A preparation that is used to stimulate the body’s immune response against diseases” (emphasis added).
Vaccination was previously defined as “The act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease,” but currently it is simply “The act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce protection from a specific disease” (emphasis added).