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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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The effects of vaccination are waning

3 September 2021

There is some bad news this morning.

Despite Israel being one of the most highly vaccinated countries in the world, it is now considered "the world's Covid hotspot" (albeit by proclamation of the Daily Mail).

It seems that the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine, the one that Kiwis are getting right now, is waning in the face of the Delta strain of CV19.

Has NZ backed the wrong horse in the vaccine stakes or was it simply inevitable that the virus would evolve around any and all attempts to vaccinate it into oblivion?

If the claims are true and the Pfizer vaccine is becoming far less effective at stopping the spread of the virus, what lies ahead for New Zealand?

Also of concern must be the way that those who were vaccinated early because they were determined to be most vulnerable may actually have the least benefit from the vaccine due to the short inter-dose period decided on by NZ's health officials.

Overseas studies had found that spacing the two doses of vaccine at least eight weeks apart produced a markedly higher immune response to the virus than when they were administered at a three-week interval, as NZ was doing.

It's starting to look as if those in the first group of Kiwis to receive the vaccine may need to be lining up for booster shots by Christmas, if we are to ensure that their immunity remains high enough to weather the eventual opening of our borders and their exposure to the virus.

However, there's also the issue of the effect that breakthrough cases will have and the potential for future mutations to sidestep the vaccine's protections. Just recently a case of one such variant was stopped at the border and there are indicators that the same mutation is becoming more widespread in places such as South America.

Just like going for that first swim of the year, when you know the water is going to be super-cold and not all that pleasant, we're going to eventually have to steel ourselves to the task and take the plunge by getting back to normal despite community spread of the disease. Before we do that however, it will be important to make sure that the most vulnerable do have as much protection by way of *effective* vaccination as we can offer them.

Another issue worth raising this morning are the actions of some dick-head who broke out of MIQ so he cold go home to his family. The guy has tested positive for CV19 so his actions really should be dealt with for what it was... reckless endangerment. Rather than just give him a slap on the wrist so as to "be kind", he should have his arse kicked straight into prison for at least six months.

Or am I wrong? Perhaps Jacinda will send him a fruit basket and a book voucher instead.

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