She expressed concern for fellow healthcare workers, who were largely vaccinated before the general public.
As the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus sweeps the United States, a concerned doctor's viral Twitter thread sheds light on how much further we still have to go until the pandemic finally becomes a thing of the past. Dr. Gaby Sauza—a pediatric resident who was vaccinated early in the rollout—revealed in a cautionary tweet over the weekend that she tested positive for COVID-19 last week despite being fully vaccinated. The Seattle doctor explained that she and her friends (who have also been vaccinated against the vaccine) had been to an outdoor wedding where guests had to show proof of vaccination.
Opinion: “I’m a breakthrough covid case. This is why everyone should get the vaccine.” https://t.co/zc7dDdUxK7— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 19, 2021
"I tested positive for COVID this week, along with 9 of 12 fully vaxxed [sic] friends (among others), days after we attended an outdoor wedding (that required proof of vaccination) in 1 of the lowest-risk states in the country," Sauza tweeted. "Thankful for protection against bad outcomes but YALL- [the] uncontrolled spread of the more transmissible delta variant means that even relatively uncommon events are going to happen in significant numbers." She added that she was particularly concerned about healthcare workers, who were largely vaccinated before the general public, since they might be at greater risk now.
Vaccine efficacy measures the relative reduction in infection/disease for the vaccinated vs unvaccinated arm. For instance, a vaccine that eliminates all risk would have an efficacy of 100%. Efficacy of 50% means you have a 50% reduced risk compared to an unvaxxed person. (2/n) pic.twitter.com/UB9hzSmLGJ— Muge Cevik (@mugecevik) August 24, 2021
Vaccines are designed to protect symptomatic illness; therefore, the vaccine effectiveness (VE) is often referred to as the performance against this primary endpoint. But some studies also report VE against hospitalisation and infection, which I will report separately. (4/n)— Muge Cevik (@mugecevik) August 24, 2021
"I'm worried about its potential to wipe out ranks of [health care workers], many of us vaxxed [over] 7 months ago, [which means they have] waned immunity relative to much of the public," Sauza tweeted. "It's depressing, but we need to change behaviors in response to the mounting data showing that delta presents a new level of risk. I understand why the focus is on vaccination (as it should be to prevent hospitalizations & deaths & eventually reach herd immunity ) but when it comes to getting and spreading COVID, that is unfortunately now only part of the equation. P.S. Very symptomatic. You don't want it."
While the modest decline in effectiveness against infection causes some concern, as discussed, VE for infection is a dynamic figure & changes over time. Therefore, it is inaccurate to reference a single percentage & imply a massive reduction against infection due to delta. (21/n)— Muge Cevik (@mugecevik) August 24, 2021
It is essential to remember vaccines do not work to bounce incoming virus particles off you. And even if infected, vaccines continue to provide significant protection against symptomatic illness and hospitalisations. END https://t.co/oREMIuFL6I— Muge Cevik (@mugecevik) August 24, 2021
Responding to comments about whether the wedding guests had been wearing masks, Sauza admitted that they hadn't. "My rapid antigen test was +ve at the onset of symptoms, confirmed by PCR. Several friends had false-negative rapids, which became +ve days later. Used appropriately, rapid tests may be another useful tool to mitigate risk," she wrote. Sauza made her stance on vaccinations clearer in another tweet, which states: "For the record, the intent of this thread was not to call this vaccine (or others) into question. 'Never have I ever' seen diphtheria, epiglottitis, or polio, and I love that for us."
It is clear that breakthrough infections are increasing, but studies show hospitalizations remain stable, an indication the vaccines continue to hold up against severe illness https://t.co/QNs8r44JpO— Austin Statesman (@statesman) August 19, 2021
Although Sauza's now-viral thread is rather unsettling, it is not to be considered proof that COVID-19 vaccines are ineffective. According to The New York Times, although "breakthrough" infections among vaccinated people have been reported across the country in recent weeks, they have been relatively rare. An analysis of data from 40 states and Washington, D.C., shows that fully vaccinated individuals have made up only 0.1 percent of and as many as 5 percent of those hospitalized with the virus in those states. Meanwhile, as few as 0.2 percent and as many as 6 percent of those who have died.
"It's up to us," says Dr. Anthony Fauci of the effort to control the Covid virus.— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) August 24, 2021
"If we keep lingering without getting those people vaccinated that should be vaccinated, this thing could linger on, leading to the development of another variant which could complicate things." pic.twitter.com/pIQv3ilAom
"If we can get through this winter and get, really, the majority—the overwhelming majority—of the 90 million people who have not been vaccinated, I hope we can start to get some good control in the spring of 2022," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading expert in infectious disease, said during a Monday appearance with CNN's Anderson Cooper. "To me, that means that you have the overwhelming majority of the population vaccinated. Those who have been infected and have cleared the virus will have a degree of protection, and we're recommending that those people also get vaccinated because the degree of protection that you can induce in someone who's been infected who has then recovered and then vaccinated is an enormous increase in the degree of protection. If we can do that… I think we can get a degree of overall blanket protection of the community that as we get into the early part of 2022…"