In Maine, Vaccine Mandate for EMTs Stresses Small-Town Ambulance Crews

Yves here. We’ve been saying that vaccine-only mandates are misguided. While it is seldom stated implicitly, they embody the false view that vaccines protect others from infection. They were never tested for that in clinical trials; they were measuredly solely on impact on severe cases and deaths. Without regular, large-scale testing, there is no way to know what impact the vaccines have on preventing infections, particularly asymptomatic infections.

A fresh, admittedly only mid-sized study, suggests that vaccination status has no impact on the viral load of Covid patients, both symptomatic and asymptomatic. The layperson summary from its website:

A new study from the University of California, Davis, Genome Center, UC San Francisco and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub shows no significant difference in viral load between vaccinated and unvaccinated people who tested positive for the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2. It also found no significant difference between infected people with or without symptoms.

The findings underscore the continuing need for masking and regular testing alongside vaccination, especially in areas of high prevalence, the authors wrote.

The article stresses that viral load doesn’t fully measure infectiousness (duration of exposure is another important variable), nor did the study measure how prone the vaccinated are to getting asymptomatic or mild cases. Data from Israel’s Health Ministry in early July showed Covid cases, even when stratified by age, were proportional among the vaccinated versus non-vaccinated. Israel had vaccinated most of its citizens with the Pfizer vaccine in January and February, so at a minimum, this data indicated that protection against infection (versus bad outcomes) was gone by then. Surges in very highly vaccinated countries like Ireland and Singapore also suggest that vaccination offers at best limited protection against Delta spread, as opposed to bad outcomes.

Thus very frequent testing and isolation should be one of the top, if not the top, measure in multi-layered approach to limit Covid contagion. Instead, as we have warned, heavy-handed vaccine-only mandates are endangering more lives than they are likely to save (remember they are being billed as benefitting co-workers and patients/customers, not the jab recipient). The health care industry is already under tremendous stress due to staff at all levels, but particularly critical and often not well paid front line workers (nurses, aides, cleaning staff) quitting due to burnout and not being paid enough in relationship to Covid-increased demands and risks. We’ve pointed out that hospitals suffer from reduced capacity due to resignations and retirements. The nursing home industry was chronically short staffed before Covid.

In organizations already struggling to function adequately, it doesn’t take many employees leaving to push them into service failures that cost lives. As the article below shows, even in a state like Maine with high overall vaccination levels (over 70% fully vaccinated), there are enough EMTs refusing vaccinations and getting turfed out as a result to put those who remain in an impossible bind: either work insane hours or not answer calls quickly enough. And that’s before getting to the risk of some of these EMT teams imploding, as the remaining overloaded staffers quit out of being unable to perform well with too few hands.

By Patty Wight, Maine Public Radio. Produced by Maine Public Radio, NPR and KHN

In between answering 911 calls, Jerrad Dinsmore (left) and Kevin LeCaptain perform a wellness check at the home of a woman in her 90s. The ambulance team in Waldoboro, Maine, was already short-staffed — then a member quit because the state mandated covid vaccines for health care workers. (PATTY WIGHT / MAINE PUBLIC RADIO)

On a recent morning, Jerrad Dinsmore and Kevin LeCaptain of Waldoboro EMS in rural Maine drove their ambulance to a secluded house near the ocean, to measure the clotting levels of a woman in her 90s.

They told the woman, bundled under blankets to keep warm, they would contact her doctor with the result.

“Is there anything else we can do?” Dinsmore asked.

“No,” she said. “I’m all set.”

This wellness check, which took about 10 minutes, is one of the duties Dinsmore and LeCaptain perform in addition to the emergency calls they respond to as staffers with Waldoboro Emergency Medical Service.

EMS crews have been busier than ever this year, as people who delayed getting care during the covid-19 pandemic have grown progressively sicker.

But there’s limited workforce to meet the demand. Both nationally and in Maine, staffing issues have plagued the EMS system for years. It’s intense work that takes a lot of training and offers low pay. The requirement in Maine and elsewhere that paramedics and emergency medical technicians be vaccinated against covid is another stress on the workforce.

Dinsmore and LeCaptain spend more than 20 hours a week working for Waldoboro on top of their full-time EMS jobs in other towns. It’s common in Maine for EMS staffers to work for multiple departments, because most EMS crews need the help — and Waldoboro may soon need even more of it.

The department has already lost one EMS worker who quit because of Maine’s covid vaccine mandate for health care workers, and may lose two more.

The stress of filling those vacancies keeps Town Manager Julie Keizer awake at night.

“So, we’re a 24-hour service,” Keizer said. “If I lose three people who were putting in 40 hours or over, that’s 120 hours I can’t cover. In Lincoln County, we already have a stressed system.”

The labor shortage almost forced Waldoboro to shut down ambulance service for a recent weekend. Keizer said she supports vaccination but believes Maine’s decision to mandate it threatens the ability of some EMS departments to function.

Maine is one of 10 states that require health care workers to get vaccinated against covid or risk losing their jobs. Along with Oregon, Washington and Washington, D.C., it also explicitly includes the EMTs and paramedics who respond to 911 calls in that mandate. Some ambulance crews say it’s making an ongoing staffing crisis even worse.

Two hundred miles north of Waldoboro, on the border with Canada, is Fort Fairfield, a town of 3,200. Deputy Fire Chief Cody Fenderson explained that two workers got vaccinated after the mandate was issued in mid-August, but eight quit.

“That was extremely frustrating,” Fenderson said.

Now Fort Fairfield has only five full-time staffers available to fill 10 slots. Its roster of per-diem workers all have full-time jobs elsewhere, many with other EMS departments that are also facing shortages.

“You know, anybody who does ambulances is suffering,” said Fenderson. “It’s tough. I’m not sure what we’re going to do, and I don’t know what the answer is.”

In Maine’s largest city, Portland, the municipal first-responder workforce is around 200 people, and eight are expected to quit because of the vaccine mandate, according to the union president for firefighters, Chris Thomson.

That may not seem like a significant loss, but Thomson said those are full-time positions and those vacancies will have to be covered by other employees who are already exhausted by the pandemic and working overtime.

“You know, the union encourages people to get their vaccine. I personally got the vaccine. And we’re not in denial of how serious the pandemic is,” Thomson said. “But the firefighters and the nurses have been doing this for a year and a half, and I think that we’ve done it safely. And I think the only thing that really threatens the health of the public is short staffing.”

Thomson maintains that unvaccinated staffers should be allowed to stay on the job because they’re experts in infection control and wear personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves.

But Maine’s public safety commissioner, Mike Sauschuck, said EMS departments also risk staff shortages if workers are exposed to covid and have to isolate or quarantine.

“Win-win scenarios are often talked about but seldom realized,” he said. “So sure, you may have a situation where staffing concerns are a reality in communities. But for us, we do believe the broader impact, the safer impact on our system is through vaccination.”

Some EMS departments in Maine have complied fully with the mandate, with no one quitting. Andrew Turcotte, the fire chief and director of EMS for the city of Westbrook, said all 70 members of his staff are now vaccinated. He doesn’t see the new mandate as being any different from the vaccine requirements to attend school or enter the health care field.

“I think that we all have not only a social responsibility but a moral one,” Turcotte said. “We chose to get into the health care field, and with that comes responsibilities and accountabilities. That includes ensuring that you’re vaccinated.”

Statewide numbers released last week show close to 97% of EMS workers in Maine have gotten vaccinated. But that varies by county: Rural Piscataquis and Franklin counties reported that 18% and 10% of EMS employees, respectively, were still unvaccinated as of mid-October.

Not all EMS departments have reported their vaccination rates to the state. Waldoboro is in Lincoln County, where only eight of 12 departments have reported their rates. Among those eight, the rate of noncompliance was just 1.6%.

But in small departments like Waldoboro, the loss of even one staff member can create a huge logistical problem. Over the past few months, Waldoboro’s EMS director, Richard Lash, started working extra long days to help cover the vacancies. He’s 65 and is planning to retire next year.

“I’ve told my town manager that we’ll do the best we can do. But, you know, I can’t continue to work 120 hours a week to fill shifts,” said Lash. “I’m getting old. And I just can’t keep doing that.”

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  1. Lemmy Caution

    The Irish Times reports that Waterford City has the highest rate of vaccination in the country with 99.7 per cent of adults over the age of 18 (as registered in the last census) fully vaccinated. However, the city’s south electoral area has a 14-day incidence rate of 1,486 cases per 100,000 of the population. That’s three times the national average, making it the highest rate of Covid-19 infection in the State.

    1. David Anthony

      What’s the average age of population? When did they get their shots? How severely sick are they? Are they masking?

      Honestly, it doesn’t mean anything to me when you just say people are getting infected. There’s much more going on and one has to take all factors into account. At no time did scientists tell us this would stop infection. They always said it looked promising but we’d have to wait. It’s science. It changes as we learn.

        1. David Anthony

          Sorry, what we are seeing is literally how vaccines work. Failure would be not stopping infection and not keeping people from dying. Which is not what we are seeing.

        1. David Anthony

          Yes. Without tons of social and economic layers, vaccines and passports will not have the desired effect. Unfortunately, that’s not what this comment was and that’s why I wrote what I wrote. People need to have a paid day off work to get the vaccine, they need to be paid if they can’t work because of symptoms, we need tons of stuff our society refuses to give. But pretending vaccines that are working aren’t actually working isn’t the way to make that argument.

  2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    In the UK they are it seems leaning towards a vaccine mandate for health workers & seeing as the NHS in under massive stress, if some were to quit including paramedics & not just for the above reason then I imagine things will get even tougher.

    Recently my Mum had yet another fall partly due to her week physical state but primarily because of the remorseless progress of Alzheimer’s she is not cognisant enough to use her walking frame. My sister who was then looking after her was woken by her screams & then phoned for an ambulance before failing to lift Mum but only managing to roll her into the recovery position which was made worse by her total incontinence. About 5 hours later the ambulance arrived with extremely apologetic PM’s who explained that people wanting to avoid A&E, were exaggerating their ailments causing the service to become increasingly backed up & that night they had dealt with 2 RTA’s which were not much of a problem when in lockdown – the female member was my sister said obviously worn out & nearly in tears when she saw the state Mum was in.

    Mum is now in a private care home after my sister finally realised with the help of a lot of persuasion from myself that she cannot stay awake 24 hrs a day & that she has done all that she can. Mum appears to be drifting away now, but Docs have written her off twice before, but I have to get over to England asap while having to finish a job so I can afford to.

    The PM who first arrived for me within 5 minutes when I desperately needed help from where he would sit parked up in the town who I would later sometimes go & chat with, told me that the ambulance which came after him to take me to hospital had been cut as 2 fellas had retired & were not replaced – meaning basically I would not have survived & since then his small jeep version has also it seems disappeared or shifted to elsewhere.

    I guess that there are many other similar stories, just about everywhere.

    1. Pate

      thanks to thatcher and Reagan
      It seems we find ourselves beggin’
      EdSP I hope you and your Mum -and your wonderful sis- get the comfort and care that you need and deserve.

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre


        Yes, they started the rot & later were aided abetted by Blair’s wrecking crew. One of the annoying things is the timing as she was relatively OK so I thought it safe to buy the materials that I needed for the job which would have been enough to get me over there, She is in no present danger according to the staff & Sis checks in everyday & gives me feedback & I shall have 3 already sold casts to deliver by Monday then I can go. I’m fine btw – my problems were from 7 years ago & just added to illustrate how the ambulance service has been gradually shredded.

        Rev – Indeed, we had a lot of trouble getting her to move in with Sis after her first fall & she was diagnosed with that curse. It wasn’t until she through running to catch a bus collided with a perspex bus shelter resulting in a broken hip & concussion that we managed to persuade her, which I & sis were able to do when I was over for a quick visit to see her in the hospital. The docs had asked about switching her off but he day after I left she was to everybody’s surprise trying to get out of bed & made a speedy recovery. I guess that without the Alzheimers she would have got at least a few more years, but at least I now know why my Dad once told me that she was as tough as a destrier war horse.

        Thanks for the kind wishes.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Sorry to hear about what your mum is going through. It must be tough being separated like that. My own mother lost the plot before she went and tried to insist that she could live independently but had to go into a retirement home after she fell over and broke her hip (and not being found till the next day). I suppose that your own mum may not have realized that she had a problem either.

    3. Pavel

      Note of course that the NHS was already suffering from serious staff departures and hiring issues after Brexit. God knows what will happen if they inflict vaccine mandates.

  3. divadab

    The same effects of this misguided “Vaccine-only” mandate approach are being seen in Washington State. The State has closed five Rest Stops on I5 between the Canadian border and Seattle. They’re blaming it on “vandalism” – but in the same press release, the State advises they are short of staff and lists job openings. So who does this hurt? Truck drivers. Where will they take their mandated rest stops now?

    Same thing in local hospitals – two counties’ monopoly hospitals having to hire in contract nurses and techs at very high cost – something like three times the cost of an employee nurse – due to nurses refusing to take the “vaccine” when they have already had covid-19 and already have natural immunity.

    Smiley-face fascism has come to the USA in the form of simple-minded and anti-scientific vaccine mandates. “It’s for the good of everyone – are you selfish?” I can’t believe I voted for that Stalinist simpleton Jay Inslee and his gang of harpy enforcers.

  4. Cocomaan

    The 97% vaccination rate number wouldn’t include people they’ve already lost due to the mandate, right? So that’s not really a great piece of information.

    I don’t know why people are resigning in the face of the mandate if they don’t want to get vaccinated. Keep working and make them fire you.

    What’s incredible about this pandemic is how it has now shifted immense power into the hands of the private sector to dictate the health terms of employment. Not a great precedent. First it was drug tests, then smoking, jabs, and I wonder what’s next. Abortions as a condition of employment? Sorry, can’t get pregnant or you’ll ruin our risk pool with our insurer.

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘Keep working and make them fire you.’

      Not always that easy. The US Marines are telling their people to get jabbed or to get out but that ‘Marines who are separated for refusing the shot “will not be eligible for involuntary separation pay and will be subject to recoupment of any unearned special or incentive pays and advance educational assistance.’

      Florida is already offering $5,000 for any cop that was fired for refusing to get jabbed as a relocation bonus so you wonder if they will offer the same for these ambulance teams from other States like Maine-

      1. Cocomaan

        Interesting arbitrage for people who feel like they’ve been given a raw deal.

        This vaccine mandate, plus many of the worsening labor practices over the past few decades, is all contributing toward a more powerful labor movement. I don’t think the management class understands what they’re awakening.

        1. marym

          Over the course of the pandemic there seems to have been a substantial overlap of those – rank and file and powerful elite – who have opposed all other precautionary measures in their own and other people’s workplaces, and those who now oppose getting vaxxed and/or mandates.

          Whether or not an anti-vax/anti-mandate movement is pro-labor depends on the extent to which it’s proponents would support other worker protections (masks, distancing/capacity precautions, a testing/quarantine alternative); and the extent to which such a movement would support other issues a traditional pro-labor movement would promote.

          On the “right” the anti-everything movement (stay home everyone else if you don’t want to get sick) and among the liberals the vax-is-the answer movement (stay home if you won’t get vaxxed) are anti-working class.

        2. Mantid

          Yes, let’s hope there’s more union participation and action. We’ll see how the upcoming union vote, yea or nay, at Amazon pans out. Proud union member here.

  5. Glossolalia

    I had a conversation with a friend this past weekend about vaccine mandates for nurses. He asked, “Would you want a nurse that didn’t get vaccinated?” When I replied that if the choice is between an unvaccinated nurse and no nurse at all I’d take the unvaccinated one he seemed genuinely perplexed, as though that thought had really never entered his mind.

    1. Arizona Slim

      This past Saturday, I hosted an event at my house. (I was part of a water harvesting home tour here in Tucson.)

      More than 5 dozen people came here, everything was outdoors, and people were masked. I didn’t hear the slightest word of complaint about masking up.

      Were these people vaccinated or not? I don’t know and I didn’t ask.

  6. Basil Pesto

    re: the pre-amble, I did just see this in New Scientist cited just recently on the twitter. Seems a bit cheerleady to me. Shows only one contra study while highlighting two that are focussed on household transmission, which seems a bit narrow (consider the prison paper).

    1. LarryMotuz

      I couldn’t agree more. Your link shows that that vaccinated people infected with the delta variant or the alpha variant were found to be 63 and 73 per cent respectively less likely to spread infection.

      Those are very important research results from large research base studies.

      1. Objective Ace

        Any study that doesnt control for time after vaccination in their results should be basically meaningless at this point. I agree with the authors that there does seem to be a link between vaccines and infection, but if I’m reading the study correctly the time period being captured was essentially 1 to 2 months after the vast majority of vaccinated population received their vaccine.

        If this link doesnt hold up 4-6 months out (as the link between protection from symptoms doesn’t), then it is not going to be a representative study of infection spread by those vaccinated. (Based on behavior, Israel has appeared to conclude this is the case)

  7. timotheus

    Anecdotes from Oct. 25: a NYC area home health aide agency told me that his staff was only 50% vaccinated before the mandate, now at 98%. Speaker was thus a big booster of the state/city orders. Others standing around at the event nodded in agreement. Also, a non-teaching city school employee said staff reacted similarly when faced with loss of employment. Context may also be important: NYC residents generally are quite cooperative about the preventive measures, wear masks when asked, agree to vaccine checks at the entrances, etc. So the coercion seems to be successful here, for better or worse.

    1. Even keel

      Coercion is bad in itself.

      It harms the coerced, who suffer a moral injury from being forced to do something they decided not to do. Their confidence in their judgment, or their own moral agency, is reduced. They are less able to make judgments and or to take responsibility in the future.

      It harms the coercer, who has taken a short cut, and will be more likely to take it again. “Ah, I used force and they caved in! That was easy, and I achieved so much good.”

      Resort to coercion for this “vaccine” is a bad deal for society, given the low level of social benefit to be expected from high vaccination rate and the high level of social harm inherent in the coercion. If the vaccine were sterilizing, long lived, or in any way offered a realistic chance that the pandemic would be “over” once X percent were vaxxed, I suppose the calculation could be reevaluated.

      Thus, calling coercion “successful” is, IMO, wrong, even if people have caved and been vaxxed.

      1. timotheus

        Bloomberg coerced the entire city to stop smoking in bars. A lot of people hated the idea. Now it’s routine.

        Public health has an authoritarian streak. It has guidelines for how coercion is used, but it cannot be entirely escaped IMO.

        1. Objective Ace

          Smoking is an activity with which you turn on or off at will. When you see a sign or rule about not smoking in a bar it doesnt mean if you ever smoked you are not allowed in that bar. People can just use their agency to smoke elsewhere.. or eventually *make their own descision* to give up smoking because it has become too inconvenient. Removing someone’s ability to provide for their family rises well above mere convenience

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Sorry, those numbers are not accurate.

      Those figures do not include how many people quit before the mandate came in. CNAs in particular can make as much money doing just about anything else, with similar or lower Covid risk (nursing home staffers get way closer to residents and each other, say if they team up on transfers, than in just about any other setting).

      And in general, turnover in home health care agencies is massive. They are recruiting all the time. An agency in town has to hire at least 20 people a month to maintain about 140 staffers. The owner regards recruiting as her biggest job.

      There is more leverage over employees in a school setting. They are accumulating pensions and if they’ve been there any length of time, would not want to give them up.

  8. jim truti

    It blew my mind when the CDC said that the vaccinated dont have to wear masks while at the same time studies were showing they can transmit the virus. I couldnt understand the rationale behind such decision.
    Now, if the vaccinated are shedding the same virous loads as the unvaccinated, I wish someone could explain to me in layman terms the rationality for jumping to the conclusions that the vaccinated suffer less from the virus than the non vaccinated. Because if they dont, what is the point really of the vaccines?

    1. saywhat?

      Now, if the vaccinated are shedding the same virous loads as the unvaccinated, I wish someone could explain to me in layman terms the rationality for jumping to the conclusions that the vaccinated suffer less from the virus than the non vaccinated. jim truti

      Just a layman but I think the reason is the “vaccines” activate the blood-born immune system (IgG) but not the immune system for mucus membranes (IgA) from which the virus is caught and spread. (And that’s why we need a nasal vaccine.) So one might be spared serious disease (or even symptoms) while still shedding like crazy.

      A question which I’ve puzzled over too and would an expert please chime in?

    2. reason

      From the CDC site:

      Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the virus to others. However, vaccinated people appear to spread the virus for a shorter time

      The spike in viral load is front loaded, then recedes quicker in vaccinated individuals vs vaccinated. Less overall time being infections means less likelihood of spread. And that is only true for breakthrough cases, which are already a small fraction (1% at worst) of all infections among vaccinated individuals.

      1. Ed S.

        As our esteemed host Mr. Strether would say, “appear” is doing a lot of work in that quoted sentence.

        The CDC further states “However, like prior variants, the amount of viral genetic material may go down faster in fully vaccinated people when compared to unvaccinated people” (emphasis added). Again, “may” is doing a lot of work in this sentence. And note that this comment was written July 27, updated August 26 – so at least 2+ months old and at the absolute trough of the new cases and prior to commencement of the Delta wave.

        Your “1% at worst” is actually an unsupported comment ”some populations have shown breakthrough infection rates of approximately 1 in 100 fully vaccinated people” in the JHU article.

        The JHU article cites a study from Washington State; from Jan 17 to Oct 9 there were 55,000 breakthrough cases in Washington State. Conspicuously absent from the Washington State study is the total number of cases from Jan 17 to Oct 9. By interpolation from the Divoc-91 site I estimate that there were about 389,000 confirmed cases. (

        55/389= 14% – not 1 in 100 or 1 in 5,000. And of the cases for which there was data, 89% were symptomatic.

        The Israel data shows a proportionate level of infection in vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.

        What is unmistakable from the Divoc-91 data is that confirmed infections accelerated in early August, notwithstanding the huge increase in the number of vaccinated individuals. It’s past time to stop pretending that the vaccines do anything more than prevent serious illness.

    3. Mantid

      Jim, it’s short term thinking. It’s true that the vaccinated suffer less (get less sick) than the non-vaccinated. Lots of studies confirming that. However, the viral load is the same in the vac or non-vac person and this gives the virus a perfect opportunity to continue to mutate and avoid all immunities (natural or induced), in everyone, vaccinated or not. We will pay the price. And of course mega-pharma will reap the benefits the entire time, now and way into the future.

      1. saywhat?

        and this gives the virus a perfect opportunity to continue to mutate and avoid all immunities (natural or induced), Mantid

        I’ve already had Covid (before vaccines were available) and survived with some heart inflamation that I’m recovering from.

        I have NO intention of getting one of the current “vaccines”. But I’m not going to coddle my immune system either by trying to avoid all viral exposure, even if it were practical.

        So, I’m hoping that, with nominal social distancing to avoid a huge initial dose, my immune system will keep up with the latest variants – the same as it has for the flu despite never being vaccinated for it.

        Meanwhile, I suggest the medical establishment ACCEPT that many will NOT accept the current vaccines and accommodate their desire for plausible alternatives that at least MIGHT help with prevention and early treatment.

    4. Arizona Slim

      Yours Truly never stopped wearing masks, especially when I’m in an enclosed space or in close proximity to people in the outdoors.

      And, jim truti, I agree with your question.

    5. marku52

      It was terrible advice, gien against the already available info from Singapore, where contact tracing confermed that vaccinated poeple were transmitting to other vaccinated people. This was known at the time the CDC gave out their bad advice.

      Why? I’d guess politics. Get the vaccine and we can open everything back up! Sure wasn’t sound medical advice. Same bit about opening the schools back up, even tho nothing had been done to make them safer. Thanks Joe!

  9. reason

    I think Yves captures the nuance of the quoted study’s implications with it’s appropriate caution, but I really feel the comments here are really mistaking the specific scope (mandates in the medical field, especially in small cities) for mandates overall. Which I feel the evidence doesn’t support.

    1) If ya have too short of supply of medical professionals, how about you reduce the demand for them? While the viral load point is taken about spread, vaccines still do reduce serious infections, and thus, the need for hospitalization. At best, your medical staff should have some vaccine leeway (I would say dependent upon the demand for hospital beds), but how do you get the non-emergency staff population to get their vaccine numbers up?

    2) The other missed nuanced here, which was correctly referenced in the original article, is that the viral load parity is only true for breakthrough infections. That is, vaccinated people that still show a positive test result. That rate of breakthrough is 1-2% at worst among vaccinated people. For all the other vaccinated people without a breakthrough infection, with reasonable measures (even casual mask use) they probably won’t be spreading much of anything.

    3) Mandate the masks, and mandate the vaccinations too because are dumb and I don’t want to wait around for the next variant that makes all these current vaccines obsolete.

    1. Objective Ace

      >the viral load parity is only true for breakthrough infections.

      Well sure, but that also applies to those who aren’t vaccinated. If you dont have Covid then your viral load is equal to someone who was vaccinated and doesnt have Covid. Lets stick to apples to apples comparisson.

      You bring up a valid point, but its really a separate focus of research: how well do vaccines prevent your from getting Covid.. vs. what I believe is being discussed: do they help your neighbors

    2. Basil Pesto

      oh god, unrelated to your post but from that Johns Hopkins link:

      Am I at risk for “long COVID” if I get a breakthrough coronavirus infection?

      At least one large study suggests that being vaccinated reduces the chance that you will end up with lingering symptoms of COVID-19, sometimes referred to as “long COVID.”

      [family blog] [family blog] [family blog]

      the one point I would make about your post is that claiming 1-2% breakthrough infection rate at worst is mighty optimistic

  10. marku52

    Here is the kicker.

    In a 68 country study (Including the US), they found “No discernible relationship between percentage of population fully vaccinated and new Covid cases in the last 7 days”

    This fits with all the other data that shows no difference in viral shedding between the vaxxed and unvaxxed.

    Hence the vaccine mandate may be about something, but surely isn’t a public health tool. It’s a pointless arguing point that won’t have anything to do with stopping the epidemic.

  11. Iseeyoudock

    One of the great ironies of people who work in health care who are on the front lines is that they were the ones who had the courage to face this awful disease when it first slithered out of the box. Or the pangolin .Or the wet market. Or the cave. Or the lab. Maybe it was a cave-lab. Hard to tell with the paragons of prevarication prancing about.

    An unknown unknown. People dying all around them.

    Those who did face down this thing when it first arrived were often in inadequate PPE, with inadequate staging and training for the proper use of barrier protection sometimes donning makeshift plastic outer ware and inadequately fit n-95’s (or double paper masks, taped) which had to be bagged and re-used between entry into non negative pressure rooms with no hepa filtration doing aerosolizing procedures on patients with high viral loads under adverse circumstances.


    And now, your reward for unsung heroism is…

    All of the EMTs and ER nurses and docs and respiratory therapists and ICU nurses and docs who were variably inches from a then unknown pathogen and put themselves at risk to aid others during those initial months, some of whom were exposed, some of whom did not do well… well… well I guess become simply viewed as replaceable cogs in a machine. Sacrifices on the alter of the mandate. Prior exposure, prior sacrifice and natural immunity be damned.

    If there were a sterilizing vaccine which prevented infection and community transmission, it might be a logical segue.

    There is none, unfortunately.

    Better yet, the current vaccines are all keyed to alpha. They still work, kind of. Kind of like that duplicate key you had made at the hardware store for your apartment that fits in the keyhole but you have to use eight times the force to turn the lock, and half a can of WD-40.

    There had been no effort I am aware of to “re-tool” and mass produce the vaccines to the current variants. Let’s just keep using what we’ve made already. It might be expensive.

    Here is a good series of questions. What is the actuarial risk to a healthy 5-12 year old of disease versus vaccine injury? What is the length of the temporal benefit? What is the logical chain of successive vaccinations in the face of selection pressure and continual mutation? What is the logical next evolutionary leap to most likely occur in the face of invariant neutralizing IgG selection pressure upon a single receptor entry point?
    I’m sure many parents will be asking something like this in the near future. Where is that data? Why is it not transparent?

    Now thanks to the politicization of the disease and polarization of the populace those fault lines grow wider as another thread is pulled along our strained social fabric.

    And thanks to the vacillation around almost every policy point, public skepticism is higher.

    The cold objectivity and rational scientific thought which should be pressed hard against a disease in measured, reasoned rational steps has given way to a torrent of emotive responses which seem to allow no differentiation of health status and actuarial risk, no deference to informed consent and risk benefit into the tribalism of us vs them.

    Thus far the vaccines have prevented a host of mortality and morbidity. But expectations as to what they can and cannot do, the intentional conflation of a traditional vaccines vs current, the temporal nature of their benefits and risk profile need to be transparent.

    What a tragedy to reason. We are better than this. At least we used to be.

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