What We’re Reading: Delta’s Effect on Vaccine Effectiveness; J&J’s Booster Shot; Patient Opinions on Mandates

SAP Partners | <b>Florida Cancer Specialists</b>

Delta variant lowers COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness to 66%; Johnson & Johnson reports booster shot results; cancer center reports mask, vaccine preferences of patients.

Delta Variant Dampens Vaccine Effectiveness

As the Delta variant spread, COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness dropped from 90% to approximately 66%, according to a report from the CDC Tuesday. The first analysis from the ongoing HEROES-RECOVER study, which includes more than 4000 health care workers and other frontline workers in 6 states, looked at vaccine effectiveness estimates from December 14, 2020, to April 10, 2021, before the Delta variant; the latest figure updates the testing period to August 14. Researchers emphasized that a 66% effectiveness rate shows that vaccines are still protecting people from contracting the virus, STAT News reported.

Second Dose of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Increases Antibodies, Company Reports

Receiving a booster shot of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine dramatically increases the levels of antibodies against COVID-19, the company reported Wednesday. Multiple studies suggest higher levels of antibodies are linked to higher rates of protection, especially against the Delta variant. However, the lack of data regarding other parts of the immune system like T cells means there is not a precise estimate on the effectiveness of the booster shot against COVID-19. The New York Times said J&J will submit the data to the FDA and, if authorized, the Biden administration may provide booster shots 8 months after initial vaccination.

Cancer Center Reports Mask, Vaccine Preferences of Patients

Patients with cancer overwhelmingly prefer that their health care providers are vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear masks, according to a survey conducted by Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS). The online survey included more than 6800 patients with cancer to assess patient reaction to FCS’s recent mandate for physicians and employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by October 1, 2021, with the first dose being administered no later than August 31, 2021. The majority (88%) said it was important to them that FCS physicians, nurses and staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 67% said it was “extremely important.” Regardless if they are vaccinated, 88% also said it was important that their FCS providers wear a mask.