How many millions of people in Russia will receive a "weak" vaccine and who is to blame?

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How many millions of people in Russia will receive a "weak" vaccine and who is to blame?
How many millions of people in Russia will receive a "weak" vaccine and who is to blame?
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Although the press writes a lot about the extremely rare "side effects" of vaccines, practice shows that one should be afraid of something completely different. The most terrible enemy of the vaccinated remains … the coronavirus. Even after vaccines, Pfizer or Moderna sometimes die from it - and there are already hundreds of similar cases. Of course, among the unvaccinated there are orders of magnitude more, but this does not make it easier for the dead and their family members. To make matters worse, two out of three Russian vaccines appear to be far less protective against covid than Pfizer and Moderna. This is rather strange, given that the third Russian drug in this regard is not inferior to Western counterparts. Why are the Russian authorities financing millions of copies of a weak vaccine, having at their disposal a fully-fledged vaccine?

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Like it won't be before

To date, about half a million people have died from the coronavirus epidemic in Russia (despite statements by the authorities about 110 thousand). Many of us still live with the expectation that this nightmare will soon end. That vaccines will bring the world back to dock, tens of thousands of excess deaths each month will be a thing of the past, free travel without masks will resume, the economy and tourism will work like old, and so on. Let's face it: this is practically impossible.

Firstly, if you are a resident of Russia, then you live in a country where at least 40% categorically do not want to be vaccinated. And these are not those who have read the relevant press about how the "spinal cord" from "Sputnik" (in fact, from a placebo). The audience of such media in Russia is limited to 20% of the population. But there are much more unwilling to get vaccinated. These people do not want to be vaccinated, not because they are oppositionists, but because, in principle, they do not understand how viruses and vaccines work. They heard somewhere out of the corner of their ear that the risk of dying from Covid-19 is low (only 1%), and out of the corner of the other ear - that after some kind of vaccine, there are fatal thrombosis.

But they are unaware that the likelihood of dying from thrombosis even abroad (where vaccines that cause them are used) are several thousand times less than from Covid-19. And that in Russia there are no vaccines that cause such thrombosis. They are unaware that every tenth person who has been ill experiences the effects of the infection for at least three months - and this also applies to those who seem to have had a mild illness. They are not aware that after covid, not only taste and smell, but also potency can disappear.

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And they are not aware of the above, because they are often people for whom everything that is arranged is too difficult to understand is the essence of malicious and malicious manipulations by Bill Gates / the world behind the scenes / pharma giants. They don't want to know how the real situation is. Because their position, in which they are smart, and everyone around are obedient puppets of evil forces, allows you to feel better against the background of those around you, deprived of access to the hidden knowledge about the vaccine conspiracies of the world behind the scenes. Therefore, any arguments are generally of little use to them. Many will never be convinced. You just have to come to terms with this.

Of course, if we had the USSR, he could simply and quickly force these 40% of the population to be vaccinated. But we do not have the USSR (and in many other ways this is not even bad, just not in a situation with vaccination).And our current authorities are extremely far from the Soviet ones in terms of rigidity, and they have a corresponding difference in the possibilities for coercion.

This means that the coronavirus epidemic in Russia will never end at all. After all, 40% of the "unwilling" will remain a reservoir where the virus will constantly multiply, gradually mutate and continuously keep the remaining 60% of the population under threat of infection. It will not work to destroy it in the same way as smallpox was destroyed in due time. The authorities' reasoning about the vaccination of the majority of the population should be attributed to a simple poor understanding of their people by them (which, however, is not news for Russia). Therefore, you need to calm down - and learn to live with the coronavirus.

And how to live with him?

It seems that for non-conspiracy theorists in Russia, the recipe for "how to live with coronavirus" is extremely simple: get vaccinated. And after that, what do you care what happens in the minds of those 40% who do not want to be vaccinated?

Alas, this is an illusion: such people will still influence your life - and in some cases, death. Recently, the US Centers for Infectious Disease Control released statistics on the number of people who died from coronavirus, becoming infected 14 days after the second Pfizer or Moderna vaccination. The indicated days are important here: by this time, both vaccines already give the vaccinated the maximum possible antibodies. Despite this, there are still deaths among them.

Of the 123 million vaccinated Americans - many times more than in Russia, note - 290 managed to die from covid. This is not because vaccines do not work or work differently than in clinical trials. They just work, it's just that hundreds of thousands of people don't participate in the research, so no one was able to stumble upon cases of covid death after vaccination before mass vaccination.

Why do such deaths happen at all? People in modern society, in contrast to the societies of the past, can often live even with suppressed immunity, because they are treated with modern medicines, they are looked after. But when immunosuppressed people are vaccinated, their immune response may be too weak.

One person in almost half a million vaccinated seems to be small, it seems that the chances of such an outcome are negligible. In the end, among the unvaccinated from covid, sooner or later, five thousand people per half a million will die (mortality with covid is in the region of 1%).

However, it is worth remembering that vaccination in the States began not so long ago. Therefore, among the vaccinated, not everyone managed to contact the carriers of the virus and become infected. In the coming months, they will do this: then the death toll from coronavirus among those vaccinated will increase significantly. It cannot be ruled out that for the United States it will reach one person in a hundred thousand. Yes, this is still a thousand times less likely to die among the unvaccinated. But still quite real. And on the scale of such a state as the United States, vaccinated, but dead, there may be more than one thousand people.

However, we are all about the States. And what is the risk of dying from covid if you are vaccinated with Sputnik? Unfortunately, for Russia this mystery is insoluble: the Ministry of Health does not consider it necessary to inform citizens about such trifles as the chances of life and death. The Russian private equity fund, represented by its spokesman, did not find time to answer the corresponding letters and calls from Naked Science.

Fortunately, we have Sputnik exported abroad, and there - completely different Ministries of Health, for example, Argentine. He, unlike the Russian one, regularly publishes detailed reports on what is happening with all the vaccines used in the country vaccinated. Today it is "Sputnik-V" (3.41 million injections, according to the latest report), AstraZeneca, its Indian counterpart Covishield (only 0.78 million vaccinated) and the Chinese Sinopharm (1.30 million).

Unfortunately, even the Argentinean report cannot answer the question "how many will die from covid after Sputnik." This is because so far, for 3.41 million inoculations with them, the Argentines have not been able to count a single death. In general, such a case has so far been indicated only for vaccinated Covishield.

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This is a good sign.Most likely, the probability of dying from coronavirus among those vaccinated by Sputnik is at least no higher than for those vaccinated by Pfizer or Moderna. It is very likely - judging by the Argentinean data - that the risk is noticeably lower. Although, to find out for sure, it is better to wait for additional reports from the Argentine Ministry of Health - there is no hope for the Russian one in this regard.

Conclusion: if you want the endless (due to those unwilling to get vaccinated) epidemic of covid in Russia not to affect you, it is enough to inject yourself with Sputnik. After that, it is worth checking the antibodies: if your antibodies are still tragically low, it is better to continue wearing a mask and avoid crowded places so as not to become one of those who will die even after vaccination. It is worth emphasizing: in the United States, those who were vaccinated, but who died from covid, were also among middle-aged people, not only among the elderly. That is, you should not think "I am young, the vaccination will definitely cause me an immune response, so I am not afraid of covid death after vaccination." Not a fact: in modern society, even a relatively young person may not have the best immune system.

Another important point: if you have been ill, you should not think "I have antibodies, then the vaccine is not needed." According to research, the level of antibodies after Pfizer, Moderna or "Sputnik" is on average higher than that of those who have recovered. This is not surprising: the "live" coronavirus somehow bypasses the protection of immunity, but its S-protein, which the body receives after these three vaccines, does not know how.

But even with high antibody levels following Pfizer and Moderna, the chances of dying from coronavirus are still pretty noticeable (probably up to one in 100 thousand). This means that they are even higher in those who have been ill. Vaccination in such a situation can significantly increase the chances of survival.

What's wrong with the other two Russian vaccines

Unfortunately, with the other two registered coronavirus vaccines in Russia, things are much worse.

Let's start with KoviVak (developed by the Chumakov Center). In addition to Russia, only China has brought the whole virion vaccine to mass production - however, there are three of them at once, with minor differences among themselves. The real experience of vaccinating millions of Chileans, according to their Ministry of Health, showed that it reduces the risk of death by only 86%. This is much lower than Pfizer and Moderna's scores, which, as we noted, reduce the likelihood of death from coronavirus significantly more than 99%. And much worse than that of Sputnik, for which such deaths have not yet been shown at all.

There is no scientific work on the effectiveness of the protection of "KoviVac" yet and will not be in the near future (the third phase of testing is just beginning). But we must clearly understand that from a scientific point of view, it is extremely doubtful that the whole-virion vaccine protects against covid death in the Chinese, but strongly in the Russians. In both cases, a killed coronavirus is used, so it is naive to expect a fundamentally different level of protection.

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Remains "EpiVacCorona" (development of the "Vector" center under Rospotrebnadzor). This is the world's first peptide vaccine against coronavirus - that is, one that "trains" our immunity not to the S-protein of the coronavirus, but to some of its small fragments (peptides). Previously, no one brought peptide vaccines to mass use, and "Vector" here plays the role of a pioneer. The Russian authorities have already allocated funds for 2.17 million doses of EpiVacCorona and are planning to purchase an additional 4.7 million doses this year alone. In total, thus, 6, 87 million people will receive this vaccine.

But how much does it work? To find out the effectiveness of a vaccine, you need to see at least preliminary results of the third phase of its clinical trials. Although the representative of "Vector" said that such results may be available in February 2021, in fact they have not been announced even now, at the end of May. And soon the reader will understand the possible reasons.

A few days ago, a preprint of another work was posted in the public domain - a general overview of the situation on those vaccinated with EpiVacCorona outside of clinical trials.The preprint reports data on covid mortality only among 807 employees of Rospotrebnadzor and its subordinate institutions. For several months of observation (between December 2020 and May 2021), 37 people fell ill with covid of an unspecified severity among them. Two of them died from covid.

We are inclined to assume that the real number of cases of coronavirus was higher, because the death of two out of 37 cases looks too strange. Usually, one in a hundred cases dies from covid, and not one in 18-19. But even despite the likely underestimation of the total number of cases, 37 who have caught the coronavirus out of a total of 807 vaccinated, this is still a lot. For comparison: during the clinical trials of Sputnik, out of 19,866 people vaccinated with it, only 78 people fell ill (0, 39%), and everything was mild. And among 807 people vaccinated with EpiVacCorona, 37 (4, 58%) fell ill, and this difference is more than an order of magnitude.

However, this is not the most important - the most important is the covid mortality after vaccination.

Recall: in the United States, 290 out of 123 million vaccinated died from covid in a similar time. One in 424 thousand. And after "EpiVacCorona" - one for 404 people. Not 424 thousand, but just 404. Without thousands. Coronavirus mortality of 0.25% over several months is a mortality of the same order as among the general population of Moscow during this period.

In other words, according to this preprint, EpiVacCorona either does not protect those vaccinated by it at all, or does it very weakly. Therefore, we do not see preliminary results on its protective effectiveness either in the press or in scientific journals. It simply cannot be compared with Sputnik, whose deaths after the end of the immunity formation period are not yet known at all (at least for Argentina, since data for Russia are not available). It is impossible to compare EpiVacCorona with Pfizer or Moderna, which provide very real protection.

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Vaccinating living people with EpiVacCorona means creating in them a false illusion of security and nothing more. In addition, it is these actions that spur anti-vaccination sentiments. Every message about the death of a sick person after a full cycle of vaccination and the end of the period of formation of immunity in the Internet age is instantly spread across social networks. And it serves for the constant struggle of anti-vaccinators with the world and common sense, never for a minute or for a second.

The fact that the state plans to spend several billion rubles on the purchase of 6, 87 million doses of such a weak vaccine is very bad. Among these millions, many thousands of people will simply die. And if you're unlucky, then tens of thousands. And this future catastrophe is sponsored by the same state that has developed a very effective "Sputnik".

Why doesn't EpiVacCorona work? Most likely, the matter is in the complexities of creating peptide vaccines. The fact is that the "anti-coronavirus" antibodies of our body do not bind to all components of the S-protein of the coronavirus (it is this protein that is in its envelope). They bind to specific fragments of it located in the outermost part of the shell. In order for antibodies to peptides from EpiVac to bind precisely to the outer parts of the S-protein, the peptides in the vaccine must be selected with the greatest care. The slightest mistake - and the peptide vaccine will create antibodies to those protein fragments that are in the thickness of the viral envelope. And then these antibodies will be ineffective against the coronavirus, they will not be able to attach to it.

A logical question arises: how did this happen? Why was Russia able to create a vaccine no worse than the best world samples (or even better), but at the same time cannot reject an obviously weak one?

Expertise Crisis: You Can't Manage What You Can't Understand

Among the population of our country and a number of other countries, there is a delusion that the world is really controlled by someone. Within this paradigm, people choose politicians, and those, listening to the opinions of people, on the one hand, and experts, on the other, make certain decisions.

In reality, this ideal scheme often does not work.People do not know how this or that politician will actually rule until he has shown himself in reality - but this is still the smallest of troubles. The main one in terms of severity is that politicians have no idea which of the alleged experts actually understands their business and who does not.

Indeed, how do you choose a scientist / expert you trust? And this is absolutely necessary - because scientists very often have completely opposite opinions on the same question.

In theory, you can take one of the scientists, skim through the list of his publications, try to figure out who he is and what he is from them, and compare with the scientist who defends the opposite point of view. In practice, the politician normally has neither the appropriate knowledge nor the time for such operations. So is his assistant.

The methods used in the animal kingdom remain - formal signs of authority and significance. For example, gorillas knock on their chest, and from this knock, other gorillas accurately estimate the size - and potential strength - of the knocker. So a larger male shows others that he is more authoritative than them.

In the world of science and expertise, there are similar mechanisms. Some scientists have a PhD, while others only have a PhD. One has "professorial crusts", while the other does not. Someone served as a staff epidemiologist, and someone did not.

This system, however, has the same disadvantages as the animal kingdom: cheaters. To impress predators, some animals disguise themselves as more dangerous species in color. To impress those who are not scientists, many people in academic positions place an increased emphasis on earning degrees, publishing in the most prestigious scientific journals, or moving up the corporate ladder. As a result, society perceives such people as more authoritative scientists and experts than those who have fewer degrees, titles and other options for pounding on the chest.

Unfortunately, some of these more "graduated" scientists are not necessarily well versed in the area where society considers them to be experts. Take, for example, Vasily Vlasov, vice-president of the Society for Evidence-Based Medicine, epidemiologist, professor, author of university textbooks, and so on and so forth. The list of regalia and titles is impressive - at first glance, everything is in order with the sound of the banging of the chest. But the problem is that he was periodically interviewed about vaccines. A few quotes:

“[Sputnik's developers] are lying when they say that they got a vaccine for the Middle East respiratory syndrome caused by the MERS-CoV coronavirus … [their other vaccine] did not make it to field trials - moreover, the trials that were conducted in Russia, were falsified … To create an effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, perhaps, no one will ever succeed … This is a great adventure on a global scale."

These words were said on September 14, 2020, by this time it is already quite known about the Sputnik vaccine and the level of its antibody response (there was already the first publication in the Lancet).

A month later, on October 15, 2020, Vlasov said in an interview even more incredible:

"There will likely not be an effective vaccine [for the coronavirus] … wearing gloves is pointless, and the issue of wearing masks remains controversial." And he was not joking: in the photo from the place of pronouncing these words, he is giving a lecture to students, some of whom are wearing masks - and Vlasov is without her.

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If it seems to you that on October 15, 2020, only those who were not at all interested in the topic did not know that Sputnik had efficiency, then it does not seem to you. It's not just the oral statements of the developers of this vaccine - the levels of antibodies to the S-protein from the publication in the Lancet have indicated the same since the beginning of September 2020.

On the other hand, Vlasov had a much better opinion of the EpiVacCorona vaccine, which has not shown serious effectiveness at the moment than about Sputnik and its developers: “There is very little information about the second vaccine, but I can assume that its creation and clinical research could go along a more or less decent path."

By the way, Vlasov has not changed his position much today. If he changed his mind with EpiVacKorona, then on Sputnik he is still writing scientifically dubious criticism of the article on the third phase of Sputnik in the Lancet.In their responses, Logunov and co-authors show that he is wrong, and Vlasov in his Facebook claims that Logunov answers Vlasov's claims: "Well, yes, it is." In other words, Professor Vlasov is amazingly resistant to information signals from the surrounding reality - and will most likely be so for the rest of his life. Probably, even when Sputnik is registered in the EU,

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Now put yourself in the shoes of a politician. Someone comes to you who is fine with a pounding on the chest - he is a professor, epidemiologist, and a prominent figure in the Society for Evidence-Based Medicine. What happens if you believe him? Obviously, after his words, if you don't decide that Sputnik was made by liars, you still want to insure yourself with EpiVacKorona - especially since Vlasov estimates it much more decently. Perhaps, you might think, it is worth financing both "Sputnik" and the vaccination of millions with "EpiVacCorona" - perhaps at least some of this will work.

The question may arise: maybe Vlasov, walking without a mask unvaccinated among innocent people, is an exception? Maybe the rest of our professors and epidemiologists do not cause such acute cognitive dissonance?

Alas, no - the problems are not only in Vlasov. Take Nikolai Filatov: Professor, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences since 2016, Deputy Director for Science of the Mechnikov Research Institute of Vaccines and Serums, Head of the Department of Epidemiology at Sechenov University. From 1993 to 2012 - Chief Sanitary Doctor of Moscow. Honored Doctor of the Russian Federation. Three hundred scientific works, including monographs and textbooks for universities. What did he think about the epidemic and the coronavirus vaccines?

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“We are all looking somewhere, comparing ourselves with individual countries and the rest of the world as a whole. We don't need to compare with the rest of the world. We are an order of magnitude higher than everyone else. They have a mortality rate of 6, 9 percent of the number of infected, and ours - 0, 9 percent."

Maybe this is a single inadequate statement by Filatov? Doubtful. Here's what he suggested at a meeting with the Russian president in the spring of 2020:

“At this meeting, I expressed my point of view - it is necessary to release the children and open recreation areas.”

It's still not so scary about children: they rarely get seriously ill. But opening recreation areas during a pandemic is, as you might guess, not the most epidemiologically reasonable decision. Fortunately, then, as Filatov says: "I failed to convince the staff members and the president of the correctness of my point of view at this meeting." And that's not so bad when you consider that he also doubted the wisdom of vaccinating against coronavirus.

But we must understand that there are many Filatovs, and a drop wears away a stone, not like the brain of a politician. We know the results very well: in Russia, antiquarian measures were removed earlier and, as a result, came out much weaker than in Germany. Accordingly, the number of coronavirus victims per hundred thousand of the population is much, much higher than that of the Germans. Let's continue with a quote from the same Filatov:

“The coronavirus infection will fall during this period [summer 2020], and this will end the entire period of its occurrence … more and more individuals with antibodies protected from this infection will appear among us. In autumn [2020] no one will remember this as the topic of the day … People will stop dying from this, because a weakly virulent pathogen is not able to start the mechanism of an inadequate immune response."

On February 4, 2021, Nikolai Filatov died of coronavirus, illustrating by personal example whether he was right or wrong in his predictions.

But his work is still alive: not only he and V. Vlasov have an impressive list of titles and regalia, but at the same time they poorly understand how the epidemic develops and which vaccine is better.

There are many other people who give fewer interviews, but more often advise the president and the government. And their judgments, often, are not much better than Vlasov's: "About the second vaccine [EpiVacCoron] … I can assume that its creation and clinical research can follow a more or less decent path."

But what about the clinical effectiveness, the likelihood of getting sick, you ask? For example, it is difficult for the president to distinguish the Vlasovs and the philatines from those who are quite adequate - doctors of sciences, three hundred publications, and so on. But he can look at the figures for the effectiveness of the vaccine?

Unfortunately no. You cannot control what you do not understand.

Let's take the example above: a preprint of an article about 807 Rospotrebnadzor employees, among whom two vaccinated people died. We saw a disaster in this, and the people who gave information about this preprint in the media presented it in a completely different way:

"Among the employees of Rospotrebnadzor and its subordinate institutions, which were monitored, after vaccination with the drug" EpiVacCorona "95, 8% did not get sick when exposed to coronavirus."

How will you read these words if you are a politician? That's right: you take them as the same percentage of protection (91, 4-97, 6%) that Sputnik developers claim. You might think that these percentages reflect how much the vaccine has made you less likely to get sick.

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Moreover, in these words "for the press" there is nothing about the fact that two out of 807 died from coronavirus, despite vaccinations.

Of course, if you've taken the time to delve into the term "post-vaccination protection," then you know that 95% protection is not when 95% of those vaccinated don't get sick. This is when the number of cases among the vaccinated during the period X is 95% less than among the unvaccinated (who received a placebo). And since there is no placebo group at all in the preprint for these 807 "vaccinated" sufferers, then 95.8% of the preprint is a simple deception for the bosses and nothing more. An attempt to create "protection" numbers in the absence of serious protection.

But you only know this if you have delved into the topic for a long time and persistently. A politician cannot delve into all the topics that he formally controls for a long time and persistently. Because he has too many of these topics. Life is not enough to understand everything.

All he can do is look at doctors of various sciences and feverishly try to figure out which of them (and they all have different opinions!) Is more adequate. It is inevitable that sooner or later the politician is wrong.

Yes, we can say that in the same way they are wrong not only with us. One can recall the serious mistake of French President Macron, who did not want to help Russia in the deployment of production of Sputnik (despite the failure of efforts to develop its own vaccine and Moscow's offer to share Sputnik's technology). You can also remember how the politicians of the West and Russia were unable to repeat the quarantine success of China. All this shows that it is not only local political leaders who are mistaken in such a situation. Only the fact that politicians make mistakes everywhere will not console the relatives of those who will die from their inability to separate the true experts from the false ones here in Russia.

If we take an honest look at the prospects of the situation with EpiVacCorona, we will understand that they are disappointing. Almost seven million people in Russia will receive a vaccine this year, which, if it protects against covid death, is very weak. Many thousands of these people will die. Although there are still many months before their last breath, there is a high probability that they cannot be saved, because in modern society there is an extremely serious crisis of expertise.

There is simply no one upstairs to stand up and say: "The King is naked." Because in the world of complex technologies, a politician simply cannot distinguish a naked vaccine king from one who is dressed in the latest fashion.

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