There is a level of complexity in determining who is at risk from a serious COVID infection. Prior chronic diseases have a big part to play, and it’s not just based on which organs are affected by the chronic disease.
For example, not all patients with chronic heart cardiovascular disease have the same risk of COVID-19 hospitalization or mortality. Nor are the factors affecting severity the same for men and women. Obesity, heart failure, chronic renal failure, arthritis, diseases of veins and lymphatics, and diabetes mellitus are major determinants for men. In contrast, women had a much broader range of influential comorbidities, for example menstrual disorders, high lipids and depression.
Just as there is this level of complexity in determining who is at risk from a serious COVID infection, it is logical that there is similar complexity in determining who might benefit from additional booster shots. To date very little research has explored individual immune responses to vaccines beyond identifying very basic immunological changes.
So why are we accepting serial vaccinations, with shorter intervals? Is it time to say goodbye to COVID boosters? Is this another case of addiction to a treatment. Is this a COVID form of dopesick? We already have vaccinophobia amongst some of our communities, now we appear to have vaccinophilia in others.
Despite decreasing effectiveness of vaccines over time, we are told it is only a case of more frequent administration of COVID vaccines. We also can’t engage in certain activities, such as flying or attending live theatre or movies, without presenting evidence of at least three COVID vaccine shots. Are requirements for a fourth shot far behind?
The spectre of a worsening variant, without evidence allows fearmongering by vaccine manufacturers to push for further doses. They do so without evidence, as all the available data points to an attenuation or weakening of the virus.
In fact, the data on fourth doses of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines shows that they do very little to prevent mild or asymptomatic Omicron infections.
The frequency of vaccination for this one condition has surpassed the frequencies of vaccinations for other viruses with similarly serious morbidities such smallpox, polio, and herpes.
The bottom line of all vaccine developers is to show benefit from additional booster shots as we learn that boosting with different vaccines is associated with lower SARS-CoV-2 incidence rates than boosting with the same one.
The closest model we have is influenza. Revaccinating with the same strains of influenza vaccine was jettisoned years ago. It was recognized early on that initial exposure to an influenza virus affects the body’s immunologic response. The “original antigenic sin,” OAS as it was called, meant that infections and vaccinations can imprint a response to subsequent influenza infections and potentially to influenza vaccinations. Additionally, imprinting is likely to affect how individuals respond to different universal vaccine antigens. In the context of COVID, we have very little evidence about whether this will occur in humans.
A vaccinophilia epidemic, based on worry, has the potential to worsen the impact of the pandemic for years to come. Evidence is now emerging that psychological resilience is most important in protecting against the comprehensive impact of COVID.