Why Are People Unwell with Symptomatic COVID-19 Being Vaccinated?

Yesterday I wrote about the latest study from Public Health England that claims to show the vaccines are up to 90% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid infection in the over-65s, highlighting some shortcomings.

There was one aspect of the data that I didn’t comment on that is worth flagging up. The authors presented graphs showing how many people were being tested and testing positive according to how many days before or after their jab their symptoms began (all the tests in this study were on people with symptoms, the symptoms likely having prompted them to get a Covid test).

There are a few notable points about these graphs. The steep drop-off in tests ahead of the jab may be due to people deferring their vaccination when they get symptoms (Government guidance is that you should not have the jab if you are unwell), or it may be people with symptoms not getting tested because they don’t want to have to cancel their jab.

The big spike in tests in the day or two after the AstraZeneca jab (ChAdOx1-S) is probably people being tested after getting Covid-like side-effects from the vaccination.

Note the high positivity rate (yellow bars) in the days after each jab. This confirms the post-vaccination infection spike (though some of it may be Covid caught prior to the injection that subsequently becomes symptomatic).

However, the main point I want to draw attention to here is how many people with symptomatic Covid are getting vaccinated. The bars in the seven days prior to vaccination represent thousands of people with Covid-like symptoms who go on to get vaccinated, many while still symptomatic. The orange bars represent hundreds of people with PCR-confirmed symptomatic COVID-19, many of them with symptoms beginning in the two days immediately prior to the jab, who go on to get vaccinated anyway. This is despite Government guidance that people who are unwell, particularly with COVID-19, should be deferring their vaccinations. In addition to this, some of those thousands of people whose Covid symptoms begin on the day of the jab or in the days immediately following might have been pre-symptomatically infectious.

It has been suggested that the post-vaccination infection spike may be driven by the vaccination programmes spreading the virus. (Another plausible mechanism is that the vaccines cause temporary immune suppression; these mechanisms are not mutually exclusive and both could be operating.)

Here, then, we have direct evidence that hundreds of people with symptomatic, test-positive Covid (plus potentially thousands in the infectious pre-symptomatic phase) were turning up and being vaccinated anyway. This reinforces the idea that the vaccination programmes could be spreading the virus.

It also prompts the question: why were vaccinators not following Government guidance and refusing to vaccinate those who are unwell, particularly those with symptomatic COVID-19? Could they not foresee that that would spread the virus to those being vaccinated and those doing the vaccinating?

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