I am, indeed, predicting this and keep urging all global and international health authorities and political leaders to call an immediate and world-wide halt to the ongoing mass vaccination campaigns. All this simply because they are going to breed more infectious variants? Yes, indeed, but as I am trying to explain over and over again, the consequences of this breeding are ‘simply’ going to be disastrous. The end-game of this unthoughtful gambling will not be herd immunity as they predict (promise?) but viral resistance to the vaccine. So, in other words, when ongoing mass vaccinations campaigns continue, not the human race but the virus will win. All this just because health authorities are adhering to a completely faulty logic. Deployment of vaccines devoid of transmission-blocking capacity in large scale immunization campaigns conducted in the heat of a pandemic of a highly mutable virus will inevitably promote propagation of more infectious immune escape variants with selective mutations (S-directed, in case of Covid-19 vaccines). The latter result from selective immune pressure on viral infectiousness. The epidemiological consequences of this selective immune pressure will not become apparent as long as the effective reproduction number (‘infectious pressure’) is high enough for the virus to replicate and transmit (ideally, by causing disease). It is generally believed that when the effective reproduction number drops below 1, the disease will eventually stop spreading because not enough susceptible people are being infected to sustain viral replication. This effective reproduction number takes into account the number of people dying, admitted to the hospital or testing positive for the virus. However, the amount of people testing positive for Covid-19 is now increasingly underestimated. This is because the vast majority of vaccinees are no longer getting tested for Covid-19 as health authorities have now moved from monitoring all reported vaccine breakthrough cases to focus on identifying and investigating only hospitalized or fatal cases due to any cause. To assess viral transmission by vaccinees, the effective reproduction number would need to also include breakthrough cases in symptomless vaccinees and those coming down with mild symptoms only. Furthermore, to examine the capacity of these vaccinees to breed more infectious variants, it would also be critical to characterize the virus they shed, especially in regard of S-directed immune escape mutations. The ‘official’ effective reproduction number (i.e., as currently erroneously reported by health authorities) mirrors the susceptibility of the population to Covid-19 disease but not to viral infection and transmission
. The higher the ‘official’ effective reproduction number, the higher the susceptibility of the non-vaccinated part of the population to Covid-19 disease and the more time it will take for more infectious variants to be bred and shed by asymptomatic vaccinees. This is to say that the higher the infectious pressure, the more time it will take for mass vaccination campaigns to cause a resurgence in the morbidity and mortality rate. As mass vaccination campaigns initially target the elderly or otherwise vulnerable people, this resurgence will now primarily occur in non-vaccinated healthy subjects belonging to younger age groups. The initial drop in morbidity and mortality rate caused by mass vaccination campaigns targeting first the most vulnerable part of the population will be more pronounced when those campaigns are conducted on a background of high infectious pressure. It is reasonable to assume that asymptomatically infected vaccinees contribute more to transmission of circulating, more infectious variants than non-vaccinated, asymptomatically infected persons. This is because individuals immunized with Covid-19 vaccines are unable to prevent replication and shedding of at least a number of more infectious variants whereas non-vaccinated, asymptomatically infected subjects are capable of abrogating viral infection and hence, transmission of any variant within a few days after infection. On a background of low infectious pressure, vaccinated subjects are also more likely to exert suboptimal S-directed immune pressure on viral infectiousness. Consequently, when health authorities claim that the pandemic is decreasing in strength (based on the ‘official’ effective reproduction number), it merely means that the infection and transmission dynamics of the pandemic are now increasingly transitioning to healthy people in general and vaccinees in particular
. As viral shedding in asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic vaccinees goes currently fully unreported, the altered, much more threatening dynamics of viral transmission are no longer captured. This has now led health authorities and other stakeholders of these mass vaccination campaigns to downplay the risk of this Covid-19 pandemic causing an extremely vehement rebound. That is why they’re not taking my arguments seriously!
In conclusion, well-advanced mass vaccination campaigns contribute to the current decline in morbidity and mortality rates as now observed in a growing number of countries. However, the concomitant drop in infectious pressure/ effective reproduction number as officially reported does not take into account that mass vaccination campaigns in the vulnerable shift viral transmission dynamics from the symptomatically to the asymptomatically infected part of the population. When the ‘official’ effective reproduction number drops below 1, it doesn’t mean that the pandemic is losing strength but it rather indicates that it is now using asymptomatic spreaders, primarily vaccinees, to incubate a new generation of more infectious variants to cause Covid-19 disease in those who resisted the disease thus far (i.e., primarily healthy and non-vaccinated subjects in younger age groups). The more and faster young and healthy people get vaccinated, the less the ‘official’ effective reproduction number will drop below 1 before morbidity and mortality rates in younger, non-vaccinated age groups rise (as their vaccination will contribute more to expanding the breeding ground for highly infectious variants to propagate than to lowering the morbidity rate). Sadly enough, at this very moment where a growing number of countries has begun to witness a shift of viral transmission dynamics from the symptomatically to the asymptomatically infected part of the population (in particular to asymptomatically infected vaccinees!), health authorities and politicians are pushing like never before for speedy vaccine coverage of the younger age groups (even including children!) while starting to relax public health and social measures, including travel restrictions. There can be no doubt that the combination of rapid and extensive enrolment of younger age groups in the ongoing mass vaccination campaigns, together with diminished containment of more infectious circulating variants and vaccinated and unvaccinated people intermingling, will lead to a dramatic resurgence of morbidity and mortality rates, especially in the younger, non-vaccinated age groups. I am now expecting this to occur in a number of regions or even entire countries during this coming summer. As higher vaccine coverage rates lead to high immune pressure on viral infectiousness, it is difficult to imagine how this would not cause dominant, highly infectious variants to eventually evolve full resistance
to the vaccines. When viral resistance occurs, especially vaccinees would become highly susceptible to Covid-19 disease, regardless of their age. This is because vaccinees experience substantial suppression of their CoV-nonspecific, natural Abs by S-specific vaccinal Abs. Only when vaccinated after they recovered from Covid-19 disease could vaccinees rely on protective cytolytic memory T cells and hence, become less susceptible to contracting severe Covid-19 disease. Vaccine manufacturers claim that they’re already in the process of making new vaccines that better match the antigenic constellation of the more infectious variants. However, as a hardcore vaccinologist, I can already tell that this is not going to solve the problem. First, they will need to strengthen adjuvantation of their vaccines to overcome the well-known ‘antigenic sin’ issue (https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.04.03.438330v1.full.pdf
). However, adding new adjuvants to vaccines has been the single most important stumbling block in modern vaccinology. But even more importantly, the virus will continue to evolve towards enhanced infectiousness and vaccine resistance as long as the conditions for those evolutionary dynamics are fulfilled, i.e., as long as mass vaccination using non-sterilizing vaccines are conducted in the heat of a pandemic of a highly mutable virus
In a final contribution, I will expand on how we could break this chain of complete madness. Clearly, this will require an immediate halt of all mass vaccination campaigns (as repeatedly urged for) to re-direct interventions at early multidrug treatment, large-scale chemoprophylaxis and/ or immunization strategies capable of withstanding an immediate attack and continuous crossfire from a highly mutable virus.