Public and Global Health authorities continue to convince people to get jabbed despite the abundance of breakthrough infections. Their short-sighted rhetoric focuses on an alleged advantage offered by vaccines to protect people against severe disease (which doesn’t even apply when one considers the many unvaccinated subjects that are naturally protected against mild or moderate disease—thanks to their innate immunity—and are therefore also protected against severe disease). As breakthrough infections accumulate, immune escape variants will only become more and more prevalent. This is because vaccines that cannot protect against mild or moderate disease allow vaccinees to shed virus while rapidly recalling and boosting their original vaccinal antibodies (due to ‘antigenic sin’).
The combination of mounting antibody (Ab) titers and high viral load in an increasing part of the vaccinated population experiencing breakthrough infections only promotes further immune selection and dominant propagation of viral immune escape variants that are featured by a higher level of resistance to vaccine-induced immune pressure on viral infectiousness. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the recent emergence of Omicron resulted from large-scale breakthrough infections in a highly vaccinated population rather than from immune suppression in an HIV patient.
This is in sharp contrast to a situation where an unvaccinated individual contracts C-19 disease. Unvaccinated individuals contract C-19 disease as a result of the virus breaking through their innate immune defense; in that case, viral transmission occurs well in advance of the appearance of a robust humoral response and therefore doesn’t place immune pressure on viral infectiousness. The so-called de novo priming of anti-spike Abs that are directed at the relevant circulating SARS-CoV-2 variant prevents natural selection and adaptation of more infectious variants in the unvaccinated population whereas breakthrough boosting on a background of widespread vaccine-mediated immunity / immune memory only precipitates breeding of viral variants with improved immune escape properties.
Lowering the bar of vaccine efficacy down to protection against SEVERE disease is a vicious trick to leave the public with the false impression that C-19 vaccines are a blessing whereas exactly the opposite is true.
Geert Vanden Bossche received his DVM from the University of Ghent, Belgium, and his PhD degree in Virology from the University of Hohenheim, Germany. He held adjunct faculty appointments at universities in Belgium and Germany. After his career in Academia, Geert joined several vaccine companies (GSK Biologicals, Novartis Vaccines, Solvay Biologicals) to serve various roles in vaccine R&D as well as in late vaccine development.
Geert then moved on to join the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Discovery team in Seattle (USA) as Senior Program Officer; he then worked with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) in Geneva as Senior Ebola Program Manager. At GAVI he tracked efforts to develop an Ebola vaccine. He also represented GAVI in fora with other partners, including WHO, to review progress on the fight against Ebola and to build plans for global pandemic preparedness.
Back in 2015, Geert scrutinized and questioned the safety of the Ebola vaccine that was used in ring vaccination trials conducted by WHO in Guinea. His critical scientific analysis and report on the data published by WHO in the Lancet in 2015 was sent to all international health and regulatory authorities involved in the Ebola vaccination program. After working for GAVI, Geert joined the German Center for Infection Research in Cologne as Head of the Vaccine Development Office. He is at present primarily serving as a Biotech / Vaccine consultant while also conducting his own research on Natural Killer cell-based vaccines.