Here’s a great NYT “interactive” story that points out, if there’s an outbreak of the virus in a community where most of the people are vaccinated, most of the people who catch the disease will be vaccinated, simply because most of the people have been vaccinated. (I remind my students that if there are more shark attacks on hot days, it’s not the heat that causes the sharks to attack; with more people in the water, more people will encounter sharks, hence more attacks. When there are more people in a community who are vaccinated, the people who do get infected face less serious illness, but they still count as infected. These numbers are being misunderstood and/or distorted in order to stoke people’s pre-existing fears about vaccines.)
From the article:
[E]xperts say outbreaks that have occurred in heavily vaccinated groups, like the July 4 cluster in Provincetown, Mass., or those in two San Francisco hospitals, have shown the power of the vaccines: Remarkably few people faced severe illness, contrasted with how a similar outbreak may have played out in a community with a low vaccination rate.
Of at least 965 positive cases that were traced to heavily vaccinated Provincetown, where around 60,000 people had gathered for the holiday weekend, not a single death was reported and just seven people were hospitalized.
While a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report suggested it’s possible that fully immunized people may also transmit the virus to others as easily, another recent study has shown that those who are fully vaccinated may carry the virus, and therefore be contagious, for fewer days than their unvaccinated counterparts. That suggests an even bigger overall difference in transmission between places with high and low vaccination rates.