To understand the COVID vaccine and the delta variant, check out the chickens

After being promised that mRNA vaccines were game-changers that would safely and effectively end the pandemic, a new wave of uncertainty has descended upon the world with the rise of the delta variant.  Vaccinated people are falling ill with breakthrough infections of delta.

We first started hearing about the delta variant of COVID-19 in March 2021.  At that time, breakthrough infections among the fully vaccinated were rare.  Five months later, large numbers of vaccinated people are coming down with breakthrough infections.  Provincetown, Massachusetts had an outbreak after the Fourth of July where three-fourths of 469 infections were among vaccinated people.  What's even worse is the growing evidence that vaccinated people can spread delta just as much as unvaccinated people.

Meanwhile, we are told the shots are working and that the only reason there are large numbers of breakthrough infections is that there are large numbers of vaccinated people.  I would have thought a game-changing vaccine that is safe and effective would result in fewer infections, let alone infection from a dangerous new variant that is just as contagious in the vaccinated as the unvaccinated.  That's what I would have thought, but now I'm thinking about Marek's disease.

Marek's disease affects chickens, not humans.  It's one of the deadliest viruses in the world, killing one hundred percent of unvaccinated chickens in ten days.  Not even Ebola, one of the most feared viruses that affects humans, kills everyone it infects.  Maybe only ten percent of people infected with Ebola live, but that's still ten percent more than chickens infected with Marek's.

And why am I thinking about a disease that infects only chickens?  It's because the vaccine for Marek's not only protects chickens against the disease but it also makes the virus far more dangerous.  Vaccinated birds rarely die but can spread Marek's to unvaccinated birds, just as vaccinated humans can spread variants of COVID to unvaccinated humans.

There are perfect vaccines, like the polio, smallpox, and measles vaccines.  These vaccines confer lifelong immunity with no need for boosters and no danger of infection or transmission.  The COVID vaccines are leaky vaccines, like flu vaccines.  They confer limited immunity, do not block infection or transmission, and need regular boosters.

Leaky vaccines set up a constant mutation in the viruses they protect against because viruses evolve to get around vaccines.  A recent study showed that the vaccine against Marek's had caused the virus to mutate in directions that made it more dangerous, killing birds even faster and creating a situation where super-hot variants could emerge that could devastate the chicken industry.

Could it happen with the COVID mRNA vaccines?  These are experimental vaccines so leaky that less than a year into human trials, a dangerous new variant has emerged.  Instead of pausing the universal vaccination program, the government is trying to mandate vaccination for all, including children.  Booster shots are already being called for.  Are we following the wisest course to keep our population healthy?  Or are we running around like chickens with Marek's disease, setting ourselves up for mutated viruses that no vaccine will keep at bay?

Pandra Selivanov is the author of The Pardon, a story of forgiveness based on the thief on the cross in the Bible. 

Image: Chickens by Danganhfoto.  Pixabay license.

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