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Muz1234

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Are you guys vaccinated? Is it not allow to travel to any country without any vaccination nowadays?
 

nice gaijin

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It depends on where you're coming from and where you're going. This page will let you set your origin and see which countries are open, restricted, or closed to travelers from your country: Where can I travel to? Travel Restrictions by Country | KAYAK

The CDC (US-focused) also has its own travel recommendations, depending on individual country's risk levels: COVID-19 and Your Health

Important to note that this is very much a global pandemic and things are constantly changing as we are still in the middle of it, which is why I recommend using resources that are frequently updated. Every country is on their own timeline for their own infection rates, treatment and vaccination capabilities. We could go into the how's and why's, but that may belong in another thread.

Personally, I am fully vaccinated but I still don't feel terribly comfortable going out/traveling in my own country as things are reopening, so it'll probably be quite a while before I'll be ready to travel internationally again.
 

Uncle Frank

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Since I hardly leave my house , I planned NOT to get vaccinated. Then my high school buddy my age and in better shape got the virus. They tried everything , including the blood transfusion bit , and he was dead in 2 weeks. I got my 2 shots soon after.
 

nice gaijin

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Since I hardly leave my house , I planned NOT to get vaccinated. Then my high school buddy my age and in better shape got the virus. They tried everything , including the blood transfusion bit , and he was dead in 2 weeks. I got my 2 shots soon after.
@Uncle Frank I'm sorry to hear about your friend, and I'm glad that you changed your mind and protected yourself and those around you.

In the age of post-truth, it's easy to get misinformed, and a compelling story can easily push facts out of the public discourse; I've been struggling to deal with family members who are outright anti-vax at this point. In the end, your choices reflect what you felt was right in the moment; it's only unfortunate that it took such a loss to change your mind.
 

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This one made me smile a bit , LOL.

dgts.jpg
 

mdchachi

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There's one guy at work who has admitted to waiting to take the vaccine because someone he knew had a bad reaction of some sort. Yet all the people dead or dying from the actual sickness doesn't seem to have any weight?? As somebody else said, we're all going to get vaccinated one way or another. It's better to get vaccinated via a vaccine than the disease.
 

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I won't be surprised if , like the flu shot , we start getting a covid shot each & every year from now on.
 

nice gaijin

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There's one guy at work who has admitted to waiting to take the vaccine because someone he knew had a bad reaction of some sort. Yet all the people dead or dying from the actual sickness doesn't seem to have any weight?? As somebody else said, we're all going to get vaccinated one way or another. It's better to get vaccinated via a vaccine than the disease.
People are terrible at understanding risks and statistics, and are much more influenced by anecdotes. It would be interesting to measure the persuasive strength of anecdotes by proximity of the subject to the listener, and the kinds of preconceptions they hold, to better figure out how to convince people to do things that are right for themselves and society.

I admit worrying briefly if I would have any side effects, and cleared my schedule following my shots so I'd have a chance to recover, but I knew that any effects I felt would pass in a day or two because I know how the vaccines work. Fortunately for me, I only experienced a sore arm for the first shot, and almost nothing for the second. And now I have much less to worry about in terms of natural COVID infection, which could be much worse for me. More importantly, getting vaccinated lowered the chance I could pass it on to people around me who are even more vulnerable, and I wouldn't handle that survivor's guilt too well knowing I could've done something about it.
I won't be surprised if , like the flu shot , we start getting a covid shot each & every year from now on.
This is a possibility. As time drags on and people continue to delay or avoid vaccination, the more chance the virus has to mutate beyond the effectiveness of our current vaccines, requiring more vaccines to be developed in the future to fill the gaps. The current COVID vaccines seem to have some lasting efficacy, but there is talk of possible boosters, especially for the one-shot vaccines like Johnson & Johnson's.

The reason we have seasonal flu shots is because there are so many variants of influenza; they're mostly guessing which variants will be "trending" in the coming season and they aren't always right, which is why it seems like the flu shot can be "pointless." Catch a variant that isn't covered, and the vaccine doesn't help you. It's about risk mitigation, not total protection.

A side benefit of all the lockdowns/masking/social distancing has been a huge decrease in the spread of influenza, decreasing the number of flu variants, which may make flu vaccines more effective in the coming seasons as it'll be easier to predict which variants will be dominant this fall/winter.
 

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Have there been any reports of deaths after getting vaccinated in Japan?
 

nice gaijin

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Have there been any reports of deaths after getting vaccinated in Japan?
I did a quick search and found one case mentioned here. This is from back in March, so perhaps there's an update to this story to see if they were actually able to establish a causal relationship with the vaccine:

I'd be interested to know if the rates of adverse reactions has also changed from this earlier point in their vaccination campaign, as their initial rates of severe infection were substantially higher than those measured in the US during the testing program

Apparently there's a long-standing system to compensate the family of victims who die from a vaccine:

It's also important to note that people dying after getting a vaccine is not the same thing as people dying because of the vaccine. The American self-reported VAERS system accepts all reports, and is very slow to investigate and confirm the accuracy of reports.
 

musicisgood

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I did a quick search and found one case mentioned here. This is from back in March, so perhaps there's an update to this story to see if they were actually able to establish a causal relationship with the vaccine:

I'd be interested to know if the rates of adverse reactions has also changed from this earlier point in their vaccination campaign, as their initial rates of severe infection were substantially higher than those measured in the US during the testing program

Apparently there's a long-standing system to compensate the family of victims who die from a vaccine:

It's also important to note that people dying after getting a vaccine is not the same thing as people dying because of the vaccine. The American self-reported VAERS system accepts all reports, and is very slow to investigate and confirm the accuracy of reports.
Thanks for the above information.
 

nice gaijin

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Just for some perspective, according to this tracker 66.7 million doses have been administered in Japan, with the fully vaccinated population sitting just over 20%, which is still pretty low. Last updated July 15 (yesterday).

This WHO tracker doesn't seem to be as up-to-date, being last updated June 24th, at which point only 37 million doses had been administered. So they're ramping up, but still have a long way to go. At that point, there had been 831,193 confirmed cases of covid, and 15,014 deaths. I haven't found a more up-to-date number.

I searched again and found one more person who seems to have suffered a heart attack shortly after getting a dose of pfizer. Like with the woman mentioned before, no causal link has been proven yet.

According to this page, almost 41 million people in Japan have received at least one dose of the vaccine (which seems about right given the total doses administered and the population of the country, 66 million total doses - 41 million people with at least one shot == about 25 million fully vaccinated people, or about 20% of the total population of ~126 million)

Sooo, in Japan alone we've got an average case fatality rate of covid at around 2% (in line with the global average), with 15,000 people dead. On the other hand, we have 41 million people receiving at least one dose of vaccine, and I am only seeing reports of 2 deaths. Even if we were to establish a causal link and say they definitely died from an adverse reaction (just for the sake of argument), it seems pointless to try and calculate a "death rate" from these numbers, as they are so infinitesimally small. As the data stands, there really is no comparison to the risks, as 50x the number of people have gotten (at least one shot of) the vaccine than have gotten covid, with 7000x more people dying from covid than from the vaccine, assuming direct causation of both.

I've been struggling with this concept of vaccine hesitancy lately, as some of my own family members are now antivax, which is so hard to deal with. I think part of the challenge of it is that you choose to get vaccinated, so it feels like you're deliberately taking a risk of an adverse reaction in getting the shot. But there's a few points to remember:
  1. The risk of adverse reaction to the vaccines is extremely low, and at-risk groups are known and informed or given alternatives. 3.5+ billion doses have been administered so far, even if every reported death after vaccination were directly caused by the shot, it would be a fraction of a percent.
  2. Correlation has not been established in reported events of adverse reaction, making it difficult to verify there actually is any risk, based on anecdotes alone
  3. The fewer people get vaccinated, the more chance it has to move through the population
  4. The more it moves through the population, the more chance it has to mutate (as it already has with the variants), which could lessen the effectiveness of the vaccines
  5. The risk of catching covid is much higher when it's moving through the community, and while there's no guarantee that you'll get it, you don't choose if and when you catch it.
  6. If infected, you can't be sure if you'll be asymptomatic, have a mild case, end up in the ICU, on a ventilator, or dead. Being young or otherwise healthy is not a protective shield in the way that antibodies are.
  7. The vaccines have proven to be very effective against covid, to the point that almost everyone getting hospitalized are unvaccinated, with surprisingly few breakthrough infections.
  8. Bottom line, we shouldn't be gambling with our health, and covid is a terrible lottery to play; it's only a matter of how much you stand to lose. When you run the numbers, there is no question. Get the shot when you can.
 
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nice gaijin

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More information is coming to light as the delta variant accounts for 95% of hospitalizations now, to the point that they're not bothering checking for everyone (I guess that test is more expensive). From what I gather, Delta is much more virulent than other variations, with a lot more of the virus living in your sinuses, meaning it'll be easy to infect those around you through exhaled particles (hence the return to mask mandates we're seeing, which I hate but can't argue with).

The vaccination and natural immunity don't prevent you from re-infection--only a physical barrier can keep the virus from getting into your body eventually--but it's just a matter of how quickly your body can deal with the infection, and whether it gets bad enough to require hospitalization. Unfortunately even if you have immunity you stand a higher chance to be exactly what we feared: asymptomic or mildly symptomatic, but still able to infect others. This compounds the spread like a weekly interest with each incubation cycle.

Which gives it an R0 (R-naught) estimated at somewhere from 6 to 8, meaning the average number of people whom each infected person will pass it to. Anything above 1 means the virus is spreading. This puts it in the infectious company of chickenpox in terms of how quickly it can multiply in a community that doesn't work to stop the spread. I remember my parents just deciding to toss me into playdates to give me chickenpox to "get it over with." I was worried at the onset of March last year that people would do that and roll the dice, just hoping for a mild case and natural immunity. Vaccines weren't expected for possibly years, so in the beginning this would have been almost reasonable. I'm relieved that people haven't proven so foolhardy; certainly no one intends to get sick or worse, we just tend to think we can beat the odds.

When you look at the charts below, it seems like with unchecked spread it's just a matter of time before, as @mdchachi put it, we're all vaccinated one way or another. My other fear was that the Trump administration would falter and essentially leave it to burn through the public like a wildfire. They stumbled in a lot of ways, but we do have vaccines in record time, so if Operation Warp Speed is due any credit they can have it. The Vaccines seem remarkably effective, and vaccination efforts have finally picked up momentum. Every bit counts when you're looking at this amount of spread

delta_single_R01_3.gif
delta_single_R02_5.gif


delta_single_R06.gif
delta_single_R08.gif

(source: Visualizing contagion: how infectious is delta?)

With immunity it's a roll of the dice how well you can fight off the infection, and isn't necessarily a walk in the park. The localized immunity of the vaccines means you may not have a strong immune response until the virus tries to drop into your chest. It's just as deadly for the unvaccinated or those who haven't already had covid, as nearly all of the daily deaths and ICU patients haven't been vaccinated, so while a lot of folks are suffering, it's the vaccine-hesitant who are getting the worst of it now.

(sources: PolitiFact - Data showing lower death rate for coronavirus delta variant doesn’t mean it’s less dangerous)

An in-law coordinates hospital transfers for a major network throughout the state and has seen a lot more pediatric cases lately, so I'm resolute to do my part to help protect those who can't get vaccinated, to give us all a fighting chance. Unless enough of us stand up in solidarity to protect our communities, covid will become another endemic disease that we can't shake. It will literally become "a more deadly flu," as people get exhausted with quarantines, masks and social distancing. People die from the flu every year, but how often do any of us spend much time worrying about the coming flu season? And so the animations above will continue to play out.

Some will act accordingly, others will eventually reach their breaking points, and the banality of the death of others will eventually lead to people doing what they do best: whatever they feel like doing, and finding reason in it to justify their actions. All I can do is to share my own motivations and what data convinced me, try to be as transparent as possible and hope that it inspires others to do what they can as well.
 

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@nice gaijin, I have nothing to add but thanks for your elucidation! 🙏

It's just sad that those sceptical of vaccinations will never take the time to look at the facts in an unbiased and rational fashion.
 

mdchachi

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It's just sad that those sceptical of vaccinations will never take the time to look at the facts in an unbiased and rational fashion.
To be honest with you, I'd have to think twice and do a lot of research before I decide to take Sputnik or Sinovac. (Luckily it's not a choice I have to make.)
 

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I'll say one thing , the internet never stops talking about the virus and the nightly news is loaded with talk about it. I wonder if I will live long enough to ever see the end of it all and return to a more normal life. This Facebook post was an interesting way to look at it.

228382312_10158330206753133_9006038839384912899_n.jpg
 

nice gaijin

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I'll say one thing , the internet never stops talking about the virus and the nightly news is loaded with talk about it. I wonder if I will live long enough to ever see the end of it all and return to a more normal life. This Facebook post was an interesting way to look at it.

View attachment 47298
I heard that food is full of chemicals and molecules, my family isn't a science experiment! /sarcasm

Ironically, those who say they don't want to participate in this "science experiment" are in fact the control group.

To be honest with you, I'd have to think twice and do a lot of research before I decide to take Sputnik or Sinovac. (Luckily it's not a choice I have to make.)
I don't think there's anything wrong with being skeptical or cautious, and I understand the hesitancy around new technologies or solutions that feel rushed. At this point, we have a pretty big dataset to look at and analyze the relative risks, so I would hope that anyone with reservations about getting vaccinated are paying attention to the process and updating their opinions as our understanding develops. I haven't looked into these vaccines before (not being available in the US, they aren't really on my radar much) but is seems like they're likely to get general approval from the WHO; the only question is what degree of protection do they provide, and will they prove effective against the more virulent variants.

Back when the vaccination programs started ramping up there was a lot of attention paid to their relative efficacy, and the idea of which vaccine should we try to get. I remember doctors and health officials saying not to worry so much about that, and that any protection is better than none at all (probably because if everyone was demanding to specify which one they receive, the already complex mess of logistics would be that much worse). As I indicated above, if worse comes to worse, the fundamental hope is that vaccination can spare us from severe illness and save lives. Now I see it as quite a luxury that we even have so many vaccines available to us, using a variety of approaches, and seem to have relatively minimal risks associated.
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Vaccine-Effectiveness-Chart.jpeg


sources:
The Lancet - Safety and efficacy of an rAd26 and rAd5 vector-based heterologous prime-boost COVID-19 vaccine: an interim analysis of a randomised controlled phase 3 trial in Russia
 

nice gaijin

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The world is coming to an end, enough said...
There are many concerning issues facing our world; covid has changed many things, but it's not bringing the world crashing down. At least compared to climate change, this feels like an issue where your individual decisions have a more definite, direct impact, and can help the problem or make it worse. I would recommend not being too wrapped up in gloom and doom.
 
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