2021-10-02/03/04/05/06 General

It is going to take me time to catch up, be patient. I spent a lot of time yesterday trying to understand how various non-coronavirus vaccines could provide some protection against COVID-19. I failed yesterday, but I will keep working on it (and posting other news).


This preprint says that people over 50 (i.e. those eligible) who got a Shingrix shingles vaccination before 1 March 2021 were 16% less likely to catch COVID-19 and 32% lower risk of hospitalization from COVID-19.

Now, I have discussed in the past how live attenuated virus vaccines seem to give some protection against COVID-19. Shingrix is not a live attenuated virus, but it does use AS01 adjuvant. As near as I can tell from this article, AOS01 revs up the innate immune system. The purpose (in the context of the Shingrix vaccine) of revving up the innate immune system was (if I understand correctly) to get the adaptive immune system’s attention.

This is the effectiveness against COVID-19:

infection (presumably symptomatic)14%19%
hospitalization 24%36%

The authors did not speculate much on why Shingrix should help, but they said, “Several studies with vaccines, including the tuberculosis vaccine Bacillus Calmette-GuĂ©rin (BCG), and measles, oral polio, and influenza vaccines, including vaccine adjuvants, demonstrate the ability of the innate immune system to form memory and to provide non-specific protection against heterologous infections.”

This study (from California in March 2021) found that people over 65 (i.e. those eligible) who had gotten a vaccine against Prevnar 13 (aka PCV13) — a vaccine against pneumococcal pneumonia — and found that PCV13 was 35%, 32%, and 32% effective against COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death, respectively.

Note that people over 50 also sometimes get a shingles vaccination, so that could be a confounding variable, but the paper says they controlled for that.

According to this site, Prevnar 13 does not contain live virus, so it’s not that it revved up the innate immune system in the same way as the MMR maybe does. The authors reference prior research that shows that there is synergy between pneumococci and respiratory viruses.

The authors also point out the protection is probably from PCV13 preventing pneumococci infecting the respiratory tract, not from something that happens later. If PCV13 was preventing bad things from happening after infection, then the infection / hospitalization / death efficacy values shouldn’t be so close to each other.

This preprint says that COVID-19 infections produce more antibodies to the “common cold” coronaviruses, while COVID-19 vaccination produces more antibodies specific to COVID-19.


This article says that John Archibald — the only National Hockey League player who was still refusing to get vaccinated — is no longer capable of playing hockey due to myocarditis that resulted from a COVID-19 infection.