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Triple-vaccinated are 4.5 times as likely to test positive for a probable Omicron infection than the unvaccinated

According to a new study by the ONS (Office for National Statistics) in the UK, triple-vaccinated individuals are 4.5 more likely to test positive for Omicron than unvaccinated individuals. The analysis used data from 1,816 individuals between the dates of November 29th, 2021-December 12th, 2021.

The study PDF can be viewed or downloaded here.

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Screening CharacteristicCategoryChance of pos. Omicron test
Vaccination statusNot vaccinated 1
Vaccination status1 dose1.57
Vaccination status2 doses, more than 14 days ago2.26
Vaccination status3 doses, more than 14 days ago4.45
Previous COVID-19 infectionNo (Reference)1
Previous COVID-19 infectionYes3.22
Work StatusEmployed, working (Reference)1
Work StatusEmployed, not working0.67
Work StatusNot working0.70
Work StatusRetired0.94
Work StatusChild/student1.62
Travel abroad status (In the last 28 days)No (Reference)1
Travel abroad status (In the last 28 days)Yes4.60

Here is the information, as provided by ONS release:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, UK: Characteristics related to having an Omicron compatible result in those who test positive for COVID-19

Today we have published some early results from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey showing the characteristics of people more likely to be infected with the Omicron variant compared with the Delta variant. These early results are based only on the first fortnight’s data that have sufficient cases for analysis on the Omicron variant, so caution is advised. Fuller analysis based on more data from our survey will be published when available.

Cases compatible with the Omicron variant are characterised by the absence of the ‘S’ gene on a positive test, one of three genes that a PCR test detects, the others being OR and N, and a high viral load. Cases with a high viral load and an absent ‘S’ gene are characterised in this analysis as a potential Omicron case. All other cases are likely to be cases of the Delta variant or its genetic descendants. 

This analysis evaluates, for those who tested as a strong positive (cycle Threshold (Ct) value <30) between 29 November 2021 and 12 December 2021, the characteristics which were associated with individuals who had results compatible with the Omicron variant. Results not compatible with Omicron are suspected Delta cases. These effects show the relative likelihood of having a result compatible with Omicron compared to the reference group for each characteristic studied. 

There are 1,816 positive individuals included in the analysis, of which 115 tested positive compatible with Omicron. See note at end of document for the definition of ‘compatible with Omicron’ and ‘compatible with Delta’.

The model uses a similar process to our usual predictors of positivity analysis, published regularly in our Characteristics of people testing positive release. However, only individuals who test as a strong positive (Ct<30) are included, since weaker positive results of the Delta variant could be identified as compatible with Omicron. The model identifies the probability of these individuals having positive results compatible with Omicron. 

Main Points

Age: Compared to other ages, young children testing positive for COVID-19 are less likely to have infections compatible with the Omicron variant. Those in their 20s and 30s with COVID-19, however, are more likely to have infections compatible with the Omicron variant.

Deprivation: Those infected with COVID-19 who live in more deprived areas are more likely to test positive with infections compatible with the Omicron variant.

Urban: Those infected with COVID-19 and living in major urban areas and urban cities/towns are more like to test positive with infections compatible with the Omicron variant compared to those living in rural areas.

Ethnicity: There is some evidence to suggest that people who test positive, for COVID-19 who report being from ethnic minorities are more likely to test positive with infections compatible with the Omicron variant compared to those who identify themselves as White.

Traveling abroad: Those who travelled abroad in the last 28 days and test positive for COVID-19 are more likely to test positive for infections compatible with the Omicron variant compared to those who did not travel.

Reinfection: Those who have previously been infected with COVID-19 and become reinfected are more likely to test positive for an infection compatible with the Omicron variant, compared with those who test positive with their first infections. 

Vaccination status: Those who have received three doses of a vaccine and test positive for COVID-19 are more likely to be infected with infections compatible with the Omicron variant compared with those who are unvaccinated, though individuals who had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine continued to be less likely to test positive for COVID-19, regardless of variant. It is too early to draw conclusions from our data on the effectiveness of vaccines against the Omicron variant.

10 replies on “Triple-vaccinated are 4.5 times as likely to test positive for a probable Omicron infection than the unvaccinated”

What thos study shows is that the vaccines, particularly with boosters, are incredibly effective at preventing all other variants other than omicron. The only variant liley able to escape boosted individuals is Omicron.

This study was done prior to Omicron becoming the dominant variant. If this study was repeated now, I 1000% guarantee that the statistics would normalize among all the groups. This is simply because there will be no other variants circulating in large numbers once Omicron pushes them out.

It’s sad to see a lot of places misunderstanding this data, and advancing it as some kind of evidence that getting boosted increases your chances of catching Omicron. That is completely incorrect.

But why are vaccinated people 4.5 times more likely to test posutive than someone who’s unvaccinated? Am I living in a twilight zone – those are the black and white words and they. make. no. sense

I’d also add that this study does not control for potential for exposure, therefore comparisions between groups are invalid. At the time when this data was taken (I believe) booster shots were only available if you worked in a high risk occupation.

My comment got deleted, so I’ll post this again…

This study actually demonstrates that the vaccines are very effective at preventing COVID, and that the only variant likely able to evade a boosted individual is Omicron. The study does NOT demonstrate that boosted individuals are more likely to CATCH COVID.

To explain a bit further, this study was done before Omicron became dominant. So if your looking at a random sampling of individuals with different vaccination statuses, the less vaccinated you are, the more likely you are to present with any type of variant (but most likely Delta, because at the time, Delta made up the vast majority of positive cases). Boosted individuals are very unlikely to become infected with any pre-Omicron variant, so if you tested boosted individuals who are infected with COVID, it’s highly likely to be Omicron, as all other variants have little chance to infect a boosted individual.

If this study were repeated today, the groups would all start to normalize and look the same. This is simply because the vast majority of all infections are Omicron. Other variants are rapidly being pushed out by Omicron. So once 99% of all cases are Omicron, anybody you test who has been infected, boosted, vaxxed or not vaxxed will be about 100% certain to be positive with Omicron. This is just simple logic.

So this study is a great example of how effective the vaccines are, and why you should go get boosted with the Omicron variant spreading so rapidly.

Hope everybody reads this comment!

Incorrect meggman. The vaccines are not “incredibly effective” against other variants. Are they effective? Yes. Are they “incredibly effective”? Nope. After 2 months, vaccine effectiveness drops to 70-74%. After 3 months that drops to 53%-66% and then continues to get worse. That is FAR from “incredibly effective”.

With Omicron, the data shows the vaccines are absolutely horrid at providing protection. When compared to unvaccinated individuals, the chance of getting Omicron gets worse the more vaccinations you have received.

A contributing factor to the study findings here however could be behavior patterns of those who are vaccinated. Too many vaccinated individuals act as if they can do whatever they want and not spread COVID, when obviously they can. If vaccinated people are engaging in more indoor activities (airplanes, trains, bars, restaurants, etc.), they are going to be the ones spreading and catching the virus in higher numbers.

Please re-read my last post careful, and carefully run the logic in your head. Write it out if you need to. You are simply wrong the boosted individuals are more likely to get infected with COVID than unvaccinated.

Your statement “When compared to unvaccinated individuals, the chance of getting Omicron gets worse the more vaccinations you have received.” is just flat out incorrect. Getting more vaccine does not make you more likely to get COVID. HOWEVER, the more vaccine you get, then IF you do happen to get infected with COVID, it is much more likely that Omicron was the cause. This is because Omicron is the only variant at this point consistently capable of overcoming existing vaccines.

Like I said, once Omicron becomes vastly dominant, these stats will normalize. If you understand my first argument, you’ll understand why. I’m not trying to be political here. I’m just trying to walk you through how to correctly interpret this data. Happy to walk you through it more so you can see what I’m trying explain here

Youre arguing with the specific words of the report! On what basis? Read it again: vaccinated people are 4.5 times more likely to get omicron than unvaccinated people. Omicron is the virus!

You just said “This is because Omicron is the only variant at this point consistently capable of overcoming existing vaccines.” The only variant? So you think vaccines are 100% effective against Delta variant and others? You really are clueless like so many others. The vaccines, while they have definitely saved lives, are FAR from providing perfect defense. Vaccine effectiveness against Delta variant is not great, especially since their effectiveness wanes over time. But hey, I won’t waste any more time on someone that doesn’t use logic.

Oh boy…. That is not at all what I’m trying to say. No vaccine is 100% effective. I’m not claiming that.

What I’m trying to explain, in a plain, logical manner, is that when you put these groups head to head with each other, AND Omicron is not yet dominant, the boosted group is going to be the most likely to present with Omicron. But thay does NOT mean the boosted group is mostly likely to catch COVID. For fron it. The act of getting boosted does NOT make you more likely to getting infected vs. a group that has less vaccination. Getting boosted makes you much less likely to get infected than any other group, especially vs unvaccinated people. This is fact. HOWEVER, if you do in fact have a breakthrough infection, and you’re boosted, it’s highly likely that the breakthrough infection was caused by Omicron, because Omicron is the best at breaking throught all vaccines. If your boosted, you’re much less likely to see a breakthrough of Delta, because it’s rare for Delta to breakthrough a boosted individual. Remember, this study is just looking at Omicron infections among already infected individuals. It isn’t a study looking at how likely they are to have a breakthrough infection (or in the case of unvaccinated, just get infected)

Now fast forward to a point where 99% of all infections are Omicron, and Delta has effectively been pushed out (probably another week or so away). In that case, all breakthrough infections in all groups will be Omicron. This is because at that point, there nothing left around but Omicron to get infected with. So if this study was repeated you’d see all groups presenting the same results. They would all be equally likely to present with Omicron, because nothing else is out there to be infected with. When this study was conducted, Omicron was like 3% of all infections, so there were other variants out there to cause breakthroughs. But those variants weren’t as efficient as breaking throught boosted individuals.

Does this all make sense? I wish I could whiteboard all of this out, so I could spell this out more clearly. I think if we could sit down and go through it, you’d see what I’m trying to illustrate here. Not trying to bend the truth or anything. Just dryly trying to explain what they study means.

Like imagine if Delta is a sphere, and omicron is a cube. And the vaccines at different doses are a strainer with various shaped holes. Unvaxxed individuals have no strainer, so everything gets in. Then a fully vaxxed person (2 shots) has a strainer with some round holes in it, and a huge amount of square holes in it. So sometimes Delta will get through and Omicron will frequently get through. But when it’s raining 90% Delta, it just drowns out the likelihood of observing Omicron getting through. Then a boosted person has a strainer that has a low amount of square holes and almost no round holes (maybe 1 or two round holes). So even when it’s raining Delta, and just a little bit of Omicron, you’re just not really going to see much Delta go through. There just aren’t enough round holes. When something does get through, its going most likely be Omicron. And if you compare that boosted strainer against the other two, your more likely so see Omicron to get through the boosted strainer. That’s how you get the results in the study.

But if it’s only raining Omicron (like where we will be soon vs when the study was done), all the strainers will only let Omicron through because it’s only raining Omicron, nothing else. In this case their likelihood results all look the same. There’s no more Delta around to get through the strainer.

I hope this makes sense.

Public Health winter report Scotland issued 19th January states that per 100,000 cohort the unvaccinated have the lowest cases. 2 jabs the most, followed by 3 jabs, then 1 jab. It goes on to show that folk per 100,000 ratio dying, the most are the 2 jabs, then 3, then the unvaccinated, then 1 jab. The virus doesn’t care that Scotland is highly vaccinated, it’s worked out how to escape, vaccines, how it mutates is the next issue, if modified and it probably is, will this alter the natural process of weakening infection?? Let’s hope not, the short term gain of mRNA, may be booster for long term disaster. Zendog

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