One Finite Planet

One Finite Planet

Vaccines: yes, some stories are too good to be true.

Date Published:

I have been following Covid-19 since January 2020 I felt the world too complacent, through to today March 17 2021, when I now fear there may be too much faith in vaccines. Israel has been at the forefront of vaccination, and should provide an early indicator of what to expect. So today I thought I would check on the latest from Israel. What I found sounded almost unbelievable good! Until I realised, yes, it should not be believed. The data is presented in a very misleading way.

  • The Story, 99.9% Efficacy? Not So Fast! Maybe 90%
  • The Reality: Unchanged.
  • Vaccine deception, its everywhere.
  • Coming posts:
    • When Vaccines can increase the risk of catching Covid-19.
    • Astra-Zeneca and blot clots.
    • When Vaccine Passports do work, and how!

The Story: 99.9% Efficacy? Not So Fast! Maybe 90%.

The Report.

A person fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with Pfizer’s inoculation has a one in 1,000 chance of contracting the disease, data analysis released on Wednesday by an Israeli HMO shows.

Israel News: Feb 18, 2021.

The story goes on to reveal on 608 people from 620,000 people who have been fully inoculated developed Covid-19, and of those 21 had been hospitalised. It was not specifically stated, but assumedly none of those 21 died.

When I first read this, I though ‘wow’, that sounds impressive.

The Reality Check.

Then I started to apply more critical thinking. ‘Contracting the disease’, how are they screening and what constitutes contracting the disease? There are many ways this statistic could misrepresenteality.

Then, it struck me. Even more important that people are screened, is “over what period of time where these people observed?”. What was their chance of contracting Covid-19 within that time if they were not vaccinated. Perhaps there was only a 1 in 1,000 chance of catching Covid-19 if you were not vaccinated! The article was written on Feb 17, and the rollout in Israel began on December 19, and this report says they are waiting the recommended 21 days between doses, so the first people would have fully inoculated only one month prior to this report. This means that on average, people in the report would have been fully inoculation for a time of two weeks when the data was collected.

So, 1 in 1,000 of those fully vaccinated, became infected with Covid-19 within a two week interval. To illustrate a point, here in Australia, around 1 in 1,000,000 people became infected in the last two weeks, so the rate is 1,000 times lower even with almost no-one vaccinated, so how good the number actually is depends on how many of the sample would be expected to become infected without the vaccine. The number is only useful when compared to a reference. In Israel, over that period, what percentage of the regular population became infected? Looking at worldometers, it appears around 6,000 people per day were being infected during the relevant time period. Over 14 days, this would be 84,000 people from a population of around 9.3 million, or 9 in one thousand, as opposed to 1 in 1,000 in the data for fully vaccinated.

This means the actual efficacy was around 90%.

Which is around the expected level. I guess ‘vaccine performs as expected’ does not make news, but it would be far more accurate than presenting the data in a way that distorts the result.

Vaccines and Prevention of Spread?

What I was looking to discover, before being side-tracked by the misleading story on efficacy, was if there is any data yet on the success of vaccines in preventing spread. At this stage, I have found articles:

ISRAEL’s leading doctor has claimed the first instalment of the Pfizer vaccine did not decrease infection rates as much as he had hoped.

Currently, it is not confirmed yet whether the vaccine stops a patient from catching and spreading the virus.

It is only known that the jab can stop people from getting ill.

In the US, at least one American has been infected with COVID-19 after his first dose of the Pfizer jab, according to reports.

Immunity after the first dose of the vaccine kicks in within 12 to 14 days after it is given.

Express UK: Jan 21 – and more restating the question than providing an answer.

“We are extremely encouraged that the real-world effectiveness data coming from Israel are confirming the high efficacy demonstrated in our Phase 3 clinical trial and showing the significant impact of the vaccine in preventing severe disease and deaths due to COVID-19,” said Luis Jodar, Ph.D., Pfizer Vaccines’ senior vice president and chief medical officer.
“The findings which suggest that the vaccine may also provide protection against asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections are particularly meaningful as we look to disrupt the spread of the virus around the globe,” he further commented.
“Altogether, these data are critical to understanding the role of vaccination in combating the pandemic and provide hope to other countries dealing with this devastating disease, which has now afflicted the world for more than a year,” he said.

Jerusalem Post: March 12, 2021. Using Pfizer as a source, and thus largely PR.

Then I found a report titled ‘Do Covid-19 vaccines stop coronavirus transmission? Here’s what research says.’

For instance, in an opinion piece for The Daily Beast, M. Kate Grabowski and Justin Lessler, both epidemiologists at Johns Hopkins, said they are “confident vaccination against Covid-19 reduces the chance of transmitting the virus.”
Lipsitch agreed with them, saying in a tweet, “I have been very cautious due to limited evidence on transmission effects but agree with (Grabowski and Lessler) that a large transmission effect is the best explanation of the limited evidence to date.”
In fact, Lipsitch argued it would be “beyond shocking” if the vaccines had no effect on coronavirus transmission, saying that the evidence suggests a transmission reduction of at least 50%.

Advisory Board: March 4, 2021

Overall evidence seems to be mounting that risk of transmission is reduce by at least 50%. Not eliminating spread, nor necessarily reduction of spread to a level where the most transmissible strains will not still spread in the community, but still a reduction.

Reality Unchanged.

What is real.

  • Vaccines significantly reduce the risk of a significant or severe case of Covid-19. It is certainly worth getting vaccinated.
  • Vaccines appear to significantly reduce, but most likely not eliminate, the spread of Covid-19.
  • Vaccines are extremely likely to reduce the risk of ‘long-Covid’, but this is not yet proven.

What is not real (at least so far)

  • Vaccines are not believed to eliminate the spread, or even all risks from Covid-19. Once vaccinated, you can be more relaxed, but still exercise caution
  • While news (as above) on spread is encouraging, there are still too many people who believe vaccines effectively prevent transmission. They don’t. At least, science provides not evidence to support that assumption at this time.
  • The pandemic may not be over. Any reduction in spread may be insufficient to stop the more transmissible strains spreading in post pandemic/post mask/post distancing world. At least, even if there are still cases, far less people will be hospitalised or die, at least with the mutations that we know of so far.

Vaccine deception, its everywhere.

Both the initial story on ‘1 in 1,000 chance’ and every article I could find about transmission took the words of the scientists, and turned those words in to false statements overly optimistic and not supported by the science at this time.

It seems almost every report takes the science and either:

  • Turns the words into a good news and vaccine cures everything story not supported by the facts.
  • Makes unsupported claims about risks or conspiracy theories and does not believe the science at all.

Not matter what your point of view, it really requires a sceptical view of everything you read. Of course, logically, that must apply here too!

Table of Contents


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Covid-19 Immunity: Layers, immunity from vaccination vs infection, and the good news.

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