(The graph shown above is just an illustration of typical statistical fallacies)
As of September of 2021, we should all know these facts regarding variants and coronavirus for the “unvaccinated” vs. “vaccinated”
- Vaccination does not create a protective forcefield
- Vaccinated individuals can still spread, get infected, and die from covid-19
- Being unvaccinated does not mean you’re infected
- Infection does not mean death
- Survivability is still very high if you’re healthy
Proof of Vaccine (Vaccine Passports) in Your City?
These are all important points to consider when discussing the use of vaccine passports or some form of proof of vaccination when entering a venue or establishment.
Without understanding the above points, a vaccinated individual can actually experience a false sense of security thinking fully vaccinated means fully protected. This false security emboldens the vaccinated to interact as pre-Covid times and inadvertently endanger themselves and others.
The argument that often comes up from proponents of medical segregation is that the vaccinated will experience a much milder case or there’s a much lower positive number of cases, infection, and death. These conclusions are drawn from headlines quoting a recent study from the CDC: Monitoring Incidence of COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations, and Deaths, by Vaccination Status — 13 U.S. Jurisdictions, April 4–July 17, 2021
The headlines in mainstream media, in reference to that CDC study, reads:
Unvaccinated People Are 11 Times More Likely To Die Of COVID-19, New Research Finds
“Wow, 11 times more likely to die!” One might exclaim. The reader will then advocate for everyone to get vaccinated not only to achieve herd immunity but also the well-being of the unvaccinated. To prevent them from unnecessary suffering of course. Well, thanks to the variants, the goal of herd immunity through vaccination expired and now we have to ask ourselves, at what cost, at what ratio, are we still willing to coerce the unvaccinated into compliance? At 11 times likelihood of death? What about at 5 times? What about just 1.3 times? Would that be sufficient to justify segregation?
It does not take an advance degree to read the CDC’s discussion section of that study. One should be able to catch the nuances and the limitations of the study that the researchers tried to explain but headlines couldn’t sufficiently convey other than the primary propaganda of compliance through fear. Ok, that sounded too political.
Let’s consider the latest data (research from other states or other countries). Utah’s breakthrough cases for example started below 300 in April and reached almost 14000 cases with more than half their population being vaccinated.
UPDATE: Massachusetts 3919 New Breakthrough Cases in a Week
(Notice the use of percentages for breakthrough cases to downplay the increase.)
Advocating the use of vaccine passports to segregate customers (based on their vaccination status) is just a coercion tool to try and meet an outdated goal of vaccine compliance. For some, it was clinging onto what seemed like the only hope society had trying to beat the pandemic- frustrated with the unvaccinated for not being a “team player”. Unfortunately, that’s analogous to convincing players to wear football uniforms in a baseball game.
Continuing with that bad sports analogy, the media also started to sound like fans making excuses for their favorite pharma teams, downplaying the increasing breakthrough cases, gaslighting those who question efficacy, and using cumulative data, percentages, or per capita numbers only when convenient to their narrative.
Instead, the media could call it like it is – the efficacy is waning. Breakthrough cases are increasing. There’s no need to segregate, we’re all still in this boat together. You can choose to swim or you can wear a life vest. The choice is yours. Be sensible. Be careful. Stay home if you’re not well. Don’t be in a crowd. Space it out, but don’t space out. Keep focused, let’s not go back to segregation. Let’s get healthier, evaluate other potential solutions, and most importantly love one another.
Here’s the discussion section straight from the CDC source below:
[Nutshell: can’t just cherry pick or average-out older non variant data with newer variant prone regions, or mix partially vaccinated numbers with unvaccinated and create unreasonable rates to draw comparisons or to create a narrative as explained in the discussion below.]
In 13 U.S. jurisdictions, rates of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths were substantially higher in persons not fully vaccinated compared with those in fully vaccinated persons, similar to findings in other reports (2,3). After the week of June 20, 2021, when the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant became predominant, the percentage of fully vaccinated persons among cases increased more than expected for the given vaccination coverage and a constant VE. The IRR for cases among persons not fully vaccinated versus fully vaccinated decreased substantially; IRRs for hospitalizations and deaths changed less overall, but moderately among adults aged ≥65 years. Findings from this crude analysis of surveillance data are consistent with recent studies reporting decreased VE against confirmed infection but not hospitalization or death, during a period of Delta variant predominance and potential waning of vaccine-induced population immunity (4–6).†††
The findings in this report are subject to at least five limitations. First, combining unvaccinated and partially vaccinated persons resulted in lower IRR and VE estimates. Second, variable linkage of case surveillance, vaccination, hospitalization, and mortality data might have resulted in misclassifications that could influence IRR estimates; no substantial differences in ascertainment of outcomes by vaccination status were noted in jurisdictions that were able to assess this. Lags in reporting of deaths might have affected the second period differentially. Third, this was an ecological study in which IRRs lacked multivariable adjustments and causality could not be assessed (i.e., possible differences in testing or behaviors in vaccinated and unvaccinated persons). VE is being assessed through ongoing controlled studies. Fourth, the period when the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant reached ≥50% overall prevalence was assumed to be the first week when most cases were infected with the Delta variant, but the week varied by jurisdiction. Finally, the data assessed from 13 jurisdictions accounted for 25% of the U.S. population, and therefore might not be generalizable.
Monitoring COVID-19 outcomes in populations over time by vaccination status is facilitated through reliable linkage of COVID-19 case surveillance and vaccination data. However, interpreting state-level variation by week might be challenging, especially for severe outcomes with small numbers. The framework used in this analysis allows for comparisons of observed IRRs and percentages of vaccinated cases, hospitalizations, and deaths to expected values. The data might be helpful in communicating the real-time impact of vaccines (e.g., persons not fully vaccinated having >10 times higher COVID-19 mortality risk) and guiding prevention strategies, such as vaccination and nonpharmacologic interventions.