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week of May 12, 2022

12% effectiveness

The claim:

Those against COVID vaccines are claiming that newly released documents prove that they are only 12% effective.
 

The facts:

The documents released during a FOIA request have clearly shown that the vaccine efficacy was, as stated, 95% at the time those documents were released. Those claiming otherwise, specifically that vaccine efficacy was only 12%, are 1) misunderstanding how vaccine efficacy is calculated and/or 2) misunderstanding the definitions of status as used in those documents.

The vaccine efficacy was calculated using the number of people who tested positive for covid during the trials in both the vaccine group (8) and the placebo group (168). These people making the claim of 12% are instead insisting that rather than using positive covid results as an indicator of covid, "suspected but unconfirmed" cases should be counted as well.

The problem, however, is the definition of "suspected but unconfirmed." In this trial, anyone with any symptom of COVID (many of which are also symptoms of other respiratory diseases) was required to be given a PCR COVID test to determine whether that case was COVID or not. Those who tested positive were then "confirmed COVID" cases, while those who tested negative were listed as "suspected but unconfirmed".

In other words, these people got sick, or were even experiencing the effects of the vaccine, but did not test positive COVID. And since the COVID vaccine was not created to reduce *all* sources of fever, cough, etc, it would be dishonest to include these "suspected but unconfirmed" cases in the calculations of vaccine efficacy for the COVID vaccine. 

Do your vaccines make mine work better?

The claim:

People very outside of public health who tend toward a Rand Paul vision are often confused by vaccinated people who care about other people getting vaccinated, too. I mean, if your vaccines work so well, why do you care if they are unvaccinated?
 

The facts:

Herd Immunity, or Community Immunity happens when enough people in a community are immune to a disease so that people who do not have immunity have some protection from being exposed to this disease. When people are immune, they are much less likely to get and then transmit those diseases to others, so the more people in a community who are immune, the fewer people will be transmitting diseases to others.

Why, then, is it important to be vaccinated if everyone else is vaccinated too? Because not everyone is immune. First, there are those who are ineligible for the vaccine due to age or medical restrictions. Second, even if someone was vaccinated, they may not have perfect protection against the disease; no vaccine is 100% effective against disease. The entire community benefits when as many people are as vaccinated as possible in that community.

mRNA and blood clots

The claim:

Anti-vaccine environmental lawyers are piggybacking on news that the FDA is restricting viral vector COVID vaccines due to TTS and claiming that mRNA vaccines also cause blood clots.
 

The facts:

Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) is a very rare and serious side effect that is known to occur with adenovirus-vector COVID vaccines, such as the J&J vaccine in the Unites States.

Thus, the FDA has limited the use of the J&J vaccine to those who are otherwise eligible but either cannot or will not get one of other available mRNA vaccines, citing that the "known and potential benefits of the vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 outweigh the known and potential risks" of COVID.

Some are claiming that the mRNA vaccines also cause blood clots and other disorders and should also be limited. Of course, TTS is not an adverse reaction from the vaccine, which is the reason they are preferred over the viral vector vaccines.

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