Your Risk of Vaccination for COVID is 10% of Your Risk From the Disease ItselfSeptember 25, 2021
Risk of COVID Vaccine is Less Than 1/10 of COVID
The question of "Should I get the shot?" is front and center for all of us right now. We, humans, are, in general, quite focused on our own best interest and are constantly weighing "risk-benefit" analysis in just about everything we do. We really do look both ways when we cross the street. Most of us have chosen not to smoke, or have escaped the terrible addiction to nicotine. We wear seat belts. We do understand risk-benefit issues and apply them to our lives. (Now, when it comes to sugar, well, that's just too personal so back off, would you....)
What we aren't good at, intuitively, is math. Our brains really don't do all that well with numbers. If you make a trip to Great America Theme Park once a summer, you will remember that you went once. If you to twice, you will relate that you went twice. If you went three times, you will relate that you "Go all the time". Something slips... We look at our own experience, but statistics and numbers don't have emotional meaning. We tend to believe Mark Twain, "Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics". But statistics are the application of the scientific method to life events and help us to parse out, without emotion, the likelihood of something being most likely true (to 95% reliability).
When it comes to vaccinations, we are flooded with stories of side effects and personal observations of people who had "bad outcomes" that weren't reported and weren't taken into account. It feels to many folks that the risk-benefit is just too great, and not safe. This occurs particularly for folks with some alteration of their immune system because they hear that folks with damaged immune systems should be cautious. This all gets compounded when the source of information is from opinion-generated editorial places: like Facebook or other social media, that is not curated for "scientific validity".
The University of Oxford took that problem on and studied it, reporting in the BMJ this last month on just that topic. There are mandatory reporting mechanisms for vaccine side effects. The VAERS Vaccine Adverse Reporting system run by the CDC is just that. Everyone who gives vaccinations MUST, MUST, BY LAW report anything that occurs to a person who has been vaccinated. Ok, good idea. So we hear about those events. They are reported and posted on the web. When you have some 200,000,000 folks vaccinated, you hear a lot of data. What we don't get is the same information about side effects from getting the virus. That is left to the health care system that is massively stressed with overwork and many sick people. We don't hear those side effects.
Thank goodness for Great Britain's national database for health care. They have all their data in one place and can parse it out.
What they found was interesting. Of 19.6 million getting the Astra-Zeneca and 9.5 million getting the Pfizer vaccines, compared to 1.7 million who tested positive for COVID-19. They were looking for low platelets, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), ischaemic stroke, myocardial infarction, and other rare arterial thrombotic events. These events do happen after vaccination. But the immune effect also happens after the virus. It's not that the awful events happen only with the vaccination.
In fact, the effect is quite powerful. This is the data. Yes, for every 10 million people vaccinated, there will be 107 more people who are hospitalized or die from low platelet counts. But 9 times that many who get the actual virus will have the same event. Nine times more! That doesn't make the news. An extra 66 will be hospitalized for blood clots to their veins after vaccination. Again, that is 200 times lower than how many will get blood clots if they get the virus. Stroke? Twelve times the number of folks who actually get the virus will get a stroke compared to the vaccination.
Why isn't it reported this way? A vaccine is using some of the antigen from the virus to stimulate your immune system. It's a dangerous virus and that little tickle your immune system gets is not innocuous. Yes, it has some risks. But the whole virus risk is much, much greater. Some 200 times greater for blood clots.
I've heard people say to me, "I'm afraid of the blood clots because I had clots before so I'm not going to be vaccinated." My reply will be, "Then please, get the shot". Or as the British would say, "The Jab".
This isn't a new phenomenon. George Washington had the exact same dilemma. Smallpox was ravishing his army. For the first time in known history, he ordered his entire army to be "variolated" which actually used the live virus scratched into a small wound on your arm. It had the real side effect of death, but way less than the actual disease. With that campaign, he saved his army...and won the war.
www. What will Work for me? We are in a war right now. Like every war, there is fear, disinformation, and lack of clarity in the "fog of war". But I'm looking at the real numbers, the scientific analysis that gives me cold, clear evaluation of my risks and benefits. I'm over 65 and had the Pfizer shot over 8 months ago. The data shows that my immunity will be much better protected if I get the third booster. I will get it, as soon as I can. I'm safer that way.
This column was written by Dr John E Whitcomb, MD, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI.