COVID-19 vaccines provide important benefits; The SSRN’s preliminary version did not find COVID-19 vaccines ’98 times worse’ than the virus

Claim

“Covid-19 vaccines are 98 times worse than the virus”

details

distorts the source: The initial version did not say that COVID-19 vaccines are 98 times worse than the virus. This claim ignores several important limitations of prepress, such as the fact that the analysis relates only to booster doses; that the measure of analysis for damage from COVID-19 is only hospitalization, but not other serious outcomes such as prolonged COVID; That the analysis relies on adverse event reports, which alone do not provide sufficient evidence of causation.

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COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be very effective in protecting people from severe illness and death, and they can also reduce the chances of contracting the COVID virus for a long time. Although previous infection confers a certain degree of protective immunity, immunity from infection is unpredictable due to many variables that are not within our control, such as disease severity. Vaccination remains the safest and most reliable way to protect against COVID-19.

Full claim: “Scientists from Harvard and Johns Hopkins have found Covid-19 vaccines 98 times worse than the virus”; “Vaccine narrative breakdown as Harvard study shows Gap is more dangerous than COVID”

reconsidering

In September 2022, several articles went viral, claiming that COVID-19 vaccines are “98 times worse” than COVID-19 itself. Examples include this by Gateway Pundit, else By times times, and One by Florida Standard. The claim is based on Preliminary version (Study not yet reviewed) uploaded to the Social Science Research Network, co-authored by scholars, including faculty from Johns Hopkins University and Harvard.

The preprint concluded that the university’s enhanced mandates would be unethical, as it is estimated to cause more harm than good in young people, defined as individuals between the ages of 18 and 29. The authors of this preliminary release reached this conclusion with their calculations of the number of previously uninfected young adults who would need a booster in order to prevent hospitalization, and the number of serious adverse events that would occur with such a volume of booster vaccines.

Using post-vaccination adverse event reports collected by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as vaccine manufacturers, the authors estimated that “for every hospital admission of COVID-19 prevented in previously uninfected adults, we would expect 18 to 98 serious adverse events.” , including 1.7 to 3.0 cases of booster-associated myocarditis in males, and 1,373 to 3,234 cases of grade 3–3 reaction that interferes with daily activities.”

But prepress results don’t mean COVID-19 vaccines are worse than the disease itself, the articles claimed. As we’ll explain below, the claim misrepresents prepress results.

Let’s take a look at the claim that vaccines are “98 times worse” than COVID-19. This number likely comes from the upper bound on the estimated number of serious adverse events per hospital admission for COVID-19.

But this does not mean that vaccines are “98 times worse” than the disease. First, let’s keep in mind that the authors considered hospitalization with COVID-19 to be the only poor outcome of the disease. This rules out other serious outcomes, such as COVID longwhich can be Possibly disabling for young people like that.

Second, a single person can report many adverse events after vaccination, while hospitalizations of COVID-19 are likely to be reported only once per person. This means that the number of hospitalizations of COVID-19 is likely to be dwarfed by the number of serious adverse events reported. The same issue was discussed in Previous review of health comments. The previous version recognized this as a limitation:

“It is also possible that many severe side effects were reported by the same participant and that the number of people affected by these reactions is underestimated.”

In an email to Health Feedback, Abram WagnerAn assistant professor at the University of Michigan, noted that the analysis “does not take into account the complexity of SARS-CoV-2 infection dynamics,” explaining that increasing vaccination coverage across all groups could reduce infection and thus hospitalization risk to both the individual and society.

Thus, the calculation does not take into account the serious consequences of getting COVID-19 or the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine, and measures that represent poor outcomes from COVID-19 and vaccination are not calculated in the same way, since the former is calculated on a per-person basis while the former is calculated on a per-person basis. The latter is on a per event basis.

Finally, the calculations were based on reports of adverse events after vaccination. Such reports on their own Not enough evidence that the vaccine was responsible for the adverse event. But this warning is missing in the articles.

In general, these limitations of the prepress calculation method mean that articles’ representation of prepress results are inaccurate and misleading.

One of the preprint co-authors, Alison Kruga medical writer with a master’s degree in epidemiology, said bullet stories That prepress representations, such as the Gateway Pundit article, were inaccurate:

“By excluding ‘boosters’ and ‘young people’, the article noted that Covid-19 vaccines were generally harmful when in fact our research focused specifically on people between the ages of 18 and 29. We don’t want to misrepresent our work to suggest that Those at risk due to medical conditions or age should avoid vaccination.”

“Recommendations to vaccinate young people in the United States and elsewhere are based on the consideration that vaccinating these individuals (particularly with the new bivalent vaccine) can boost the immune system and provide protection against newer variants,” Wagner said, adding that continued vigilance remains important.

While it is necessary to continually assess the benefits and risks of COVID-19 booster doses as the pandemic evolves, it is also important to keep in mind that so far, COVID-19 has already killed more than six million people around the world And over a million in the United States alone.

And while most people who contract COVID-19 survive, they can still face severe long-term consequences. Data from the US Census Bureau between June and July 2022 indicated that Nearly one in five Americans still have prolonged COVID symptoms. This was estimated by an analysis by the Brookings Institution using the same data 2 to 4 million Americans are out of work due to prolonged COVIDan outcome that could impose significant social and economic costs.

COVID-19 vaccines have proven that they are Highly effective in protecting people from severe disease and deathAnd they can, too Reducing the chances of long-term infection with the COVID virus. While Previous infection confers a certain degree of protective immunityAnd the Immunity caused by infection is unpredictablesince there are multiple factors beyond our control that influence this form of immunity, such as the severity of the disease and the type of virus a person has contracted.. Vaccination remains the safest and most reliable way to protect against COVID-19.

Scientists’ notes

Abram L. WagnerResearch Assistant Professor (Epidemiology), School of Public Health, University of Michigan:
The paper’s authors attempt to estimate how many adults might need a vaccination to prevent one-time hospitalization. This analysis does not take into account the complexity of the dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 infection, because increases in vaccination coverage across all groups can reduce infection (and thus the risk of hospitalization) for the individual and for the group. Furthermore, at this point in time, nearly everyone has some basic immunity to SARS-CoV-2, either through vaccination, natural infection, or both. Thus their analysis (based on assumptions of previously uninfected individuals) may have limited utility for the actual real world population.

Different countries in the world are implementing different types of recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines throughout the lifespan. Recommendations are based on the local epidemiology of disease, hospital resources, levels of comorbidities in the local population, and cost-effectiveness analyses.

Ongoing surveillance for adverse events after immunization will be important. Recommendations for vaccinating young people in the United States and elsewhere are based on the consideration that vaccinating these individuals (particularly the new bivalent vaccine) can boost the immune system and provide protection against newer variants. Obtaining a high level of immunity across different age groups of the population is an important part of controlling COVID-19.