So recently, this document is being shared around by antivaxers created by a group called ‘Physicians for Informed Consent.’ The name is designed to garner trust, even though many, if not most of their members, are not physicians at all. They claim they’re not antivaxers to seem like they’re “only promoting safety,” making themselves out to be heroes, not grifters in this pandemic. They are in coalition with several anti vax organisations, and regularly make false claims and this article debunks them thoroughly and well (indeed, they are a well known quack coalition). Unfortunately it just goes to show that even qualified people see that there’s money in spreading misinformation, and make the calculated decision to ruin their reputation, and risk their licences to practice, against the money and influence they can get by spreading misinformation.
The full document they put out can be accessed here. Or just scroll down. I’ll break these down point by point –
2) “The vaccine was approved early. It did not show long term efficacy.”
Yes, it was approved early, but this was due to it being an emergency. Significant data on safety had been gained prior to this, and efficacy was demonstrated to be very high through a trial with rigorous design, and COVID had killed hundreds of thousands in America alone to this point. There’s a reason this provision in FDA regulations exist. We are still collecting data on long term efficacy, but it’s been demonstrated regularly that long term immunity is formed after COVID-19 vaccination[1, 2].
3) “You didn’t get enough of a sample size and some age groups weren’t sampled.
So this is the thing. Vaccine studies don’t even need that many participants to get statistical power to make an apt conclusion. This study had MORE than enough (you need 10-15k to get statistically significant results typically). COVID-19 vaccine studies that led to Pfizer getting emergency approval had over 20,000. To this day, 4.5 BILLION DOSES HAVE BEEN ADMINISTERED to 31% of people in the world! This is no longer an experiment.
The fact that only 2 patients in younger groups got COVID doesn’t mean it’s statistically insignificant, it means the vaccine is very effective. You compare the numbers in both cohorts, and see how much of a reduction there is to calculate vaccine efficacy. So that part too, is wrong. In later ones they make further claims about lack of vaccine efficacy,
This study on the 2018 influenza vaccine enrolled 10,000 people. This one did 3600. That’s more than enough. If anything this had even more proof than most. It was approved for emergency use due to there not being long term data on efficacy. Safety wise, vaccines are very largely very very safe.
4) “This is NOT shown to be effective in older adults.”
You could make that argument as mainly younger patients were included in this study, but since the approval, we’ve gained a lot of data on this. 156000 patients over 70 were studied in this BMJ trial that showed 95% efficacy. This review found similarly high results.
5) Not effective in teens.
Subsequent studies on this exact age group cited as a concern by this group of ‘physicians,’ (12 – 15 year olds) show very high efficacy of 100%.
This is not being seen now as we see many younger patients being infected with the delta variant. 30-40 year olds have 4x higher risks of death compared to 18 year olds. This is affecting more young people, likely because vaccination rates are not as high in these populations. And the delta strain seems to be more dangerous. So vaccinate!
6) “The vaccination doesn’t reduce transmission”
Transmission reduction data against the delta variant is now available. Studies show efficacy against transmission ranges from 50 – 78% – against delta.
But you know what is very effective in reducing transmission of viral illnesses? Masks. See my blog post/mini review on them I posted earlier.
7) “Serious adverse effects are high.”
Serious adverse effects – they included things like muscle and joint pain, which occurs in 25% of patients and 17% of patients. Pain does suck, but it’s highly subjective. Other events included and mentioned first like diarrhoea and vomiting. Diarrhoea occurs in 1/10 COVID patients by ways of comparison. 0.07% of patients vomited after vaccination, 0.12% got diarrhoea (1/1000 or so). The source they referenced for this was a Pfizer vaccine trial’s clinical protocol which has no results, so I’m not sure where these numbers even came from.
We know incidence of things like myocarditis due to the vaccine are 1/100,000, and 0 deaths occured from this over 2million vaccines.
8) “COVID-19 is less dangerous than the vaccine.”
Finally, they end this suggesting vaccines are more dangerous than COVID in young patients, rehashing data they’ve made from invalid assertions earlier, that have been proven since in numerous studies done on young people, and old people. Long term safety data on vaccinations weren’t available then, but they are now. Long COVID studies are coming out though – and the consequences are dire. Studies show that 60 days after infection, 87% of people still had a COVID 19 symptom, with 55% having 3 or more. Scarring is present in the lungs of many. 20% of people hospitalised – which with delta, we’re seeing is occurring in younger patients – have permanent pulmonary fibrosis. Over 70% who are ventilated show this after 4 months.
Ultimately, we know this disease kills the unvaccinated more than any other groups – 99.5% of people who have died are unvaccinated. It’s not only killing people directly, but also people like me who are at risk, and need things like oral cancer biopsies (which I can’t get here in Aus as elective procedures are shut down).