“High” vaccination rates per CDC guidance in American nursing homes apparently ineffective to curb infection and death.
- Nursing homes are reporting a near-record of about 32,000 Covid-19 cases among residents in the week ending Jan 9, an almost sevenfold increase from a month earlier, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The Associated Press (AP) reports.
- A total of 645 “COVID-19-related” deaths among residents were recorded during the same week, a 47% increase from the earlier period, AP also notes.
- However, AP cites “experts” who characterize nursing home vaccination rates as “high.” Among nursing home residents, “About 87% are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data,” reports AP.
- The CDC website claims that “Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 can lower your risk of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Vaccines can also help prevent serious illness and death.” And another CDC webpage says the agency “recommends that adults 65 years and older receive COVID-19 vaccines. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is an important step to help prevent getting sick from COVID-19.”
- High Covid-19 case and death rates among nursing home residents who are highly vaccinated calls into question the vaccine’s efficacy at lowering the risk of infection, transmission, serious illness, and death from the virus.
- An April 2021 publication in the peer-reviewed medical journal Lancet titled “COVID-19 vaccine efficacy and effectiveness—the elephant (not) in the room” showed that the absolute risk reduction (ARR)—which is the difference between attack rates with and without a vaccine—of Covid-19 vaccines stands at nearly zero percent, more specifically “1.3% for the AstraZeneca–Oxford, 1.2% for the Moderna–NIH, 1.2% for the J&J, 0.93% for the Gamaleya, and 0.84% for the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccines,” according to the authors.
- The Lancet publication authors are based, respectively, out of Oxford, University College London, and Luxembourg Institute of Health.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RRR & ARR:
“Vaccine efficacy is generally reported as a relative risk reduction (RRR). It uses the relative risk (RR)—ie, the ratio of attack rates with and without a vaccine—which is expressed as 1–RR,” the study authors explain. “Ranking by reported efficacy gives relative risk reductions of 95% for the Pfizer–BioNTech, 94% for the Moderna–NIH, 91% for the Gamaleya, 67% for the J&J, and 67% for the AstraZeneca–Oxford vaccines.”
“However, RRR should be seen against the background risk of being infected and becoming ill with COVID-19, which varies between populations and over time,” the authors go on to say. “Although the RRR considers only participants who could benefit from the vaccine, the absolute risk reduction (ARR), which is the difference between attack rates with and without a vaccine, considers the whole population. ARRs tend to be ignored because they give a much less impressive effect size than RRRs: 1·3% for the AstraZeneca–Oxford, 1·2% for the Moderna–NIH, 1·2% for the J&J, 0·93% for the Gamaleya, and 0·84% for the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccines.”
- The Lancet publication authors argue that reports among mainstream outlets make “use of only RRRs” while “omitting ARRs,” which causes “reporting bias,” which in turn “affects the interpretation of vaccine efficacy.”
- For example, the CDC website commits this “reporting bias” when it says, “People 65 and older who received both doses of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines showed a 94% reduced risk of COVID-19 related hospitalization,” while leaving out the vaccines’ ARR.
- “When communicating about vaccine efficacy,” the Lancet authors write, “especially for public health decisions such as choosing the type of vaccines to purchase and deploy, having a full picture of what the data actually show is important, and ensuring comparisons are based on the combined evidence that puts vaccine trial results in context and not just looking at one summary measure, is also important.”
- The authors conclude that “Such decisions should be properly informed by detailed understanding of study results, requiring access to full datasets and independent scrutiny and analyses.”
Jon Fleetwood is Managing Editor for American Faith and author of “An American Revival: Why American Christianity Is Failing & How to Fix It.”