How Effective Are The Covid 19 Vaccines?

Executive Summary

  • There has been a greatly oversimplified explanation of the effectiveness and safety of covid 19 vaccines.
  • We cover some of the studies on this topic.


Western health authorities and media have been nearly entirely focused on funding and promoting historically quickly created coronavirus vaccines as the approved public policy response to the coronavirus. These vaccines were immediately hailed as highly effective and safe by the pharmaceutical-controlled major media entities.

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The Effect and Safety of the Vaccines

The following is a quotation from an excellent book on the topic of health policy and Covid 19 called Why Most of What You Know About Covid is Wrong.

Read the quotes, however, I will have an additional overlay that questions even this skeptical analysis of the studies that the FDA used to provide appoval for these vaccines.

Vaccine #1: The AstraZeneca Vaccine

So it is possible that the AstraZeneca vaccine causes traverse mylitas. In a small portion of those vaccinated at present, it seems like the risk of developing travers myelitis after getting the vaccine is about one to 3000. But it could be much higher or much lower. We don’t know until many more people have received the vaccine.

Would I take this vaccine personally No, because I’m young and healthy, and I therefore estimate that the risk of me getting severe COVID is infinitesimal. And I’m not convinced that the benefits outweigh the potential harms, considering the possible risk of transverse myelitis where I let my children to have it, no way not until there are studies showing that it’s safe and effective in children. It’s all it’s only a little over a decade since an influenza vaccine was rushed through and given to children based on limited evidence causing hundreds in Europe to develop narcolepsy, debilitating, lifelong disease.

Vaccine #2: The Pfizer Vaccine

With a Pfizer vaccine among those getting the placebo point 9% develop symptomatic COVID. And among those getting the vaccine point 0.5% develop symptomatic COVID.

That’s a 95% relative risk reduction and it is highly statistically significant. That is an impressive result much better than I ever would have thought would be possible in such a short space of time.

I use quotes and my own analysis later to show this analysis presented above is a problem. The issue is the relative risk reduction that is being quoted. I will illustrated how the statistical significance of this effectiveness is entirely irrelevant to the question of whether the Pfizer vaccine should have been approved.

The curious thing about this is that the author of the quote above, Dr. Sebastian Rushworth is completely aware of both how pharmaceutical companies use relative risk to lie about the effectiveness of their drugs and that statistical significance is greatly used to mislead as well. This is explained very well in Dr. Rushworth’s following quotation. 

Dr. Rushworth on the Misuse of Statistical Significance

I think the three main reasons are publication bias, vested interests that do what they can do to manipulate studies and the inappropriate use of the 5% p value cut off. That is why we should never put too much trust in a result that has not been replicated. We discussed statistical significance a lot now, but that isn’t really what matters to patients, what matters. And what patients care about is clinical significance, ie if they take a drug will it and have a meaningful impact for them.

Dr. Rushworth on the Misuse of Relative Risk

Clinical significance is closely tied to the concept of absolute risk and relative risk. Let’s say we have a drug that decreases your five year risk of having a heart attack from 2%. From point 2% 2.1%. Now the absolute risk reduction when you take this drug is 1% over five years.

Not very impressive, right? Would you think it was worth taking that drug? Probably not? What if I told you that the same drug actually decreased your risk of heart attack by 50%? Now you definitely want to take the drug right? How can a drug only decreased risk by point 1%, and yet at the same time, decrease risk by 50%. Because the risk reduction depends on if we’re looking at absolute risk or relative risk.

Although our imaginary drug only causes a point 1% reduction in absolute risk, it causes a 50% reduction in relative risk. drug companies will generally focus on the relative risk when discussing the benefits of their drugs, because it makes a benefit sound more impressive and absolute risk when discussing harms because it makes a harm sound small. When you look at an advertisement for a drug always look at the fine print, or they’re talking about absolute risk or relative risk.