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COVID 19 aka CCP Virus: Efficacy of Vaccines, Particularly a New and Minimally Tested COVID-19 Vaccine

I have two parents, one shy of 80 and one over 80, so this post is of personal interest to me, since I don’t want either one hit by COVID-19. One parent is particularly at risk.

So I have lots of “skin in the game” on the whole CV19 thing. But that is not going to make me give up on objective thinking and resort to the hysteria and faux-science (often anti-science) promulgated by the press, politicians and most of the medical establishment.

See also:
Balancing the Efficacy and Safety of Vaccines in the Elderly
Why vaccines are less effective in the elderly, and what it means for COVID-19
Flu Shots May Not Protect the Elderly or the Very Young
Efficacy of vaccines in elderly

Medical profession and risk assessment

Most of the medical profession doesn’t consider risk management outside their narrow field, since risk assessment must take into account *all* known risks, including medical risks (short and medium term!), economic costs, psychological impacts which degrade health and the immune system, and social costs.

ALL those factors result in heightened poor health outcomes! Yet the medical “experts” ignore the the elephant in the room: economic factors. Longstanding actuarial facts prove that poor economic situations result in poor health outcomes and death. This is just common sense on top of hard data known for many decades.

The “experts” refuse to do proper risk assessment, dooming tens of millions of people to higher risks and damaged lives, with a few notable exceptions.

“The Doctor Is In: Scott Atlas And The Efficacy Of Lockdowns, Social Distancing, And Closings”
As of July 2020, Up to 300 Million People May Be Infected by COVID-19, Stanford Guru John Ioannidis Says + Feckless Leaders Killing People
•  Open letter from medical doctors and health professionals to all Belgian authorities and all Belgian media

Here then is my take on vaccines for COVID-19, with background.

Risk assessment for a COVID-19 vaccine

Asserting that several new and untested variants of a COVID-19 vaccine will be both SAFE and effective in the elderly would be both unscientific and irresponsible.

  • Different vaccines cannot be lumped together; each vaccine might have a different safety and efficacy profile.
  • Side effects and risks will be poorly understood prior to use in the general population.
  • A COVID-19 vaccine might have nil benefit for the elderly (more on that below), but might have as yet unknown risks, possibly serious one.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine and then assuming one is protected could be a fatal gamble for the elderly in particular—those vaccinated are likely to engage in many more social interactions, which in turn greatly increases the risk of infection. The at-risk and the elderly need to remain cautious, vaccinated or not.

Efficacy of vaccines for the elderly

The whole idea of a vaccine for COVID-19 is the reverse of what might be thought:

A COVID-19 vaccine is likely to be largely useless for the elderly.

There is ZERO scientific evidence that a COVID-19 vaccine will be effective for the most at-risk population (the elderly). In fact, it is more probable to be ineffective, based on the influenza vaccine. Thus the real goal should be to vaccinate the low-risk people as a step towards herd immunity, to reduce the risk of transmission to the largest group of high-risk people—the elderly.

The issue is related to poor immune response, including immunosenesence.

Balancing the Efficacy and Safety of Vaccines in the Elderly

...Elderly populations present specific concerns related to preventative health practices, especially vaccination. Although the power of vaccination is unquestionable in controlling infectious disease, immunosenescence can lead to reduced immune responses following immunization in the elderly, and increased morbidity and mortality.

Further complicating this issue, some vaccines themselves may pose a substantial safety risk in the elderly when compared to younger counterparts. Though any health care intervention must balance risk and reward, safety and immunogenicity are often poorly characterized in older populations. This review explores several domestic and travel vaccines, examining what is known concerning efficacy and safety in the elderly, and considers future alternatives.

Flu Shots May Not Protect the Elderly or the Very Young

October 2012

Despite government recommendations, there is little evidence that flu vaccines help individuals older than 65 or younger than two.

...One oft-cited claim, based on several large meta-analyses published more than a decade ago, is that seasonal flu shots cut the risk of winter death among older people by half. But the research behind that claim has been largely debunked. A 2005 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine noted that influenza only causes about 5 percent of all excess winter deaths among the elderly—which works out to one death from flu per 1,000 older people each season—so it’s impossible for the shot to prevent half of all their winter deaths.

The following year, a study reported that as vaccine coverage increased among the elderly in Italy in the late 1980s, there was no corresponding drop in excess deaths. In another 2006 paper, Lisa Jackson, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, and her colleagues showed that although vaccinated seniors were 44 percent less likely to die during flu season than unvaccinated seniors were, the vaccinated ones were also 61 percent less likely to die before flu season even started. “Naturally, you would not expect the vaccine to work before the thing it protects against is going around,” says Lone Simonsen, a research professor in global health at George Washington University and a co-author of the 2005 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

...The dearth of controlled research on seniors stems in part from the fact that the U.S government considers such clinical trials unethical. Based on an idea known as clinical equipoise, scientists can’t test, in a randomized controlled trial, a treatment that the larger medical community already considers to be effective, because doing so would involve denying treatment to half of the participants, potentially putting them at risk. “We’re in a difficult spot,” Shay says—since the CDC already recommends flu shots to seniors, the agency can’t suddenly turn around and ask them to participate in a clinical trial that might deny them the standard of care.


...So should people still dutifully line up for their flu shots? Older kids and healthy adults do get some protection from them; just perhaps not as much as they want or expect. But for seniors and toddlers, there may never be a clear answer to this question, particularly because the U.S. government is unlikely to conduct additional clinical trials. On Monday, Osterholm and a group of five other scientists at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy published a report highlighting the need for better alternatives. Although the current options may—for most people—be better than nothing, “we can no longer accept the status quo,” they wrote. “The perception that current vaccines are already highly effective in preventing influenza is a major barrier to pursuing game-changing alternatives.

Since that article in 2012, there is some limited evidence that a high-dose influenza vaccine has a “moderate” improvement in outcomes. But it is hardly conclusive and far from compelling:

Conclusions: Among adults ≥65 years of age, recipients of standard and high dose influenza vaccines differed significantly in their characteristics. After adjusting for these differences, high dose vaccine offered more protection against A/H3N2 and borderline significant protection against all influenza A requiring outpatient care during the 2015-2018 influenza seasons.

None of the studies I’ve found offer compelling evidence. Indeed, one of them has to resort to “relative effectiveness” and “borderline significance”, which is the kind of garbage thinking used when studies show weak results. Moreover, if the effectiveness is very low to start with, a modest relative improvement still means *poor* effectiveness (e.g. going from 10% absolutely effectiveness to 12.5% is 25%, and still very poor).

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