I am still astonished by people who claim COVID-19 is “just the flu” or even worse, “the whole thing is made up.”
To believe this, you have to believe that every government in the world, every university and medical research foundation, and almost every medical practitioner, are either stupid, or involved in a conspiracy to reduce and control the population.
Questions like “Why would anyone take a vaccine that is likely to kill them, to prevent a disease that 99.99% of people will survive anyway?” also still float around Facebook and Twitter. The question is based on two false claims. First, that the vaccine is dangerous, or even that it is actually designed to kill people. Second, that COVID-19 either doesn’t exist or is not dangerous.
COVID-19 is a serious, highly infectious illness. The global average mortality rate is 3%. The mortality rate in Australia is about the same. As of this morning, Australia has had 29,437 cases, for 909 deaths.
This means that out of every thousand people who contract it, about thirty will die. This is in Australia, where we have one of the best health care systems in the world. The mortality rate for seasonal influenza is about 0.1%. About one person in every thousand who catches it will die. The mortality rate for COVID-19 is thirty times higher.
The mortality rate is lower for healthy younger people. It is higher for older people, or people who are obese, have diabetes, have chronic renal failure or heart disease, have or have had some forms of cancer, and possibly, people who are seriously vitamin D deficient. Government policy quite rightly puts people in these groups, along with health and aged care workers, at the top of the list to receive the vaccination.
The rate of morbidity – long term serious negative health effects in recovered patients – is even higher. This can include chronic lung damage, inflammatory disease and neurological impairment. These effects have been noted in children and young adults as well as in older people.
But surely the change of mind by the Australian Federal government and, in the US, the CDC, about the Astrazeneca and Johnson and Johnson vaccines proves that they are dangerous, more dangerous than the disease itself?
The people who make this claim are often the same people as those who claim the disease is a ruse to force people to take an experimental gene therapy that is actually a slow-acting poison as a form of population control. And the government and medical authorities are pausing administration of some vaccines because concerns exist about their safety, which proves they are all dangerous. It is not possible reasonably to hold both of these opinions together.
I won’t engage with the population control/gene therapy delusion. That is sheer, baseless silliness.
But are the Astrazeneca and J&J vaccines really causing a large number of fatal blood clots?
Being vaccinated, no matter against what, does not make you immortal. People still die from heart disease, cancer, respiratory illness, accidents, etc.
169,301 people died in Australia in 2019. That is, 464 people die in Australia every day – eighteen people per million population. The figure is roughly similar in the US, and in most other developed nations.
It should be obvious, then, that if you vaccinate a million people in a day, eighteen of them will die the same day, because they would have died that day anyway. If you take another million people from a similar population group and don’t vaccinate them, eighteen of them will die that day too. In both groups, 126 will die in the following week, 525 in the following month, over 1500 after three months.
So when you see headlines blaring “125 People Dead a Week After COVID Jab,” stop and think. Out of a million people, 125 will die in an average week anyway. In fact, since the vaccine is being given first to people in high risk groups, you would expect the death rate to be slightly higher, because the death rate in those groups; the elderly, the obese, people with heart disease and chronic renal failure, for example, is significantly higher anyway.
So what is the truth about blood clots? Your blood needs to clot. For people who lack some blood clotting factor, people with haemophilia, for example, every cut or major bump can be a risk of death, because they do not stop bleeding. On the other hand, you do not want clots forming at random or floating around your bloodstream.
The media invariably describes the blood clots that have been reported days or weeks after someone has been vaccinated as “rare” as if that proves they can only have been caused by the vaccine. But how rare are such clots in the general population?
The CDC estimates that the overall incidence of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism is about one person per thousand population per year.
Clots you don’t want can be caused by a variety of factors; sitting for too long, as in long distance plane travel, smoking, pregnancy, heart attacks, oral contraception. The additional risk of developing a dangerous blood clot for a woman on the pill is between 0.3% and 1.0% every ten years. About one in every two hundred women will develop a dangerous blood clot over any ten year period on the pill. Most of the clots reported after vaccination were in women under sixty, the group most likely to be users of oral contraception.
Not every adverse effect reported after a vaccine is the fault of the vaccine. In the Pfizer trials, with over 70,000 people, 0.7% of those who received the vaccine reported a severe adverse reaction. Not good, you might think. But 0.8% of those who received a placebo, usually a tiny injection of normal saline, also reported a severe adverse reaction.
How many of the adverse reactions reported by people who received the placebo were caused by the vaccine? None, because they didn’t receive the vaccine. So how many of the lower number of adverse reactions reported by people who did receive the vaccine were caused by the vaccine? Probably also none. But all were investigated carefully and thoroughly for any possible causative effect, or any incidence over the average in the general population.
In the case of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, after six million doses administered, six women who had received the vaccine reported serious blood clots within two weeks. All were aged between 18 and 48. To be clear, the vaccine was called into question after 1 person per million, all of whom were in a high risk group for blood clots for other reasons, developed clots that normally occur at a rate of one per thousand people every year.
If that sounds ridiculous, it is.
Cutting supply of the Astrazeneca and Johnson and Johnson vaccines will not save lives. There is no evidence that either vaccine poses any additional risk to recipients. Both vaccines have proven 90% effective in preventing severe illness due to COVID. Both will save lives.