The Efficacy & Net Benefit Case For Not Getting A COVID-19 Vaccine Right Now

Some of these COVID-19 vaccines have a low efficacy and provide little net benefit. So, what do I mean by that? Low efficacy meaning that they don’t work as well as the alternatives; that being another treatment, vaccine or natural immunity. The net benefits mean weighing the benefits of the vaccine vs the risks of taking it plus the natural immunity and chance of infection. In this post, I’ll be looking at the statistics of the vaccines, some human immunity data, looking at new studies and giving the verdict as to what we should do (they the title gives the answer).

Briefly, I’ll once again say that I’m looking only at the vaccines that are or will be available in Australia. These are Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

Graphs Introduction

Firstly, let’s have a look at three graphs which present the effectiveness or efficacy of the vaccines. I’ll discuss each of them and the implications. As a quick note, not all data is available for each vaccine for each dose and/or variant, so there are missing columns. Also, I’ve added the country of origin for clarity. You can find the links to the data used here; I used Wikipedia’s collation of the data for ease of use and cited the studies directly when needed.

Also, I put Delta first in the graphs since it is the most predominant variant globally and as far as I’m aware, the only variant circulating in Australia; see the link for details. However, the other variants such Beta and Gamma are still around in a large capacity globally and are still useful to look at. For the purpose of this post, I’ll mostly be looking at Delta; though they’ll be a post dealing with Delta specifically later in the series.

Graph 1- Hospitalisations

Hospitalisation Effectiveness

The first graph here looks at how well the vaccines prevent hospitalisation. All of them seem to do pretty well at that job. But hold your horses. Whilst, I say over 90% is a pretty good number for Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca at two doses, the numbers don’t hold well under scrutiny. I’ll get to that in a little bit.

Graph 2- Symptomatic Infections

Symptomatic Effectiveness

It’s here at preventing symptomatic infections that the vaccines start to lose their value. Particularly, AstraZeneca does quite worse. But to be fair, one dose of Pfizer seems to do very little; not even passing 50%. At two doses, Pfizer and Moderna still pass 80% against all of these variants.

Why is it that most of these vaccines require two doses? Hardly any other vaccine needs that. Johnson & Johnson requires just one and does quite well. Just a question to the vaccine manufacturers, why do you need two doses (and more booster shots which I’ll get to later) instead of a stronger single dose?

Graph 3- Asymptomatic Infections

Asymptomatic Effectiveness

It’s the asymptomatic infections where both Pfizer and AstraZeneca do the most poorly. Though, I only have data on these two, they’re the only ones available at the moment; so, it’s fine to compare just those. At a single dose, both don’t even pass 40%.

We’ve had 18 months of the mob telling us that the asymptomatic cases are the concerning ones because they can unknowingly spread the disease to the vulnerable. Then a vaccine is produced and these two vaccines don’t do a good enough job.

The Numbers Aren’t The Full Picture

Look, you can say I’m being way too critical and that these vaccines perform better than others. But it’s not good enough. This series is about 10 reasons not to get a vaccine right now and when studying this I thought I could give them credit where it’s due for preventing hospitalisations but I can’t and it’s not just because they don’t necessarily prevent infection, there are problems with the figures. The numbers looked great but then I dug a little deeper and I found problems.

There are some problems with the numbers put out. It’s a point I’ll address further in my comparison of the vaccinated and the non-vaccinated numbers. A Scottish study of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, for all three categories I showed, said, “This analysis was based upon all individuals who have a PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 in the study period, and it compares the proportions positive among individuals vaccinated at the time of the swab test with those unvaccinated when they are tested, adjusting for demographic and temporal covariates.”

What does that even mean? I’m no scientist but the test doesn’t seem very scientific. So, all these people got a test and then they compared the numbers of those infected and not infected between the vaccinated and the non-vaccinated. You have 4 variables there. That’s not scientific at all. And it’s only covering a two-week span. That’s not long enough to actually see the effectiveness of the vaccine over time.

What would be scientific would be to have a single independent variable, what you’re looking for between the vaccinated and unvaccinated, infection firstly (both symptomatic and asymptomatic infection) and then a second test further test of those who were infected about whether they’re hospitalised or not. You’d need to ensure both participants lived and travelled in the same conditions. Perhaps people could be paired up and travel together to all places. They obviously can do separate things when they’re not in the company of others but there needs to be an equal opportunity to be infected. Except, they’re not doing that and it gets worse for them.

The study also said, “EAVE II is a Scotland-wide COVID-19 surveillance platform that has been used to track and forecast the epidemiology of COVID-19, inform risk stratification, and investigate vaccine effectiveness and safety… It comprises national health-care datasets on 5·4 million people (about 99% of the Scottish population) … We used the EAVE II platform to undertake a cohort analysis to describe the demographic profile of COVID-19 patients, investigate the risk of hospital admission for COVID-19, and estimate vaccine effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 hospital admissions in S gene-positive (Delta) cases.” So, basically all of Scotland is the data set. Usually using a population can be great for scientific tests because there is lots of data that better tells us something about the population, since it isn’t just the sample. However, in this case, it’s not a fair test because of the things I discussed above.

How many of these people who were vaccinated and tested negative weren’t actually exposed to the virus? We simply don’t know. And that’s only one of many questions that we don’t know the answer to. So, we really can’t draw any conclusions because there are so many factors this study doesn’t take into account. I still can’t get over the two weeks part. I’ll talk about the effectiveness in the long run a little later since it’s so crucial.

Vaccine vs. No Vaccine

Let’s see how well the best double dose vaccine does against nature immunity and chance in relation to the COVID-19 Delta Variant. For reference, I’ve used the NSW statistics as of 1st September 2021. Also, I’ve used the same number for both symptomatic and asymptomatic infection since there aren’t clear statistics for each. For the purpose of this graph, a positive number means natural immunity and/or chance performs better than the vaccine

So, to work out non-vaccinated efficacy numbers, here is what I did. For hospitalisation, I used the total number of people in hospital currently in NSW of COVID-19 (999) and divided it by the number of active cases in NSW (that doesn’t even take into consideration the recovered cases which would lower the percentage more). Now, that’s the chance of being hospitalised, so I inverted it (1 – the chance) to get the comparative efficacy percentage. For the infection chance, I simply rounded the NSW population to 8 million and divided it by the number of active cases in NSW; it’s not entirely accurate for each local area but it’s the best measure on average.

Difference Between Non-Vaccination & Best Vaccine

So, what can we draw from this? The vaccine narrowly beats natural immunity by less than 1% on current data. But in terms of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infection, chance wins out. There’s at least 14% difference in favour of chance. So, that’s the human body and chance doing better on average 10% of the time. It seems like it’s a pretty simple choice.

Now, I must say, this is very simple analysis. You may raise the objection that the figures of vaccine say that this is compared to no vaccine or a placebo (both in reality being the human body and chance). How are they compared? Have they exposed the people to the virus in the same conditions? It doesn’t even have to be lab conditions. These studies don’t explain how there can be any sort of comparison. Seriously, there is no indication that they actually tried to make the test fair like I described; you can read the paper yourself. Whilst it isn’t entirely clear how the comparison is made, it matters little to the outcome even if you grant them that a legitimate comparison is made and that the figures are vs an unvaccinated person. Why?

Infection ChanceHospitalisation Chance
The statistic as of 1st September 2021 in NSW to 2 decimal places

Well, even if the vaccine numbers are compared to no vaccine and the difference number is useless, you can still see your chances if you do nothing. There’s just an under 5% chance of hospitalisation once catching the virus and only a 2% or so chance of even catching the disease. So, is the vaccine adding anything? Not much. And once we factor in the serious risks of the vaccines, there is no net benefit because you’ve got the risks of the vaccine being quite high, natural immunity and then on the other side a vaccine which, if we grant the comparison, it doesn’t hold a 90%+ effectiveness across all categories and over time.

Is The Net Benefit In Favour of the Vaccine?

So, does the vaccinate have a net benefit? It seems to be no if we factor in the risks of the vaccine and only a little net benefit if we don’t. One thing is for sure, we still don’t have a fair study to compare the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

Looking at simple graphs like I just did allow you to compare how well we normally do without a vaccine to when we do have one. The point is overall, what does the vaccine add to protect you? Scarcely little, the analysis shows.

So, with the risks we know of the vaccines and the booster shots to come (it’s a pun because the topic of booster shots is coming up in this post), it’s clear to me that these vaccines aren’t all cracked up to be what they’re supposed to be. Plus, the immunity of the human body and chance are quite great levellers to show that we’re alright with ourselves without a vaccine when it comes to COVID-19.

Booster Shots Already

Just a key point, we’re widely already talking about booster shots (though this was spoken briefly of last year). This is just 9 or 10 months after massive vaccination and it’s public knowledge that booster shots will be required; even for the supposedly more effective Pfizer.

Israel is offering 3rd doses to people. 10% of its population had one dose before the New Year then their second dose in the New Year and apparently the immunity is wearing off as Israel sees skyrocketing cases and hospitalisations. These cases and hospitalisations are despite the fact that it was one of the first countries to do mass vaccination, as I mentioned just now and it is also one of world’s most vaccinated countries.

It’s little surprise. Like I said before, we don’t know the long-term effects of these vaccines and that includes the immunity effect that it’s the vaccine’s job to provide. Most of the data I showed in the graphs above, like I said, were after just a few weeks of vaccination, not months.

You can point out that many vaccines have lower efficacy but they at least hold their immunity. None need to be ‘topped up’ like this. You wonder why people are suspicious of Big Pharma when people need a shot every 9 or 12 months. Can you not make a product to last? Or is this like printers and ink cartridges and razors and blades? You get more over the long-term and people have to keep coming back. This meme below rings true.

An Accurate Meme

A Study That Proves A Reduced Effectiveness

I’ll mention one more study to round this off. The USA’s CDC published a study, a few days ago, which presented the evidence that the effectiveness against infection of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines dropped from 91% to 66% from the end of last year to now. In fact, the data was so varied that the effectiveness could be as low at 26% and as high as 84%. It indicates a large range of results and thus, destroying the “safe and effective” propaganda line

This study focussed on the frontline workers who were the first to get the vaccine and thus the ones that can be studied for the longest. That’s a critical fact. What is also important is that these numbers apply to Delta only; well sort of. The study only indicates it categorised by being in the Delta dominant period and not by the infection type. But it’s very important to know, since the number the Scottish study presented was that Pfizer could be 83% effective during a two-week period after vaccination.

It seems Delta and time all play a part in showing how effective or show I say ineffective, these vaccines are. And if they’re not even working properly for healthcare workers who may also have immunity from previous infections yet still catch the virus, what hope is there for most Aussies who don’t even know anyone who’s been infected let alone had COVID-19 themselves.

This proves that over time, the effects wear off and the immunity is lost. The point is, we can’t make a vaccine the be all and end all and this study shows it. These are people who are meant to protect others and not be vulnerable to infection. Yet now they are very much vulnerable to getting sick and spreading the disease.


I’ll have more to say about the efficacy of these vaccines against Delta specifically in a later post in this series and I’ll go more in depth into the vaccines and Delta in that post.

They’re vaccines that sort of, maybe, work for a few months but not if you’ve only had one shot. Then you have to go for more and more. I’ve shown how your normal chance and immunity work ‘better’ than these vaccines. You can see that you’re very unlikely to face infection let alone hospitalisation. I’ve shown some of the risks of getting the vaccine in the previous post and there’ll be more to come. So, why risk it when you can see your body defends you well?

Sources (In order of use)

Meme original source is unknown


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