Do the Covid vaccines work? If so, how well?
These questions are separate from the issue of whether vaccines should be mandated or their side effects. No serious person thinks masks protect their wearers, for example, but we mandated those for more than a year.
But as we enter an ugly new phase in the vaccine debate, I want to offer a theoretical framework to help think about the data we’re seeing – and to explain why these questions would be hard to answer even if the public health authorities were being honest.
To be clear, I’m focusing on the vaccines used in Western countries, especially the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines, which are now essentially the only vaccines used in the United States. (The AstraZeneca DNA/AAV vaccine is still widely used in Europe.)
Also to be clear, in this piece, I am not discussing how the vaccines work at the cellular level. Instead I’m looking at the population-level data we are now seeing – how many people are being infected with or dying from Covid.
It’s crucial to remember that “work” is a highly elastic term. The spectrum runs from:
1) Vaccines end disease in essentially everyone, essentially forever. (This wouldn’t be impossible; it is true for some other vaccines.)
2) Vaccines do not eliminate all cases, but they work very well, especially against severe disease or death.
3) Vaccines reduce disease significantly with slowly declining effectiveness.
4) Vaccines work for short periods, but fail quickly.
5) Vaccines are essentially ineffective, especially in the people at high risk of death from Covid.
6) Vaccines actually worsen Covid.
We can probably eliminate theories 1 and 6 off the top. The clinical trials that Pfizer and Moderna ran last year didn’t show a 100 percent reduction in Covid cases. They also showed no evidence of what’s called antibody-dependent enhancement, that they would cause people to create antibodies that actually helped the virus attack our cells.
The trials did seem to show very sharp reductions in Covid infections, on the order of 95 percent. And no one in the trials died from Covid. This led vaccine proponents to claim that the shots might eliminate nearly all coronavirus deaths – theory 2.
As I explained in my Unreported Truths booklet about the vaccines (https://tinyurl.com/pkzrx76n), this view ignored a huge and almost certainly intentional flaw in the trials. They enrolled only a handful of the older people most at risk from Covid.
As a result, very few UNVACCINATED (as well as vaccinated) people developed serious infections in the trials, and only one unvaccinated person out of more than 30,000 in the mRNA trials died of Covid.
This flaw means the trials couldn’t provide definitive evidence on how well the vaccines work against serious cases of Covid. In contrast, the trials for monoclonal antibodies did prove they worked, because the companies that ran those focused on people at high risk.
The trials had at least two other major flaws. They followed most participants for only about two months after the second dose. And when they calculated vaccine efficacy, they ignored cases that occurred just after the first dose was given.
This meant that when Pfizer and Moderna said in November 2020 their vaccines were about 95% effective at preventing Covid, what they meant was that the vaccines were 95% effective at peak protection FOR A MATTER OF WEEKS.
Neither the companies nor anyone else had any way of knowing how well the vaccines would work in a year, much less in five years – or 20 years. They simply did not have any long-term data. How could they? The vaccines hadn’t even existed until months before, and they used technology that had never been approved for any drug or vaccine.