AS THE number of deaths ’shortly after vaccination’ reported via Yellow Card (1,559) has now overtaken the number of fatalities ‘due to’ or ‘involving’ Covid in healthy under-65s for the whole of 2020 (1,549), it might have been prudent to slow down the jab rollout for healthy under-65s and look more closely at the risk vs rewards.
From next week 16-to-17-year-olds will be ‘eligible’ for the jab. Children and young teens don’t need the vaccine of course. Even Sage member Calum Semple admits that for children, the quantifiable risk of death is one in a million. ‘We know in wave one and wave two put together there were 12 deaths in children in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland . . . and that is rare because there are about 13 to 14million children in the UK’.
In fact what will happen is that as the programme extends to ever younger individuals, an increasing proportion will die from the vaccine rather than from Covid.
A very rough risk vs reward for healthy 0-to-19-year-olds would be to look at the chances of dying ‘shortly after vaccination’ compared with the chances of surviving Covid. Until March 21, 2021, there were 36 Covid deaths in the whole of the UK in the 0-19 age group (20 in England and Wales). Of these, 91.1 per cent had at least one known comorbidity, meaning that only three healthy children died from/with/of Covid in the 0-19 cohort of 15.6million. Factoring in that the more prevalent Delta variant has a Case Fatality Rate potentially 20 times less pathogenic than the Alpha variant (0.1-0.5 per cent vs 1.8-2 per cent) and you’ve got to be at near zero deaths from/with/of Covid in the healthy 0-to-19-year-old age group.
Conversely, there is a 1 in 46,911 of dying ‘shortly after vaccination’ following the AstraZeneca jab and a 1 in 73,045 chance of dying following the Pfizer jab. Assuming the healthy 16-to-17-year-olds are offered the Pfizer jab, that could equate to 20 deaths in the 16-17 age group and 213 in the 0-19 age group.
To put absolute vs relative risk in perspective, Pfizer’s 95 per cent efficacy claim was calculated using only 170 of the 36,621 participants during the original trial. Half were given the Pfizer jab and half a saline placebo. Of the 36,621 healthy 16-to-55-year-olds exposed to the virus, only 170 became infected, eight in the jab group and 162 in the unvaccinated group. The relative efficacy was therefore calculated as 1-8/162 x 100 = 95 per cent. Absolute risk was 0.7 per cent. But surely the more interesting number is the 36,451 (or 99.54 per cent) who didn’t become infected even when exposed to the virus. Not to Pfizer. That number doesn’t sell vaccines.