Delta Variant and Vaccine Risk-Benefit Analysis
The Chloroquine Wars Part XXXIX
After my last article, I got to thinking more and more about what the risk-benefit analysis (RBA) will look like for the vaccines with respect to the Delta variant that seems poised to dominate the third wave of the pandemic in most Western nations.
Note that to-date, no complete RBA has been published by the CDC, vaccine manufacturers, or any other source, despite dubious, uncited, unexplained claims by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky about how many young lives will be saved by the vaccines (CDC, please release whatever fraction of an RBA you have so that the rest of us can examine your methodology! Transparency is a virtue---and usually a legal requirement for vaccine RBAs). However, a peer-reviewed study (Walach et al) that we might call "the closest thing yet to an RBA, even if incomplete (but mostly incomplete on the risk side where ADEs, vaccine escape, and potential for unforeseen consequences such as reactivation of retroviruses are hard to incorporate and quantify) suggests that the vaccine campaign isn't worth it".
Personally, I'd guess that a ring-vaccination strategy would be better, but I call into question the forms of vaccine we are using given that targeting the toxic spike protein seems neither necessary, nor advisable, and I've still never seen a good answer to the question, "Why not just infect most people with non-SARS CoVs that spur cross-reactive immunity as a partial alternative?"
While I don't have U.S. data as nicely packaged as the UK data, I decided to think about Walensky's claim of 1 life saved per million doses in terms of the UK data, which we should expect to look quite similar. I will try to make all assumptions and computations transparent where I have not already performed them in previous articles.
First, in the UK, there were 5 deaths from June 29, 2020 through January 31, 2021 in the 10 to 19 year old age group. As I mentioned in a previous article, while government reports do not give this number precisely, it is easy to infer from the data since they give mortality rates (and population numbers are easy to look up):
The 10-19 age range here likely looks like the 12-17 age range in terms of deaths/million. For the UK, there are only 0.66 deaths/million to work with at all, so that's going to be hard to improve upon by 1.
So, what proportion of these deaths might be saved through vaccination?
When I ran the numbers, I came up with mortality RRRs that averaged just over 50%. Let's be generous and call it 60%.
Now, we should expect the population to have more immunity after two waves, but given that the Delta variant may have a larger R in a naive population, I'll conservatively call that a wash.
But the Delta variant appears less deadly per case by around 90% (consistent across both my PHE data crunching jobs). That means we would expect to see only 0.07 deaths/million without vaccination among the 12-17 age group for which we can attribute a (60%) reduction of 0.04 deaths/million, which is 1 death for 25 million children in that age range, or alternatively 1 death per 50 million doses. That is to say that for the whole United States, we should expect to save 1 life, assuming full vaccination of every 12 to 17 year old. That is very far from the 1 life per million claim made by Walenksy, and fewer than the number of teenage lives already suspected to be due to vaccination.
Now ask yourself, could we save more lives (life?) with the $1.7 billion that full vaccination program would cost (just for that age group)? And even if those doses could appear out of thin air, provided by elves in Santa's workshop, and none of those children died from vaccination, would it be worth a thousand cases of myocarditis (not to mention all the other adverse reactions, of which several dozen have been categorized)?
The CDC Director should also explain hospitalization and ICU calculations she claims, and where she gets relative reduction rates for those, with respect to the Delta variant.
Your move, Walensky. We want a full risk-benefit analysis, broken down into appropriate subpopulations. You will be judged on the merits of your policies and claims based on the numbers.
Ah, the blessed rationality of simple maths. Given that there have already been a number of deaths reported in this age group from the vaccine, what does that work out to Matthew?