Vaccines Are 100% Effective at Preventing COVID-19 Hospitalizations and Deaths
The COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are about 95 percent effective at preventing symptomatic illness. What does that really mean? It does not mean that 95 percent of people are protected from disease with the vaccine, as Oxford Centre for Global Health Research infectious disease specialist Piero Olliaro recently explained in the Lancet. Olliaro notes that an earlier ambiguous editorial in the Lancet may have lead readers to make just such a mistaken inference.
What the 95 percent figure really means here is that vaccinated people in the clinical trials had a 95 percent lower risk of getting COVID-19 compared with the unvaccinated control group participants. That means that vaccinated people were 20 times less likely than the control group to get COVID-19.
Olliaro looked at what a 95 percent vaccine efficacy rate would mean in a hypothetical case in which a population of 100,000 people have all been vaccinated. Applying the 1 percent rate at which unvaccinated folks became ill during the vaccine trials over three months suggests that 1,000 people in an unvaccinated population of 100,000 would fall ill. But because all 100,000 people are vaccin
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