OWN VOICE. ~ InPerspective by Gregg Dieguez, with thanks once again to Mary Chitty & Bruce Laird —
To answer this question we need to consider three things: Are the vaccines safe to take? Do they work? And how much do they help our society overall? Can vaccines get us all back to a Normal Life?
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Are the Vaccines Safe?
Tens of thousands of vaccinated people are going to die this year. But they’re not going to die from the vaccine; they’re going to die from heart attacks, car and plane crashes, falling down ladders, and accidentally shooting themselves, etc. etc. The most recent concern over vaccination was the J&J vaccine causing a 0.000625% chance of a rare blood clotting disease (CVST). And only one of those people died, which would be a 0.000013% increased chance of death. Compared to the risk of dying from COVID, which is about 0.463%, that is a 37,040 times greater chance of death from COVID than from CVST after taking that J&J vaccine. In fact, the J&J recipients had a lot LESS chance of CVST than the overall population in normal years.
Of course everything varies by age and pre-existing conditions, but it’s not even close – COVID vaccines are MUCH MUCH safer than not taking them. It’s a testament to the vigilance of the FDA and CDC that such a small vaccine side effect was caught and flagged. You could argue that pausing the vaccine (and damaging its reputation) did more harm than good, because more people could have been protected sooner, with a 37,000-fold mortality advantage. And vaccines could have saved our country trillion$ in economic costs, had we had them sooner.
Do COVID Vaccines Work?
Yes. Much better than flu shots, which are only 19 to 60% effective. If you get vaccinated, you’re very unlikely to contract and die from COVID – what they call a “Breakthrough Infection”. The table at right [top section] shows your risk of getting a case of COVID after either: a) getting vaccinated or b) recovering from a prior case of COVID. It’s really small. And your chance of dying after a Breakthrough Infection is really, really small.
Further, as shown in the bottom half of that chart, your chance of dying from a COVID infection is 655 times HIGHER if you DON’T get vaccinated. In fact, other life risks are much greater than dying from COVID after vaccination. And since COVID ranked as the 3rd leading cause of death in 2020, and is PREVENTABLE by vaccination, you should get vaccinated, if you value your life. There is also increasing evidence that COVID survivors have a variety of severe, lasting problems, but let’s save that for another article.
Compared to other life risks, if you only have to take the COVID vaccination ONCE in your life, then you’re 1,334 times more likely to die in a car accident[*], and 85 times more likely to die from a fall on the stairs, than you are to die from a COVID infection. If you have to get COVID vaccinated Every Single Year for the rest of your life, you are still about 17 times more likely to die in a car crash than from catching COVID after vaccination. Of course, if the whole world gets vaccinated and beyond COVID, then you won’t have to keep taking those shots. If enough people DON’T get vaccinated, and the virus continues to evolve into new strains, then people will continue to die from COVID, and we will want annual booster shots – just as with flu – only those booster shots will be far more beneficial and important to our public health than flu shots.
Finally, Israel is ahead of the world in vaccinations, but recent data indicates that the 84% of their COVID deaths are coming from UN-vaccinated people. Just saying, the Evidence Is Overwhelming, and mounting.
MORAL(s) OF THE STORY:[+]
- Get vaccinated
- Stay away from cars
- Did I mention: Get Vaccinated?
I understand that there has been a lot of disinformation about vaccination over the years (some of it just yesterday), and that people have fears and concerns. If you are one of those people, I strongly encourage you to read this excellent CNN summary of the concerns and the realities behind vaccination risks.
Are COVID Vaccinations Worth It To Society?
Well, do you want to get back to Life As We Knew It, before all the safety measures we’ve had to implement? Do you want to safely attend a group event, or have your kids in school without worrying about them seeing their grandparents? Not only have we spent a ton of money to develop those vaccines, but a recent Yale presentation on the Pandemic cited one spectacular cost savings from vaccines:
USSR & USA spearheaded global smallpox eradication in the 1950s • Global investment of $300 million saved over $1 billion/PER YEAR smallpox vaccination costs in USA alone.
100 million people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history. Current evidence indicates COVID vaccines have more short term side effects than a flu shot, but they work much better than flu shots, AND are preventing much more deadly or long-term debilitating diseases that occur with “Long COVID”. So vaccines are a great investment IF YOU TAKE THEM. And if you don’t, they don’t work, as we saw with the return of measles due to Anti-vaxxers.
As a country we spend WAY too much money on cures, and not nearly enough on PREVENTION. Have you heard?: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure“! Compare the level of U.S. health care spending and health outcomes as contrasted with other nations ( ^chart above^). You can clearly see our mis-spending not leading to longer lives, but think also of the many trillions of dollars we’ve spent on emergency medical supplies (PPE, ventilators, hospital costs, etc.), lost economic production, and rescue funding during this Pandemic that are NOT reflected in that 2018 chart. Our failure at prevention has cost us even more dearly recently, but we always lagged other countries in preventive public health, and we have paid for it, in deadly fashion.
SO, if you’re hesitant about taking the vaccine, then why are you driving your car? Or walking on a street WITH cars? Or using STAIRS, for Goodness’ Sake? And if you don’t get vaccinated, then you are a potential breeding ground for COVID-19 to develop into new variants that can kill yourself and others – even if you are asymptomatic. So, be a responsible member of our society, protect yourself and follow the Constitution:
…insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the General Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity….”
Because we won’t have General Welfare or the Blessings of Liberty as long as we’re susceptible to this Pandemic. Let’s get back to Normal.
Postscript: I guess this article must be pretty good, because the Russians attacked it before it was even published! Follow that link to read more…
I admit that these are preliminary data, and this is a crude analysis, and that not all vaccines are created equal. And I’ll be happy to update this analysis in another year. But I’m comfortable publishing this because the COVID vaccines are SO much SAFER than other mortality risks.
 The economic impact of vaccination: more than meets the eye
“It was estimated that more than US$300 million was invested for the eradication of Smallpox. As a result of its eradication, numerous human lives were saved, and costs related to the purchase of vaccines, human resources, treatment and international surveillance activities were abrogated. Smallpox eradication drove savings of up to US $2 billion each year, which were then allocated to address other pressing health issues (Rémy et al., 2015).”
 Welcome Back!, Measles…
Measles is back. The virus dramatically declined in the U.S. when the measles vaccine was invented in 1963 and then virtually disappeared once the combination measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine was made widely available in 1971. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), slightly more than 200 cases were reported nationwide in the first two months of 2019, five of them in Illinois.”
 Similar CSVT issues with Astra Zeneca
In the UK, 30 cases of CSVT – seven of them fatal – were reported among 18 million people who received the Astra Zeneca vaccine. The baseline case rate for that disease is 14.7 per million, so 265 cases could have been expected among 18 million people, depending upon the observation timeframe. So 30 is much less than 265, and no link between the vaccine and CSVT has yet been established. Note that COVID-19 is well known for making clots more likely.
Mr. Dieguez is a native San Franciscan, longtime San Mateo County resident, and semi-retired entrepreneur who causes occasional controversy on the Coastside. He is a member of the MCC, but his opinions here are his own, and not those of the Council. In 2003 he co-founded MIT’s Clean Tech Program here in NorCal, which became MIT’s largest alumni speaker program. He lives in Montara. He loves a productive dialog in search of shared understanding.