Risks, Statistics, and Shameful Truth

Warning: Reading this may cause you to be exposed to college-level statistics concepts.

Life consists of assessing the risks of any situation and making a decision about what to do. It doesn’t matter whether you are going to the grocery store, planning a political campaign, or designing a mission to Mars. There are no risk-free alternatives in life.

I was saddened to learn how many countries around the world have reacted to the deployment of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. Out of five million vaccinations worldwide, something like twenty-eight individuals developed blood clots. Country after country has responded to that one piece of information by canceling or postponing implementation of the vaccine.

Think about the medications advertised on television every night. Ads for new medicines typically end with a rapid-speech list of potential side effects which is enough to make anyone not take the medicine. I will guarantee you that the side effects observed for a given, FDA approved medicine are often found to occur more frequently than 28/5,000,000 or .00056% of the time. If you had the disease being discussed, you would probably talk to your physician about the new medicine being advertised.

But not so for the vaccine.

One thing not discussed in the news is the “background level” of this side effect. In other words, if you took a random sample of five million people today, how many of them would develop blood clots due to other medical conditions WITHOUT taking any vaccine? Health authorities have reported that this 28 in 5,000,000 is about the same as the background level. Furthermore, no CAUSAL link has been found. No one can demonstrate that the 28 people who developed blood clots did so because they took the vaccine.

But country after country is stopping their vaccination programs with this particular vaccine when most of them do not have viable alternative vaccines available. What are the known risks of this no-action alternative?

The seven-day average of new COVID19 cases globally is about 434,000. Of those new cases, about 2.2% or about 10,000 will die from the disease next week. These figures are from a New York Times website and were checked against the Johns Hopkins data. If all the countries pulling out of the vaccination program represent 10% of the world’s population, then we can expect that their hysterical, non-scientific reaction to one piece of information that has been reported will result in 1,000 additional, needless deaths EVERY WEEK.

Even if the blood clots were caused by the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, how may people would die from the blood clots?  Probably a lot fewer than 1,000 a week*.

Every month this nonsense goes on, the world buries more people than the fatalities in the 9/11 World Trade Center. Needlessly.

We know better. God created us with brains for rational decision-making. Shame on us for behaving stupidly and causing preventable harm.

*The reported mortality for pulmonary embolism (the worst kind of blood clot) ranges from 5 to 25%. Let’s take the worst case of 25%. If we vaccinated five-million people a week with this particular vaccine and caused 28 people to develop the worst kind of blood clot, then 7 of them would die from the blood clots taking the highest mortality figure. The worst-case comparison should be 7 with the vaccine versus 1,000 without.

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