By these measures, all 5 of the vaccines — from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Novavax and Johnson & Johnson — look extraordinarily good. Of the roughly 75,000 individuals who’ve acquired considered one of the 5 in a analysis trial, not a single individual has died from Covid, and only some individuals seem to have been hospitalized. None have remained hospitalized 28 days after receiving a shot.
To place that in perspective, it helps to consider what Covid has carried out to date to a consultant group of 75,000 American adults: It has killed roughly 150 of them and despatched a number of hundred extra to the hospital. The vaccines scale back these numbers to zero and practically zero, primarily based on the analysis trials.
Zero isn’t even probably the most related benchmark. A typical U.S. flu season kills between 5 and 15 out of each 75,000 adults and hospitalizes greater than 100 of them.
I assume you’d agree that any vaccine that transforms Covid into one thing a lot milder than a typical flu deserves to be known as efficient. However that’s not the scientific definition. Whenever you learn that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was 66 p.c efficient or that the Novavax vaccine was 89 p.c efficient, these numbers are referring to the prevention of all sickness. They rely gentle signs as a failure.
“When it comes to the extreme outcomes, which is what we actually care about, the information is implausible,” Dr. Aaron Richterman, an infectious-disease specialist on the College of Pennsylvania, mentioned.
What in regards to the extremely contagious new virus variants which have emerged in Britain, Brazil and South Africa? The South African variant does seem to make the vaccines much less efficient at eliminating infections.
Happily, there is no such thing as a proof but that it will increase deaths amongst vaccinated individuals. Two of the 5 vaccines — from Johnson & Johnson and Novavax — have reported some outcomes from South Africa, and not one of the individuals there who acquired a vaccine died of Covid. “Individuals are nonetheless not getting critical sickness. They’re nonetheless not dying,” Dr. Rebecca Wurtz of the College of Minnesota College of Public Well being informed me.