I appreciate that the people who read this site will be almost entirely a subset of the population that is not just “vaccine hesitant”, but those who will outright refuse the jab under any circumstances; however, I feel it is worth outlining how I reached my decision so that the data are easily accessible in one place, and the way I have made my decision harks back to a better time when medical intervention decisions were made based on personal risk assessments: is this a treatment from which I will derive more benefit than loss? However, I will examine the predominant argument from the other side that “it’s not for you, it’s for society” in the second half of this article.
First though, my personal risk assessment; there are only two choices here: get the jab; and don’t get the jab. Let’s start with the risk profile of not getting the jab.
A useful tool for this can be found at qcovid.org, and for my profile, the absolute risk of death from COVID-19 is calculated to be 0.0002% (or 1 in 500,000), the same estimate given to bungee jumping, about three times safer than cycling, about fifteen times safer than scuba diving, and about twenty-five times the risk of dying in a fatal car accident in any given year.
What’s more though, the data used in the qcovid.org calculation comes from a 90-day period during the spring 2020 surge and the absolute risk given includes the probability of catching the virus. This is now much, much lower because of the effectively zero prevalence and increased population immunity levels. It would be difficult to put an accurate figure on the reduction of risk, but one method we can employ is to roughly estimate how many fewer people could pass the virus onto us as a result of building up their own immunity. Before this all kicked off, the portion who had cross-infection immunity (T-cells from related endemic HCoVs), or simply age-related immunity (children having stores of B-cells that were capable of fighting the virus with no issues) was likely around 1 in 3; now, adding in newly-established immunity, this figure is likely to be closer to 5 in 6, therefore adding a 2.5x greater barrier of defence.
The real boost in my defence though is that I am confident I have encountered this virus, “battled” it, and overcome it, most likely establishing life-long immunity as was the case with those who overcame the original SARS virus in 2002, and as is suggested in the fact that the number of officially recorded reinfections is proportionally much smaller than the portion of the population with serious immune system deficiencies. However, there is still a chance I encountered a different virus, or that I am unknowingly immunodeficient, so I will estimate the risk reduction at only 90%.
Combining these factors and risk reductions together adjusts the qcovid.org estimate from 0.0002% to 0.000008% (or 1 in 12,500,000).
Let’s turn to the jab, then. Now, given that I’m under 30, and as the current decision is that under-30s will not be given the AstraZeneca adenovirus vector vaccine, the focus here will be on the other two “approved” mRNA jabs from Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech that, in very basic terms, teach your cells to produce the relevant spike protein so your body can learn to fight it without having to encounter the virus itself.
Here are the issues that have been highlighted:
- No other human jabs have used this technology before.
- There is a suggestion that the spike protein alone is pathogenic.
- There is a recorded short-term immunosuppressive element to these jabs.
- Animal trials were skipped for these jabs.
- No long-term safety data can possibly exist.
- There is no evidence suggesting that the issue with Antibody Dependent Enhancement (ADE) has been sorted out.
- There is no evidence that these jabs can enhance established natural immunity.
Quantifying the numerical risk profile of the above issues is tough, I certainly don’t have the scientific expertise to do so, but it is concerning that those who do haven’t done so themselves.
What we do have is the MHRA and EMA Safety Committee estimates of the risk of a fatal blood clot which are 0.0004% and 0.001% respectively, and which are alone 50x and 125x higher than the estimated absolute risk of death from COVID-19 calculated earlier. Factoring in all other issues, such as heart attacks, ADE, long-term issues, can only increase this risk ratio.
Of course, the risk ratio changes with age, but, that factor of 50x increased risk isn’t matched with COVID-19 until the individual in question’s age reaches 55 (again according to qcovid.org), meaning that not getting the jab should be an absolute no-brainer for anyone 55 and under making a decision based purely on personal risk assessment.
While I don’t think it needs to be said, variants should not be considered here. Not just because the biggest absolute difference between any variant and the originally sequenced virus is 0.3% and it is extremely unlikely this could evade established immunity, but also because it is also impossible that a jab can offer broader immunity than natural immunity.
So that leaves us with the question of whether someone should factor in the additional benefit to society and there are four arguments here. The first is a simple one: no, that’s not how medical decisions should be made…
The second is the question of who you are protecting; the argument put forward by those who engage in bullying tactics claims that you would be protecting those who can’t have the jab for medical reasons and those for whom the jab doesn’t work effectively. This is already a very small number of people, so small that it won’t impact the herd immunity levels that can effectively protect them. Let’s say that herd immunity is achieved at 75%; this would mean immunity being held by 50,250,000 people in a population of 67,000,000. If you getting the jab increases this to 50,250,001 people, that would represent an absolute increase in population immunity levels of 0.00000001% — and that is assuming that you are not counted among those who already have naturally established immunity.
This miniscule risk is, of course, better mitigated (if it is even worth mitigating against) by avoiding going out when symptomatically sick, as there still remains to be seen any evidence of value that asymptomatic transmission is a legitimate risk.
The third argument concerns variants, which, again, I don’t think is worth discussing, but I have seen the following said: “the more people vaccinated, the less virus that is around, the less virus that is around, the less the virus can mutate, the less the virus can mutate, the less likely it is that a mutation will arise that can evade immunity”, so let’s address it.
This is nonsense. It has a semblance of logic about it; however, a) viruses will mutate in nature to become less deadly and more transmissible in order to better survive, b) no variation has got past what is believed to be 1% of the mutation required to evade established immunity, and c) all the major variants have emerged where there have been major vaccine trials or rollouts. So, no.
The final argument arises from the Lancet paper by Piero Olliaro published last month that looked at the NNV (number needed to vaccinate to prevent one case); for the three jabs approved in the UK, these were 76 for Moderna, 78 for AZ, and 117 for Pfizer. Therefore, you getting jabbed is only contributing to a reduction of, as an average, 0.011 cases, or, applying the WHO/Ioannidis IFR of 0.15%, 0.000017 deaths. There is zero justification to ask an individual to take on the risks of adverse reactions outlined above for this absolute risk reduction, and, if you are concerned about the possibility of having that 0.000017 of a death on your hands, inform a few people of the wonders of ivermectin, vitamin D, healthy eating, and exercise and you will make up for it many, many times over.
In summary, I will not be getting jabbed and I will not be bullied into getting jabbed as there is no justification, personally or societally, for me to do so.