So a friend sent me a “news” article celebrating the finding that the much maligned J&J vaccine used as a “booster” proved to be “85% effective” at keeping you out of the hospital. That’s pretty sweet considering I just posted yesterday about several studies that showed the Pfizer vax was all but useless against the Omicron monster. My friend was considering a booster and was trying to figure out which to get, as she had gotten the J&J originally but now that the government had been recommending Pfizer or Moderna as the booster of choice even if you originally got J&J, she wasn’t sure what to do. Of course using an adenovirus vaccine (JJ) to cause your body to elicit an antibody response followed up by using an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer/Moderna) to force another antibody response has never been done before but whatthehell, in for a penny, in for a pound.
Anyway, from ABC NEWS we’re told (my caps) “A real-world study of South African health care workers found that two doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine offer 85% PROTECTION AGAINST HOSPITALIZATION from the omicron variant.” And from our friends at CNN we’re told “Two reports released Thursday show that people who get booster doses of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine are WELL PROTECTED against severe disease and hospitalization from the Omicron variant of coronavirus, the company said… One real-life study from South Africa showed vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization from Covid-19 ROSE TO 85% after a booster dose of the J&J vaccine, even after the Omicron variant was circulating.” And then there’s all sorts of bloviating by all sorts of “experts”. Cool.
Couple things though. First, the authors admit “Our analysis has several LIMITATIONS: overall FOLLOW UP WAS SHORT for Ad26.COV.2 vaccine boosts- median follow up since the boost was 8 DAYS for [health care workers] who received their boost within 0-13 days; 20 DAYS for those 14-27 days post boost and 32 DAYS for those who had been boosted for 1-2 months which could impact overall [vaccine effectiveness].” Now where have we heard this before? Let’s see…oh yeah, back in January of 2021 when we were told the vaccines were about 95% effective. Of course those trials only lasted about two months also. Later we found out that after maybe as little as three months those vaccines became as useful as a government definition of “gain of function”. Here in this J&J study we “followed the science” for a median of a whopping 32 days. Sounds good.
Second, if you look at the actual data the way any sane person would look at it, this is what you see:
Now if you do a little math this is what you find: The test positivity rates are all pretty much the same. The not vaccinated showed that 39% of all those tested were positive (18,294/47,332). The 0-13 day booster group was at 30%, the 14-27 day group was at 35%, and the 1-2 month group was at 37%. So the booster didn’t seem to do a whole lot for keeping people from getting infected (and then ostensibly spreading it). Now I personally couldn’t give a rat’s patoot about how many “cases” there are, never have. But our government overlords and their water-carriers in the media can’t catch their breath they’re so frantic telling us about “cases”. But remember these “reports” about J&J are about how the booster is “85% effective” at keeping you out of the hospital. Let’s see.
The hospitalization case RATE for the unvaxxed is 3.9%. As we have discussed before, the RATE is the great equalizer and gives you a much more honest view of what’s going on. If you’re wondering how you get that number, you take the number of admissions (713) and divide it by the number of the infected (positive tests, 18,294). You then multiply that number by 100. So 713/18,294 = 0.0389 x 100 = 3.89. Rounded up you get 3.9%. That number tells you your chances of ending up in the hospital IF you get infected if you're unvaxxed. The population hospitalization rate (how many out of all the unvaxxed end up in the hospital) is only about 1.5%. That means if you decline to get vaccinated, you stand a 98.5% chance of NOT ending up in the hospital. For the other three booster groups you find hospitalization case rates of 1.9%, 0.9%, and 1.0% respectively. What this means is if you are one of the great unwashed masses who is not vaccinated, your risk of ending up in the hospital (in real world numbers) is at worst, 3% higher than a "boostered" person. At least for the first month or two. Since they didn’t follow boostered people beyond that time, we have no idea what happens. But if history is any guide, it doesn’t go well. Suffice it to say if you’re a booster booster (see what I did there), you better be ready to roll up that sleeve again in about three months. Have fun with that. Remember, first boosters were a distant possibility, then suggested at six months for the “severely compromised”, then at six months “for anyone who wants one”, then “OK, for everybody”, then “it shouldn’t be considered a booster, it was always a three-shot regimen”, now “everyone MUST get a third shot, even Junior, or you're not 'fully vaccinated'” and “now get your third shot after just five months, not six”. I'd bet folding money that if this insanity continues old Joe will be imploring you to get your fourth shot by tax day. Because they would "KNOW" that one will confer lasting immunity...
So if improving your chances of not ending up in the hospital by two or three percent floats your boat, go ahead and get jabbed. It's not for me to say whether you get vaxxed or not. It's not for anybody else to say either. But please understand that if you believe that shot will give you an “85% protection” that simply is not true. That is statistical hijinx. According to this data, which is what’s being touted as “85% protection”, if I’m walking around completely unvaxxed, my chance of ending up in the hospital IF I get infected is about 4%. If you’re walking around vaxxed and boosted, you’re chance of ending up in the hospital IF you get infected is somewhere between roughly 1% and 2%. The rest is smoke and mirrors. And of course as we have discussed before, we don't actually know WHY those people are in the hospital or how "sick" they are. Notice there's no discussion of deaths in this study.
A few last things. Realize this study was done on health care workers who are routinely exposed to way more virus than you or I would ever be. So how much these infection rates and hospitalization rates apply to us normal folk just walking around society is questionable. Also, as the researchers didn't genetically sequence if someone was infected with Omicron or Delta, we have no idea which variant might have put someone in the hospital. Is it possible a significant amount of the unvaxxed in the hospital were infected with Delta which is more problematic? Absolutely. Even though "Enrollment commenced before the onset of the Omicron driven fourth wave in South Africa" the authors "assumed" that's not the case through some other experimental gymnastics. But the FACT is they have no idea who had what strain. This post isn't really about the efficacy of the booster; as is generally the case, my focus is on how information is presented to the public so then we all believe we "know" something that isn't really true. In case this is the first time you're joining us, I would suggest to you that you stop listening to the "experts" and talking heads. They're all idiots and liars and they do not have your best interests at heart. Of course if you just got healthier and took you vitamin D, you wouldn't need to worry about this at all.