FACT CHECK(Overstates the Case): Lancet Study Shows Delta Variant May Double Risk of Hospitalization For the Unvaccinated
The problem is, same study showed greater risk of hospitalization for the vaccinated for both the Alpha and Delta variants!
Here is a story that someone forwarded to me. It was being aggressively pushed by one of the local health departments as part of its vaccination propaganda campaign:
Technically the headline is correct. The study did find this. But much like another misleading headline by anti-vaxxers I discussed, it leaves out a very important fact from the study. In fact, it was nearly the exact same fallacy with one important difference: unlike the other study the anti-vaxxers took out of context, this study did examine the effects in the vaccinated.
CBS just decided not to talk about that part of the study because it would have been even more damning to their narrative because the vaccinated, who are supposed to be protected from “severe disease,” did basically WORSE than the unvaccinated when exposed to both the Alpha and Delta variants!
Yes you cannot make this crap up!
"The biggest 'thank you' anyone can give their health care provider is to go get their COVID vaccine," said physician and hospitalist Dr. Aiman Rauf, who treated Larson.
Larson, who spent 20 days in the hospital, got his vaccine.
Meanwhile, almost 60% of those eligible in Los Angeles County have been vaccinated so far — still short of the 70% experts say is needed for herd immunity.
How can one pivot from a study that found higher rates of hospitalization amongst the “fully vaccinated” compared to the unvaccinated to a propaganda piece for vaccines? Oh, you fail to tell the entire story!
This is why the mainstream media networks cannot be trusted to report accurately on anything COVID-19 related. It is about the agenda, not the facts. Unfortunately, much of the alternative media often make the same mistake, which is one the reasons I started this blog. You are not to convince anyone of anything by pitching bad science.
What Did the Study Actually Find
The study was a cohort study that looked at people with COVID-19 from March 29 to May 23 of this year who had test done to sequence the variety of coronavirus they were infected with. This cannot be done with a PCR test, so this is important if you are trying to compare the Alpha and Delta variants.
The researchers then compared the outcomes on these patients based on the type of variant and their vaccination status. Cohort studies are never as good as randomized controlled trials, but can be useful for forming hypotheses to be confirmed through properly done trials. Often it represents the best data you have, but you have to be careful with the way the statistics are done.
First I want you to notice something. There is no true “unvaccinated” group. These idiots literally lumped in the unvaccinated with the vaccinated. And this is a trick the CDC has been using to tell people that a lot of hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. They do not count people who got the first dose as being vaccinated even though, they were vaccinated. I think the comparison between the unvaccinated, the once vaccinated and the twice vaccinated would be much more interesting.
The fact that they did not present that data tells me that maybe it looked even worse for the vaccinated individuals. Why else would you not break it up into three groups? Would that not be more interesting information?
Next while the risk of hospitalization nearly doubled the risk in the unvaccinated, if you look at table 3, it did the same in the vaccinated. In the broadest measure of disease “hospital admission or emergecny car attendance” the relative risk was 1.43 for the unvaccinated and slightly higher at 1.58 for the vaccinated.
More importantly, being “fully vaccinated” was not good in this study. In every comparison the “double vaccinated” people did worse than those who were not. Focusing specifically on “hospital admission or emergency care attendance” since that is arguably the most important measure of severe disease, 5.3% of the people double vaxxed had severe disease versus 3.9% of the unvaccinated and single vaccinated for the Alpha variant. That is basically a 36% increased risk of severe COVID-19 with the extra jab.
If we look at the Delta variant, the double vaxxed had 6.4% severe outcomes versus 5.5% for the unvaccinated and single vaccinated. That is a 16% relative risk by having the second vaccine. Both groups saw an increased risk of severe disease with the Delta variant, which is odd given some of the data we have seen out of the UK that have showed lower mortality rates with the Delta variant. The relative risk of the Delta variant versus the Alpha variant was slightly higher for the vaccinated with an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.58 compared to 1.43 for those that did not receive the double jab. The difference was not meaningful though, as you could drive a truck through the confidence intervals on the double vaxxed.
So you cannot necessarily say the Delta variant with any confidence is a greater risk than the vaccinated even though the ratio is higher.
I did decide to see what the numbers looked like if I grouped the Alpha and Delta variants together since that would provide more power. You have an aggregate risk of hospital admission or emergency care for the double vaxxed at 1,464/3,4710 = 4.2% risk of severe COVID. The 95% confidence interval around this was 4.0% to 4.4%. For the “unvaccinated or single-vaxxed” the risk was 482/8,628 = 5.6% with a confidence interval between 5.1% and 6.1%. The absolute incremental risk is thus 1.2% for both Alpha and Delta variants if you are vaxxed, with a relative risk of 32.4%. These confidence intervals do not overlap and are thus highly statistically significant. I estimate the p-value to be less than .0001.
This is a cohort study as I mentioned earlier, so these things are fraught with problems if not done correctly. The authors appear to be pro vaccine so it is unlikely they would intentionally skew things against vaccination. Randomized studies are always best, but this is the first good evidence we have seen that disease might be more severe in vacccinated patients. This could be indicative of pathogenic priming or simply vaccinated people being less cautious because they think they are “safe.”
But my main point, is if you look at the raw data across the board, being double vaxxed was worse than being partially or unvaccinated. That is the exact opposite conclusion the CBS piece is trying to make, that the unvaccinated have a higher risk than the vaccinated, which is journalistic malpractice. There is no way you can interpret this study to support that.
If I had to guess, they might have even lumped the single vaxxed with the unvaccinated to take patients away from the lower number of double vaxxed people so that the confidence intervals was wider. Probably not much wider though given the one shot people were less than 10% of the truly unvaccinated. But to me that is better reason to lump them in with the lower number of double vaccinated since you do need more power there. And, a once vaccinated is going to be much more comparable to a twice vaccinated, especially given there seemed to be a noticeable benefit from the first dose in terms of severe disease in the Phase 3 trial from severe COVID-19 cases prevented from dose 1 to dose 2. Given the trend of the data we see, I would not be shocked if single vaxxed was worse than unvaxxed since the double vaxxed did worst of all. I would really love to see the data separated into three groups!
Whatever way you slice it, this was not a study that could be used to endorse the vaccines. The double vaxxed in this study themselves did worse than those that were not. It is literally journalistic malpractice to turn this into some sort of testiment to the vaccines preventing severe disease!
Shame on you CBS…shame on you!!!