Vaccine hesitancy has become a threat to public health, especially as it is a phenomenon that has also been observed among healthcare professionals. In this study, an international team of researchers analyzed the relationship between endorsement of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) and vaccination attitudes and behaviors among healthcare professionals, using a cross-sectional sample of physicians with vaccination responsibilities from four European countries: Germany, Finland, Portugal, and France (total N = 2,787).
The results suggest that, in all the participating countries, SCAM endorsement is associated with lower frequency of vaccine recommendation, lower self-vaccination rates, and being more open to patients delaying vaccination, with these relationships being mediated by distrust in vaccines. A latent profile analysis revealed that a profile characterized by higher-than-average SCAM endorsement and lower-than-average confidence and recommendation of vaccines occurs, to some degree, among 19% of the total sample, although these percentages varied from one country to another: 23.72% in Germany, 17.83% in France, 9.77% in Finland, and 5.86% in Portugal.
The authors concluded that these results constitute a call to consider health care professionals’ attitudes toward SCAM as a factor that could hinder the implementation of immunization campaigns.
In my view, this is a very important paper. It shows what we on this blog have discussed often before: there is an association between SCAM and vaccination hesitancy. The big question is: what is the nature of this association. There are several possibilities:
- It could be coincidental. I think this is most unlikely; too many entirely different investigations have shown a link.
- It could mean that people start endorsing SCAM because they are critical about vaccination.
- It could be that people are critical about vaccination because they are proponents of SCAM.
- Finally, it could be that some people have a mind-set that renders them simultaneously hesitant about vaccination and fans of SCAM.
This study, like most of the other investigationson this subject, was not desighned to find out which possibility is most likely. I suspect that the latter two explanations apply both to some extend. The authors of this study argue that that, “from a theoretical point of view, this situation may be explicable by reasons that are both implicit (i.e., CAM would fit better with certain worldviews and ideological standpoints that conflict with the epistemology and values that underlies scientific knowledge) and explicit (i.e., some CAM techniques are doctrinally opposed to the use of vaccines). Although we have outlined these potential explanations for the observed relationships, more research is needed to better understand the underlying mechanisms”.
This short news report appeared on X [formerly Twitter]:
The Ohio State Medical Board just approved the indefinite suspension Dr. Sherri Tenpenny’s medical license, an osteopathic physician and longtime figure in the anti-vaccine movement. The board got around 350 complaints into her behavior, but that’s not why she’s being suspended.
As this could easily be unreliable, I looked for confirmations … and found several, for instance, this one:
An Ohio physician who sparked widespread ridicule in 2021 after spreading bizarre COVID-19 vaccine conspiracies to the House Health Committee by claiming the jabs magnetize their hosts and “interface” with cell towers had her medical license indefinitely suspended Wednesday. Anti-vaccine spreader Sherri Tenpenny sparked a firestorm in June, 2021 after making the comments, which saw 350 complaints sent to the State Medical Board. According to Cleveland.com, the board’s decision was not based on the comments, rather on procedural grounds, citing Tenpenny’s refusal to cooperate with investigators during the inquiry. “Dr. Tenpenny, neither you nor any doctor licensed by this board is above the law, and you must comply with the investigation,” said Dr. Jonathan Feibel, an orthopedic surgeon and medical board member, according to the outlet. “You have not done so, and therefore, until you do, your license will be suspended.” A lawyer for Tenpenny, Tom Renz, described the investigation as a form of “harassment” on her “free speech rights.” Tenpenny did not speak after the announcement, however Renz declared, “This appears very much like a lynch mob.”
Who is Sherry Tenpenny? Here is what Wiki tells us about her:
Sherri J. Tenpenny is an American anti-vaccination activist and conspiracy theorist who promulgates the disproven hypothesis that vaccines cause autism. An osteopathic physician, she is the author of four books opposing vaccination. A 2015 lecture tour of Australia was canceled due to a public outcry over her views on vaccination, which oppose established scientific consensus. A 2021 Center for Countering Digital Hate analysis concluded that Tenpenny is among the top twelve people spreading COVID-19 misinformation and pseudoscientific anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms. She has falsely asserted that the vaccines magnetize people and connect them with cellphone towers…
The story is puzzling, in my view. The biggest question for me is this:
Why only now?
She should have been suspended years ago!
There is evidence that, in the US, Republican-leaning counties have had higher COVID-19 death rates than Democratic-leaning counties and similar evidence of an association between political party affiliation and attitudes regarding COVID-19 vaccination. This investigation assessed political party affiliation and mortality rates for individuals during the initial 22 months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A cross-sectional comparison of excess mortality between registered Republican and Democratic voters between March 2020 and December 2021 adjusted for age and state of voter registration was conducted. Voter and mortality data from Florida and Ohio in 2017 linked to mortality records for January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2021, were used in data analysis. The main outcome measure was the excess weekly death rates during the COVID-19 pandemic adjusted for age, county, party affiliation, and seasonality.
Between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2021, there were 538 159 individuals in Ohio and Florida who died at the age of 25 years or older in the study sample. The median age at death was 78 years (IQR, 71-89 years). Overall, the excess death rate for Republican voters was 2.8 percentage points, or 15%, higher than the excess death rate for Democratic voters (95% prediction interval [PI], 1.6-3.7 percentage points). After May 1, 2021, when vaccines were available to all adults, the excess death rate gap between Republican and Democratic voters widened from −0.9 percentage points (95% PI, −2.5 to 0.3 percentage points) to 7.7 percentage points (95% PI, 6.0-9.3 percentage points) in the adjusted analysis; the excess death rate among Republican voters was 43% higher than the excess death rate among Democratic voters. The gap in excess death rates between Republican and Democratic voters was larger in counties with lower vaccination rates and was primarily noted in voters residing in Ohio.
The authors concluded that, in this cross-sectional study, an association was observed between political party affiliation and excess deaths in Ohio and Florida after COVID-19 vaccines were available to all adults. These findings suggest that differences in vaccination attitudes and reported uptake between Republican and Democratic voters may have been factors in the severity and trajectory of the pandemic in the US.
In light of what has been discussed repeatedly, these findings are in my view most impressive and seem to speak for themselves. The authors are nevertheless prudent and stress that their study has several limitations which mean that we ought to interpret their results with caution.
- First, there are plausible alternative explanations for the difference in excess death rates by political party affiliation beyond the explanatory role of vaccines discussed herein.
- Second, the mortality data, although detailed and recent, only included approximately 83.5% of deaths in the US and did not include the cause of death. Although overall excess death patterns in our data are similar to those in other reliable sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics data, it is possible that the deaths that our study data did not include may disproportionately occur among individuals registered with a particular political party, potentially biasing our results. In addition, the completeness of the mortality data may vary across states or time, potentially biasing our estimates of excess death rates.
- Third, all excess death models rely on fundamentally untestable assumptions to construct the baseline number of deaths one would expect in the absence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Fourth, because no information on individual vaccination status was available, analyses of the association between vaccination rates and excess deaths relied on county-level vaccination rates.
- Fifth, the study was based on data from 2 states with readily obtainable historical voter registration information (Florida and Ohio); hence, the results may not generalize to other states.
The website of the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) points out that public health is defined by the WHO as follows:
“Activities to strengthen public health capacities and service aim to provide conditions under which people can maintain to be healthy, improve their health and wellbeing, or prevent the deterioration of their health. Public health focuses on the entire spectrum of health and wellbeing, not only the eradication of particular diseases.”
The WFC then continues stating this:
As primary contact health professionals, chiropractors can play an important role as public health advocates. This can range from providing support and advice on health matters such as physical activity, diet, and fitness as well as lifestyle choices such as injury prevention and avoiding tobacco use. Chiropractors can also play a role in counselling patients and communities on the benefits of public health measures, especially as this relates to immediate health needs of each region.
I think that this might merit a few comments.
- Physical activity is undoubtedly an important issue for public health; however, there are clearly healthcare professionals who are in a better-informed position to advise on it than chiropractors.
- Diet is undoubtedly an important issue for public health; however, there are clearly healthcare professionals who are in a better-informed position to advise on it than chiropractors.
- Fitness is undoubtedly an important issue for public health; however, there are clearly healthcare professionals who are in a better-informed position to advise on it than chiropractors.
- Lifestyle choice is undoubtedly an important issue for public health; however, there are clearly healthcare professionals who are in a better-informed position to advise on it than chiropractors.
- Injury prevention is undoubtedly an important issue for public health; however, there are clearly healthcare professionals who are in a better-informed position to advise on it than chiropractors.
- Avoiding tobacco use is undoubtedly an important issue for public health; however, there are clearly healthcare professionals who are in a better-informed position to advise on it than chiropractors.
- Counseling is undoubtedly an important issue for public health; however, there are clearly healthcare professionals who are in a better-informed position to advise on it than chiropractors.
So, what is the real contribution of chiropractors to public health?
- Chiropractors tend to advise their clients against vaccinations.
- Some mislead the public by claiming they boost immunity and prevent serious infections.
- Many undermine evidence-based medicine by promoting obsolete myths such as ‘the innate’ or subluxations.
- Many sell supplements that could interact with prescription drugs.
- Many make bogus health claims for profit.
I would therefore argue that, on balance, the contribution of chiropractors to public health might be considerable …
sadly, however, it goes in the wrong direction.
As the organizer of several demos in the area of Linz, Austria, a ‘corona activist’ and ‘Holocaust denier’ had repeatedly made headlines over the past two years. Now the 39-year-old Austrian man is in the headlines yet again.
It has been reported that, on the evening of July 23, he was stopped by the police for a routine traffic control. His three children, aged 15, 11, and 5, were also in the car. “I know I’m wanted. I don’t have a driver’s license and I have a dead body in the trunk,” he said as he got out of the car. As the officers soon realized, he was only partly joking. A legal case for Holocaust denial was pending against the man who had not appeared at his main hearing last August, so a search was underway for him.
When police officers checked the car, they made the horrifying discovery. In the trunk was a woman’s body, wrapped in sheets. The dead woman turned out to be the wife, aged 38, of the driver. According to preliminary findings, she had died 4 hours earlier. Apparently, she had suffered from incurable cancer, and the police suspect that the illness had not been treated – her husband did not just not believe in vaccinations but disliked all drugs.
The husband, who already had several previous convictions, claimed that he was on his way to bury his wife somewhere “in nature”. The 39-year-old man was arrested and is now in pre-trial detention – though not for the incident with his wife’s body, but for Holocaust denial. He is said to have compared the Corona measures to the Holocaust, and the arrest order was issued because he failed to appear for his trial.
One does not need to be a clairvoyant to predict that this remarkable man will come up with more surprises. I wonder what he might think of next.
It been reported that the German HEILPRAKTIKER, Holger G. has been sentenced to serve a total of 4 years and three months behind bars. He made himself a pair of glasses out of aluminum foil and appeared at the start of his trial wearing a Corona protective mask. The accusations against him were fierce: He was accused of having issued false Corona vaccination certificates en masse in Munich and of having given medication to patients. A woman, who had contracted Corona and had been treated by Holger G. with vitamin solutions, had died last year.
According to the verdict, Holger G. had violated the German Medicines Act. The court announced he was also convicted of 96 counts of dangerous bodily harm and 102 counts of unauthorized trading in prescription drugs. In addition, the court ordered the HEILPRAKTIKER to be placed in a rehab facility.
The 71-year-old MAN had issued Corona vaccination cards since April 2021, without actually vaccinating the people concerned. For the forged vaccination cards, he charged several tens of thousands of Euros. In addition, the former HEILPRAKTIKER illegally sold prescription drugs. The judgment is so severe because Holger G. has form. He also ordered to bear the costs of the proceedings.
– Today, no one can provide reliable data on the number of HEILPRAKTIKER in Germany.
– The training of HEILPRAKTIKER is woefully inadequate.
– The far-reaching rights of the HEILPRAKTIKER are out of proportion to their overt lack of competence.
– This disproportion poses a serious danger to patients.
– This danger is further increased by the fact that there is no effective control of the activity of the HEILPRAKTIKER does not take place.
– Existing laws are almost never applied to the HEILPRAKTIKER.
– Most HEILPRAKTIKER mislead the public unhindered with untenable therapeutic claims.
– The federal government seems to put off over and over again any serious discussion of the HEILPRAKTIKER.
Cases like the one above show that it is high time for reform – or, should that prove impossible, the discontinuation of this utterly obsolete and highly dangerous profession.
It has been reported that a GP has been erased from the medical register after a disciplinary tribunal concluded yesterday that her statements on vaccines amounted to misconduct.
Dr Jayne Donegan, who no longer works as an NHS GP, was found by the tribunal to have ‘encouraged parents to mislead healthcare professionals about their children’s diet or immunization history’. The UK General Medical Council (GMC) brought several allegations against Dr Donegan, about statements made between 2019 and 2020, however, the determination of impaired fitness to practise (FTP) and subsequent erasure was based solely on her suggestions to parents.
The tribunal determined that her misconduct ‘posed an ongoing risk to patient safety given her lack of insight and lack of remediation’ and that ‘public confidence would be undermined’ if such a doctor was allowed to remain in practice. An immediate order of suspension was imposed, which the tribunal determined necessary for the ‘protection of the public’. Other GMC allegations, such as Dr. Donegan’s statements failing to ‘give balanced information on the risks and benefits of immunization’, were proved true by the tribunal but were not determined to be serious misconduct.
Dr. Donegan works as a homeopathic and naturopathic practitioner and has been ‘researching disease ecology and vaccination since 1994’, according to her website. The tribunal considered statements made by Dr. Donegan in a consultation with an undercover reporter and during her lectures on vaccination. She had said that the historical decline in deaths from whooping cough was because of sanitation and surgeons, not vaccinations. She had also suggested to audiences at her lectures that they could avoid answering questions from healthcare professionals about their child’s immunization history. When asked by an audience member about this, Dr. Donegan had said: ‘I thought what am I going to do because if I were you, I could just forge something but I can’t do that because I am a doctor and I would get struck off and I really would get struck off. What can I do? I thought maybe I can do something homeopathic because they are not having it. In the meantime, I wrote “Yes, I’ll get it done” thinking what will I do and they never came back to me, so when the next one went I just said “yes. The main thing is, don’t stick your head above the parapet because you make it difficult for them. If you say they are not vaccinated, they say they can’t go on the trip or they say “They could but the insurers won’t insure us”, so just keep saying “yes” but don’t say I said that.’
The tribunal concluded that comments like this made it clear Dr. Donegan was aware this was a ‘serious matter that could result in her being struck off’, despite her defense that she was simply ‘making people laugh’. The MPTS tribunal chair Mr Julian Weinberg said: ‘The Tribunal considered that honest and accurate communication of an individual’s medical history forms an essential part of ongoing patient healthcare and that any attempt to undermine this risks the safety of patients. It noted that whilst no dishonesty was found against Dr. Donegan, the Tribunal has found that she encouraged parents to be dishonest with healthcare professionals by, for example, forging medical documents/records, thereby undermined this essential quality of the doctor/patient relationship.’ Mr Weinberg highlighted that the tribunal’s findings did not concern ‘the rights or wrongs of her views on immunization’ but rather her encouragement to parents to mislead healthcare professionals.
Dr. Donegan said in response to the decision: ‘I boycotted the GMC’s political show trial against me which ended today. Serious irregularities include bogus dishonesty charges and bogus accusations that I put newborns at risk of serious harm.’ She added: ‘Being struck off by a corrupt GMC is a small price to pay for taking a lawful ethical stand for the safety of British children.’
Apparently, Dr. Donegan even claimed that she is delighted to be struck off the register of medical practitioners – and so, I presume, are many of us reading this post!
An article in the German publication T-online is, I think, relevant to us here on this blog. I translated part of it for you:
The suspicion of particularly serious fraud against a doctor from the German Meißen district has been substantiated. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the 66-year-old physician is said to have issued “certificates of convenience” in the thousands throughout Germany, a spokesman for the public prosecutor’s office said. In return for a payment of 25 euros, the doctor from Moritzburg is said to have issued blanket and unjustified certificates stating that the wearing of mouth and nose protection was not medically justifiable. In other cases, the physician stated an unlimited inoculation prohibition or that Corona quick tests were possible only over saliva.
After an initial search in February, the public prosecutor’s office had assumed to be dealing with merely 162 false vaccination and mask certificates. But the extent of the fraud seems to go far beyond that: The accused is now said to have taken in at least 60,000 euros with the fake certificates.
Based on further investigations, the public prosecutor’s office assumes that the medical practitioner has managed to issue false corona attestations “every minute” with so-called collective appointments. These appointments were arranged in cooperation with Heilpraktiker from all parts of Germany and partly even with funeral homes.
On Tuesday, more than 360 police officers searched 140 homes of exemption certificate holders in nine states – mainly in Bavaria. In the process, 174 incorrect Corona attestations were found. They now must face instigations into using illegal health certificates. In addition, the office of a Bavarian Heilpraktiker, as well as a further commercial area, were searched.
This is not the first time that the Moritzburg doctor has come into conflict with the law. The 66-year-old physician considers herself a ‘Reichsbuerger’ (citizen of the Reich, a right-wing extremist). She was a member of the Moritzburg shooting club, and owned eleven weapons. Because they were not all registered and several hundred rounds of ammunition were found in the house, she stood trial for the first time already in 2014.
Numerous qualitative studies and a few quantitative studies have linked vaccine hesitancy or refusal with the belief in the efficacy of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM). Yet, large-scale data on this topic are scarce. In this study, the French researchers investigated the factors associated with the coverage rates of seven childhood vaccines or vaccine groups in the ninety-six metropolitan French departments. One of the factors investigated was the local interest in SCAM. In order to assess this interest, they built an Alternative Medicine Index based on departmental internet searches regarding SCAM—internet searches being a reliable indicator of the public’s actual interest in a given topic. They then conducted multiple regression analyses, which showed that this Index is a significant explanatory factor for the departmental variance in vaccination coverage rates, exceeding in importance the effect of other relevant local sociodemographic factors.
A further recent study from France adds to the picture. It presents the results of a survey conducted in July 2021 among a representative sample of the French mainland adult population (n = 3087). Using cluster analysis, the researchers identified five profiles of SCAM attitudes and found that even among the most pro-SCAM group, very few respondents disagreed with the idea that SCAM should only be used as a complement to conventional medicine. They then compared these SCAM attitudes to vaccine attitudes. Attitudes to SCAM had a distinct impact as well as a combined effect on attitudes to different vaccines and vaccines in general. They found that:
- attitudes to SCAM provide a very limited explanation of vaccine hesitancy;
- among the hesitant, pro-SCAM attitudes are often combined with other traits associated with vaccine hesitancy such as distrust of health agencies, radical political preferences, and low income.
Both SCAM endorsement and vaccine hesitancy are more prevalent among the socially disadvantaged. Drawing on these results, the researchers argue that, to better understand the relationship between SCAM and vaccine hesitancy, it is necessary to look at how both can reflect a lack of access and recourse to mainstream medicine and distrust of public institutions.
- Preference of so-called alternative medicine predicts negative attitudes to vaccination
- What are the reasons for opposing COVID vaccinations?
- Intelligence, Religiosity, SCAM, Vaccination Hesitancy – are there links?
- More information on homeopaths’ and anthroposophic doctors’ attitude towards vaccinations
- The anti-vaccination movement is financed by the dietary supplement industry
- Sorry, I was wrong about homeopathy and vaccination
- The UK Society of Homeopaths, a hub of anti-vaccination activists?
- HOMEOPATHY = “the complete alternative to vaccination” ?!?!
- Are anthroposophy-enthusiasts for or against vaccinations?
- Far too many chiropractors believe that vaccinations do not have a positive effect on public health
- Naturopaths’ counselling against vaccinations could be criminally negligent
- HOMEOPATHS AGAINST VACCINATION: “The decision to vaccinate and how you implement that decision is yours and yours alone”
- Use of alternative medicine is associated with low vaccination rates
- Integrative medicine physicians tend to harbour anti-vaccination views
- Vaccination: chiropractors “espouse views which aren’t evidence based”
What seems fairly clear to me is that a cross-correlation exists: an attitude against modern medicine and the ‘scientific establishment’ determines both the enthusiasm for SCAM and the aversion to vaccination. What is, however, far from clear to me is what we could do about it.
Yes, better education seems important – and that’s precisely what I aim at achieving with this blog. Sadly, judging from some of the comments we receive, it does not seem crowned with much success.
Any other ideas?
On this blog, we have some people who continue to promote conspiracy theories about Covid and Covid vaccinations. It is, therefore, time, I feel, to present them with some solid evidence on the subject (even though it means departing from our usual focus on SCAM).
This Cochrane review assessed the efficacy and safety of COVID‐19 vaccines (as a full primary vaccination series or a booster dose) against SARS‐CoV‐2. An impressive team of investigators searched the Cochrane COVID‐19 Study Register and the COVID‐19 L·OVE platform (last search date 5 November 2021). They also searched the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, regulatory agency websites, and Retraction Watch. They included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing COVID‐19 vaccines to placebo, no vaccine, other active vaccines, or other vaccine schedules.
A total of 41 RCTs could be included and analyzed assessing 12 different vaccines, including homologous and heterologous vaccine schedules and the effect of booster doses. Thirty‐two RCTs were multicentre and five were multinational. The sample sizes of RCTs were 60 to 44,325 participants. Participants were aged: 18 years or older in 36 RCTs; 12 years or older in one RCT; 12 to 17 years in two RCTs; and three to 17 years in two RCTs. Twenty‐nine RCTs provided results for individuals aged over 60 years, and three RCTs included immunocompromised patients. No trials included pregnant women. Sixteen RCTs had two‐month follow-ups or less, 20 RCTs had two to six months, and five RCTs had greater than six to 12 months or less. Eighteen reports were based on preplanned interim analyses. The overall risk of bias was low for all outcomes in eight RCTs, while 33 had concerns for at least one outcome. 343 registered RCTs with results not yet available were identified.The evidence for mortality was generally sparse and of low or very low certainty for all WHO‐approved vaccines, except AD26.COV2.S (Janssen), which probably reduces the risk of all‐cause mortality (risk ratio (RR) 0.25, 95% CI 0.09 to 0.67; 1 RCT, 43,783 participants; high‐certainty evidence).High‐certainty evidence was found that BNT162b2 (BioNtech/Fosun Pharma/Pfizer), mRNA‐1273 (ModernaTx), ChAdOx1 (Oxford/AstraZeneca), Ad26.COV2.S, BBIBP‐CorV (Sinopharm‐Beijing), and BBV152 (Bharat Biotect) reduce the incidence of symptomatic COVID‐19 compared to placebo (vaccine efficacy (VE): BNT162b2: 97.84%, 95% CI 44.25% to 99.92%; 2 RCTs, 44,077 participants; mRNA‐1273: 93.20%, 95% CI 91.06% to 94.83%; 2 RCTs, 31,632 participants; ChAdOx1: 70.23%, 95% CI 62.10% to 76.62%; 2 RCTs, 43,390 participants; Ad26.COV2.S: 66.90%, 95% CI 59.10% to 73.40%; 1 RCT, 39,058 participants; BBIBP‐CorV: 78.10%, 95% CI 64.80% to 86.30%; 1 RCT, 25,463 participants; BBV152: 77.80%, 95% CI 65.20% to 86.40%; 1 RCT, 16,973 participants).Moderate‐certainty evidence was found that NVX‐CoV2373 (Novavax) probably reduces the incidence of symptomatic COVID‐19 compared to placebo (VE 82.91%, 95% CI 50.49% to 94.10%; 3 RCTs, 42,175 participants).There is low‐certainty evidence for CoronaVac (Sinovac) for this outcome (VE 69.81%, 95% CI 12.27% to 89.61%; 2 RCTs, 19,852 participants).High‐certainty evidence was found that BNT162b2, mRNA‐1273, Ad26.COV2.S, and BBV152 result in a large reduction in the incidence of severe or critical disease due to COVID‐19 compared to placebo (VE: BNT162b2: 95.70%, 95% CI 73.90% to 99.90%; 1 RCT, 46,077 participants; mRNA‐1273: 98.20%, 95% CI 92.80% to 99.60%; 1 RCT, 28,451 participants; AD26.COV2.S: 76.30%, 95% CI 57.90% to 87.50%; 1 RCT, 39,058 participants; BBV152: 93.40%, 95% CI 57.10% to 99.80%; 1 RCT, 16,976 participants).
Moderate‐certainty evidence was found that NVX‐CoV2373 probably reduces the incidence of severe or critical COVID‐19 (VE 100.00%, 95% CI 86.99% to 100.00%; 1 RCT, 25,452 participants).
Two trials reported high efficacy of CoronaVac for severe or critical disease with wide CIs, but these results could not be pooled.
mRNA‐1273, ChAdOx1 (Oxford‐AstraZeneca)/SII‐ChAdOx1 (Serum Institute of India), Ad26.COV2.S, and BBV152 probably result in little or no difference in serious adverse events (SAEs) compared to placebo (RR: mRNA‐1273: 0.92, 95% CI 0.78 to 1.08; 2 RCTs, 34,072 participants; ChAdOx1/SII‐ChAdOx1: 0.88, 95% CI 0.72 to 1.07; 7 RCTs, 58,182 participants; Ad26.COV2.S: 0.92, 95% CI 0.69 to 1.22; 1 RCT, 43,783 participants); BBV152: 0.65, 95% CI 0.43 to 0.97; 1 RCT, 25,928 participants). In each of these, the likely absolute difference in effects was fewer than 5/1000 participants.
Evidence for SAEs is uncertain for BNT162b2, CoronaVac, BBIBP‐CorV, and NVX‐CoV2373 compared to placebo (RR: BNT162b2: 1.30, 95% CI 0.55 to 3.07; 2 RCTs, 46,107 participants; CoronaVac: 0.97, 95% CI 0.62 to 1.51; 4 RCTs, 23,139 participants; BBIBP‐CorV: 0.76, 95% CI 0.54 to 1.06; 1 RCT, 26,924 participants; NVX‐CoV2373: 0.92, 95% CI 0.74 to 1.14; 4 RCTs, 38,802 participants).
The authors’ conclusions were as follows: Compared to placebo, most vaccines reduce, or likely reduce, the proportion of participants with confirmed symptomatic COVID‐19, and for some, there is high‐certainty evidence that they reduce severe or critical disease. There is probably little or no difference between most vaccines and placebo for serious adverse events. Over 300 registered RCTs are evaluating the efficacy of COVID‐19 vaccines, and this review is updated regularly on the COVID‐NMA platform (covid-nma.com).
As some conspiratorial loons will undoubtedly claim that this review is deeply biased; it might be relevant to add the conflicts of interest of its authors:
- Carolina Graña: none known.
- Lina Ghosn: none known.
- Theodoros Evrenoglou: none known.
- Alexander Jarde: none known.
- Silvia Minozzi: no relevant interests; Joint Co‐ordinating Editor and Method editor of the Drugs and Alcohol Group.
- Hanna Bergman: Cochrane Response – consultant; WHO – grant/contract (Cochrane Response was commissioned by the WHO to perform review tasks that contribute to this publication).
- Brian Buckley: none known.
- Katrin Probyn: Cochrane Response – consultant; WHO – consultant (Cochrane Response was commissioned to perform review tasks that contribute to this publication).
- Gemma Villanueva: Cochrane Response – employment (Cochrane Response has been commissioned by WHO to perform parts of this systematic review).
- Nicholas Henschke: Cochrane Response – consultant; WHO – consultant (Cochrane Response was commissioned by the WHO to perform review tasks that contributed to this publication).
- Hillary Bonnet: none known.
- Rouba Assi: none known.
- Sonia Menon: P95 – consultant.
- Melanie Marti: no relevant interests; Medical Officer at WHO.
- Declan Devane: Health Research Board (HRB) – grant/contract; registered nurse and registered midwife but no longer in clinical practice; Editor, Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group.
- Patrick Mallon: AstraZeneca – Advisory Board; spoken of vaccine effectiveness to media (print, online, and live); works as a consultant in a hospital that provides vaccinations; employed by St Vincent’s University Hospital.
- Jean‐Daniel Lelievre: no relevant interests; published numerous interviews in the national press on the subject of COVID vaccination; Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Immunology CHU Henri Mondor APHP, Créteil; WHO (IVRI‐AC): expert Vaccelarate (European project on COVID19 Vaccine): head of WP; involved with COVICOMPARE P et M Studies (APHP, INSERM) (public fundings).
- Lisa Askie: no relevant interests; Co‐convenor, Cochrane Prospective Meta‐analysis Methods Group.
- Tamara Kredo: no relevant interests; Medical Officer in an Infectious Diseases Clinic at Tygerberg Hospital, Stellenbosch University.
- Gabriel Ferrand: none known.
- Mauricia Davidson: none known.
- Carolina Riveros: no relevant interests; works as an epidemiologist.
- David Tovey: no relevant interests; Emeritus Editor in Chief, Feedback Editors for 2 Cochrane review groups.
- Joerg J Meerpohl: no relevant interests; member of the German Standing Vaccination Committee (STIKO).
- Giacomo Grasselli: Pfizer – speaking engagement.
- Gabriel Rada: none known.
- Asbjørn Hróbjartsson: no relevant interests; Cochrane Methodology Review Group Editor.
- Philippe Ravaud: no relevant interests; involved with Mariette CORIMUNO‐19 Collaborative 2021, the Ministry of Health, Programme Hospitalier de Recherche Clinique, Foundation for Medical Research, and AP‐HP Foundation.
- Anna Chaimani: none known.
- Isabelle Boutron: no relevant interests; member of Cochrane Editorial Board.
And as some might say this analysis is not new, here are two further papers just out:
Objectives To determine the association between covid-19 vaccination types and doses with adverse outcomes of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection during the periods of delta (B.1.617.2) and omicron (B.1.1.529) variant predominance.
Design Retrospective cohort.
Setting US Veterans Affairs healthcare system.
Participants Adults (≥18 years) who are affiliated to Veterans Affairs with a first documented SARS-CoV-2 infection during the periods of delta (1 July-30 November 2021) or omicron (1 January-30 June 2022) variant predominance. The combined cohorts had a mean age of 59.4 (standard deviation 16.3) and 87% were male.
Interventions Covid-19 vaccination with mRNA vaccines (BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) and mRNA-1273 (Moderna)) and adenovirus vector vaccine (Ad26.COV2.S (Janssen/Johnson & Johnson)).
Main outcome measures Stay in hospital, intensive care unit admission, use of ventilation, and mortality measured 30 days after a positive test result for SARS-CoV-2.
Results In the delta period, 95 336 patients had infections with 47.6% having at least one vaccine dose, compared with 184 653 patients in the omicron period, with 72.6% vaccinated. After adjustment for patient demographic and clinical characteristics, in the delta period, two doses of the mRNA vaccines were associated with lower odds of hospital admission (adjusted odds ratio 0.41 (95% confidence interval 0.39 to 0.43)), intensive care unit admission (0.33 (0.31 to 0.36)), ventilation (0.27 (0.24 to 0.30)), and death (0.21 (0.19 to 0.23)), compared with no vaccination. In the omicron period, receipt of two mRNA doses were associated with lower odds of hospital admission (0.60 (0.57 to 0.63)), intensive care unit admission (0.57 (0.53 to 0.62)), ventilation (0.59 (0.51 to 0.67)), and death (0.43 (0.39 to 0.48)). Additionally, a third mRNA dose was associated with lower odds of all outcomes compared with two doses: hospital admission (0.65 (0.63 to 0.69)), intensive care unit admission (0.65 (0.59 to 0.70)), ventilation (0.70 (0.61 to 0.80)), and death (0.51 (0.46 to 0.57)). The Ad26.COV2.S vaccination was associated with better outcomes relative to no vaccination, but higher odds of hospital stay and intensive care unit admission than with two mRNA doses. BNT162b2 was generally associated with worse outcomes than mRNA-1273 (adjusted odds ratios between 0.97 and 1.42).
Conclusions In veterans with recent healthcare use and high occurrence of multimorbidity, vaccination was robustly associated with lower odds of 30 day morbidity and mortality compared with no vaccination among patients infected with covid-19. The vaccination type and number of doses had a significant association with outcomes.
SECOND EXAMPLE Long COVID, or complications arising from COVID-19 weeks after infection, has become a central concern for public health experts. The United States National Institutes of Health founded the RECOVER initiative to better understand long COVID. We used electronic health records available through the National COVID Cohort Collaborative to characterize the association between SARS-CoV-2 vaccination and long COVID diagnosis. Among patients with a COVID-19 infection between August 1, 2021 and January 31, 2022, we defined two cohorts using distinct definitions of long COVID—a clinical diagnosis (n = 47,404) or a previously described computational phenotype (n = 198,514)—to compare unvaccinated individuals to those with a complete vaccine series prior to infection. Evidence of long COVID was monitored through June or July of 2022, depending on patients’ data availability. We found that vaccination was consistently associated with lower odds and rates of long COVID clinical diagnosis and high-confidence computationally derived diagnosis after adjusting for sex, demographics, and medical history.
There are, of course, many more articles on the subject for anyone keen to see the evidence. Sadly, I have little hope that the COVID loons will be convinced by any of them. Yet, I thought I should give it nevertheless a try.