How well does the vaccine work against omicron? Here is real world data.

We often have to communicate shaded thoughts in a world where it is easier to remember black or white thoughts.

And that creates a problem: most people consider themselves word masters better than crunching numbers. And yet sometimes when communicating changing or proportional ideas, words are simply not the right tool for the task. The numbers are.

Nowhere is this more apparent than much of the public’s misunderstanding of coronavirus – accidental or otherwise. The fact that the omicron variant is “milder” than the previous variants means that “omicron is mild”. The fact that masks prevent a certain amount of transmission, but not most, means that the masks do not work. And when it is said that the vast majority of people survive the virus, many understand that it is okay to live with great impunity.

So when people read articles about vaccine efficacy and see that the vaccine is “less effective” against omicron, many consider it “vaccines are ineffective.” It is simply too easy to unobtrusively shift the meaning of words and phrases, even unintentionally.

Well, I want to try to file it. Using real cases, hospitalizations and deaths, I want to show you the effectiveness – and yes, sometimes its lack – of our current omicron vaccines.

First, here are the data from Utah. These represent weekly averages of cases, hospitalizations and deaths per 100,000 Utah residents since vaccination began. If you’re online, you can scroll your mouse or finger and see the exact numbers for each week.

The trend is clear and continuing: vaccinated people are much, much better off in this pandemic than unvaccinated people. For example, in the last 28 days – which will include a combination of omicrons and delta – unvaccinated people are 2.4 times more likely to be infected, 8.9 times more likely to be hospitalized and a staggering 16.2 times more likely to die than vaccinated people. Even in recent weeks, when omicron is estimated at about 90% of cases, we still see huge gaps.

Now you may notice that it does not take into account boosters. For the above graphs, the term “vaccinated” means at least one dose of Johnson & Johnson or at least two doses of Pfizer or Moderna. Empowered people are involved.

So how does getting a booster dose change the numbers? Well, unfortunately, we don’t have data from Utah on boosted versus vaccinated versus non-vaccinated. I’m not sure why the Utah Department of Health isn’t monitoring this – maybe it’s because only 22% of Utah is strengthened? Regardless, I wish I could.

But we have numbers from other countries, again showing real data on the effectiveness of the boosted vaccine.

The United Kingdom in particular has done a really good job of collecting data during the pandemic. Their data show that yes, omicron makes vaccines significantly less effective in protecting against infection. Take a look at this chart. On the left, the effectiveness of the vaccine has been greatly reduced in people who have had two doses of Pfizer against omicron a long time ago; on the right is how people are doing so far.

Graph from the UK Health Safety Agency on the effectiveness of two doses of Pfizer vaccine (BNT162b2) vs. when boosted (either Pfizer or Moderna). (

According to data from the United Kingdom, the effectiveness against symptomatic disease after two doses of Pfizer more than 6 months ago is almost nil – not great at all.

But there’s good news: it helps a lot if you’ve been strengthened. This number is about 50-60% if you stayed with Pfizer, or about 70% if you combined and compared.

There is also more to the story. The vaccine is also used to make infections significantly worsen when they occur – especially in people with a booster. Data from the United Kingdom show that obtaining two doses of the vaccine offers a 51% reduction in the likelihood of hospitalization, while three doses represent approximately a 68% reduction.

And remember: these numbers are piling up. This table explains the situation: Empowered people are doubly protected – not only are they less likely to get sick, and if they happen to get sick, they are also less likely to go to hospital.

We don’t have great data from anywhere in the world is whether vaccines actually triple us (in other words, triple one of them?) Protect us from omicron. Are those rare unhappy souls who are strengthened, but eventually go to the hospital for omicron, protected from death compared to their unreinforced hospitalized counterparts? Although I would like data on this, I understand that it is difficult to find a sample size for good data … after all, empowered people are rarely hospitalized for this disease!

However, the above figures also point to other common pitfalls – the excessive value we attach to anecdotal evidence. Consider the above-mentioned efficacy figure of 63%, which represents the time for which intensified people are protected against omicron disease. That’s pretty good – more effective than any flu vaccine in the last 15 years!

It still means that in our current environment, most people will know someone who has been strengthened and just as ill. As a result, many people will take the “vaccine for Mary didn’t work,” simplify it, and think “the vaccines don’t work.”

So let this article serve as an ointment against this type of thinking. When you see someone use an unofficial argument to defend vaccines in our omicron times – or worse, say “less effective” means “ineffective” – ​​show them these charts. Show them these numbers.

If the argument is monochrome, paint according to the numbers.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *