isIT WAS ALMOST A year ago, Pfizer and BioNTech announced the first promising results from a clinical trial of a vaccine against covid-19. Since then, studies around the world have confirmed that jabs are safe and offer good protection against severe forms of the virus. Now, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in America has produced a new, and even mysterious, reason to celebrate a covid-19 vaccination. The CDC data shows that people vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna covid-19 vaccines are also a third more likely to die from other causes.
The result is puzzling, all the more for its scale. The CDCThe study began with the health records of over 11 million Americans. Researchers followed these people from December 2020 to July 2021, recording all deaths and their causes. During that time, about 6 million people in the cohort received jabs for covid-19. The researchers were then able to separate those who died after being vaccinated from those who died unvaccinated.
The report showed that after removing all deaths associated with covid-19 and controlling for demographic factors such as age and gender, people who had been bitten were much more likely to survive. Those who had received Pfizer or Moderna vaccines had an average non-covid death rate of about 0.35 per 100 person-years, which means that between three and four people are expected to die in 1,000 watched for one. year. For the unvaccinated, the death rate was more than three times higher, at 1.11 per 100 person-years. The pattern has persisted across all races and ethnicities, and most age groups, although overall death rates have changed.
This is not the first time that scientists have discovered that vaccines designed to prevent disease appear to protect against other causes of death. Even though seasonal influenza is only responsible for about 5% of winter mortality, several large cohort studies have shown that the death rate from any cause is about 50% lower in people vaccinated against influenza.
One reason for this trend is that people who get vaccinated may tend to be healthier than those who withdraw. On average, people who choose to get bitten invest more time and energy in taking care of themselves and engage in less risky behavior. However, the CDC study attempted to control this. Each member of the unvaccinated cohort had received an influenza vaccine within the past two years. It was a group that was willing and able to take action to take care of their health.
Of course, there are other reasons why the health of the two groups can be systematically different. Some people are advised not to receive vaccines due to pre-existing medical conditions, so the unvaccinated cohort will likely contain more people with complex medical histories. During a pandemic, the unvaccinated may also have an additional reason to delay seeking all kinds of medical care for fear of catching the virus in doctor’s offices or hospitals. This could lead to deadly diseases such as cancer or heart disease being detected too late.
Large observational studies can provide unprecedented information about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines in various populations. However, real world data is never fully in control. It seems almost certain that an as yet unseen difference between people who receive the vaccine and those who don’t, rather than an unknown benefit of the vaccine, is to be thanked (or blamed) for the correlative effects of the vaccine. Injections are not vaccines against mortality. ■