Everyone knows that covid is dangerous mostly to old people who are already sick. Thus, there has been a particular emphasis on vaccinating and boosting the elderly. Our public health establishment has now abandoned the claim that vaccination will prevent a person from catching covid, but says that it will greatly reduce the risk of hospitalization or death.
Assessing the relative risks of the vaccinated and unvaccinated requires accurate knowledge of the numbers in each category. We have records of the people who have been vaccinated, so the “unvaccinated” in government figures merely represents the difference between the total population cohort and the number known to have been vaccinated or boosted. So the size of the total population cohort is obviously critical.
Kevin Roche, proprietor of Healthy Skeptic, realized that in Minnesota, the Department of Health was basing its vaxed/unvaxed comparisons on different time periods: it looked, for example, at case etc. rates for people who were vaccinated in 2021, but in order to determine the rates for the unvaccinated, it used population numbers averaged between 2015 and 2019. The over-65 population in Minnesota grew significantly between 2015 and 2021. In a cohort where vaccination rates are high, that turns out to make a huge difference.
This chart tells the story:
Here is what the relative event rates would look like if the 2021 one-year Census population estimates were used for Minnesota instead of the five-year 2019 estimate that DOH uses. As we anticipated, the change for the 65 and over group is dramatic. In the October event data week, for example, (and which should be using 2022 data, which we will extrapolate to in a future post) the move from what is really a 2017 age 65 and over population estimate to a 2021 one takes the number of unvaccinated persons from about 62,000 to over 162,000. It takes the cases per 100,000 people from 396 to 151, the hospitalizations from 71 to 27 and the deaths from 4.9 to 1.8. The case rate is now lower than that for vaxed population and equal to that for the boosted. The hospitalization rate is far lower than that for the vaxed and almost equal to that of the boosted population. And the death rate goes from 4.9 to 1.8, equal to that for the vaxed group and below that of the boosted population.
So the alleged benefit of vaccination in people over 65 turns out to be the artifact of a statistical blunder. Or, perhaps, a statistical trick.
There is much more at the link, including charts that show the impact of vaccination and boosters in younger age groups, using the correct years. They indicate that in those age groups, there is a positive impact from vaccination and boosters, although in some cases the numbers are so low as to be of doubtful significance.
Do national figures, and data from other states, incorporate similar errors? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
It is easy to manipulate statistics, either intentionally or accidentally, by committing errors that are really rather simple but that never will be revealed by the government media. It is left to smart observers like Kevin Roche to do the work that neither our public health establishment nor our journalists have the ability, or perhaps the desire, to do.