(The Daily Sceptic) — Two doses of COVID-19 vaccine make you 44 percent more likely to be infected, a study from Oxford University has found, contradicting the basis of global vaccine policy, which assumes vaccination significantly cuts incidence and transmission.
The study, published in the Lancet, looked at all infections reported in England among adults registered at a medical practice from December 8, 2020, to November 17, 2021, meaning it spanned the alpha and delta periods. It used a case-control design to estimate vaccine effectiveness, allowing potential confounding factors such as age, sex, and underlying conditions to be controlled for, while individuals with prior infection were excluded.
The results for effectiveness against positive COVID test (i.e., reported infection), which were found buried away in the supplementary appendix, are shown below.
The third figure shows that two weeks or more after the second jab – which during 2021 was regarded as “fully vaccinated” – individuals were 44 percent more likely to be infected than their unvaccinated counterparts. This is negative vaccine effectiveness (where infections are higher in the vaccinated than the unvaccinated) of minus-44 percent. This negative effectiveness is in line with what was seen in the raw data from England at the time and also in studies from other countries, but contradicts the government’s official estimates, which claimed effectiveness to be 60–85 percent against delta infection.
The new study indicates that the negative effectiveness was not just a result of confounding factors or a ‘catch-up’ effect, where the vaccinated have lower infection rates initially then higher infection rates as the effect of the vaccine wears off, as some have claimed.
Acknowledging the figures, the authors write: “Surprisingly, we observed a higher risk of test positivity after vaccination with one or two doses across all BMI groups, which is contrary to evidence reported by the U.K. ONS [Office for National Statistics].” What they don’t mention is that it is fully in line with data from the U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA), nor that the ONS is known to overestimate infection rates in the unvaccinated because it underestimates the population – the ONS puts the unvaccinated adult population at 8 percent whereas the NIMS database puts it at 19 percent (and surveys higher still at 26 percent).
The authors state that the “hospital admission and death outcomes were considered more robust outcomes than infection” owing to “variability in testing” and a potentially “high proportion of asymptomatic infections.” The implication is that unvaccinated people were less likely to get tested when infected, suppressing the positive test rate in the unvaccinated. No evidence is provided for this claim, however, nor any attempt made to quantify the possible size of the difference.
The study was published in June but went largely unnoticed until Alex Berenson wrote about it last month. Alex also draws attention to the fact that vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization and death is much weaker than was claimed at the time.
Oddly, the vaccine effectiveness against death in the week following the third jab (the second highlighted figure) jumps up to 97 percent from 61 percent following the second jab, despite this being before the effect of the booster should kick in. This oddity is not explained.
The figures show that having two vaccine doses reduces hospitalization risk by 66 percent once 14 days post-injection (though once again there is an unexplained leap in efficacy from 19 percent 28 days after dose one, to 67 percent in the week after dose two). The 66 percent is markedly lower than the 90–99 percent claimed at the time, as shown below in the table from a UKHSA government report in September 2021.
Reprinted with permission from The Daily Sceptic.