Full Fact

Triple-Jabbed Over-30s Have Higher Infection Rates Than the Unvaccinated, UKHSA Data Show

This week’s UKHSA vaccine surveillance report has landed – and this week a change. In the (in)famous Table 12, which shows rates of infections, deaths and hospitalisations per 100,000 by vaccination status, the data have suddenly switched to giving rates for triple-jabbed rather than two-or-more doses, meaning we no longer have continuity with our previous data. So sudden was the change in fact, that the report itself has not kept up with it, and the notes under the table still say the rates are for “people who have received either two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine or in people who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine”.

The change means we have to start over in our week-by-week comparisons, so the infection rates by age for this period are depicted above and the unadjusted vaccine effectiveness figures are depicted below.

Below is how the total reported infections for the period break down by vaccination status (in this chart vaccinated means one or more doses). While the chart doesn’t take into account the different numbers of people vaccinated and unvaccinated, with over 70% of infections in the vaccinated it does show that the outbreak is predominantly in vaccinated people.

Below is what our previous chart would look like if we just added the new data in, but the trend in the past week is obviously nonsense as they’ve changed the parameters. Still, it gives an indication of the difference between the double and triple jabbed, and note that all but the under-30s are still negative (meaning higher infection rates in the vaccinated than unvaccinated), and the under-30s are still low. Also, the over-70s declined since last week anyway, despite the switch to triple-jabbed only. Makes you wonder what the data for two-or-more doses would have shown.

Hide the Vaccine Failure: UKHSA Caves to Pressure and Removes Chart Showing Higher Infection Rates in the Vaccinated – as Effectiveness Hits New Low of Minus-132%

It appears the critics finally got to the U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA). The new Vaccine Surveillance report, released on Thursday, has been purged of the offending chart showing infection rates higher in the double-vaccinated than the unvaccinated for all over-30s and more than double the rates for those aged 40-79.

In its place we now have a table similar to the one below that I have been producing for the Daily Sceptic each week (though without the vaccine effectiveness estimates), and a whole lot more explanation and qualification.

Here are our updated charts of unadjusted vaccine effectiveness over time from real-world data in England.

Fact-Checking the Fact Checkers

One of my recent posts on the Daily Sceptic was the subject of a ‘fact check‘ by Full Fact, which self-importantly describes itself as “the UK’s independent fact checking organisation” but is in fact funded by Google, Facebook and George Soros, among others, to help them suppress unapproved news and views. Even U.K. broadcasting regulator Ofcom has said it relies on the organisation to tell it what to censor regarding COVID-19, so unfortunately the dog has teeth and can’t just be ignored as one more absurd website with excessive faith in its own infallibility.

The post in question, from September 10th, simply reported on Public Health England’s latest Vaccine Surveillance report, which included infection rates by vaccination status for the previous month so allowed the calculation of an unadjusted estimate of vaccine effectiveness. Full Fact, however, took exception to the idea that vaccine effectiveness can be estimated in this way, because it wasn’t adjusted for confounders. Or used the wrong population data. Or because the article included the (entirely accurate) claim that the PHE report showed higher infection rates in the vaccinated in some age groups. Or because the heading didn’t include ‘caveats’. Or something. In any case, it was ‘incorrect’.

Here follows my correspondence with them, attempting to explain that the factual errors lay entirely in their ‘fact check’, not in my piece.

Vaccine Effectiveness Hits as Low as Minus-66% in the Over-40s, New PHE Data Shows

The new Public Health England (PHE) Vaccine Surveillance report was released on Thursday, allowing us to update our estimates of unadjusted vaccine effectiveness from real-world data.

Oddly, the report appeared on a new webpage this week, but the old page didn’t include a note to let you know, so it took me a while to discover it had appeared and where it was.

Following last week’s ‘fact check‘ from Full Fatuous – ostensibly of my piece but with some words of admonition for PHE as well, particularly over the accuracy of the population data – a new note appeared in the report: “Interpretation of the case rates in vaccinated and unvaccinated population is particularly susceptible to changes in denominators and should be interpreted with extra caution.” So there you go. All estimates in this post are based on the data PHE uses and are valid insofar as that data is accurate.

As before, the data is just for a four-week period, which, given that the early part of the Delta surge was dominated by the unvaccinated and the latter part has seen infections rise in the vaccinated, seems to me a mistake. A fairer view would cover the whole Delta surge (as with the estimates I make from the data in the Technical Briefings), but in any case the report gives a snapshot of current relative infection rates.

As Full Fatuous pointed out, PHE don’t recommend using this data to estimate vaccine effectiveness, saying it’s “not the most appropriate method” because it’s unadjusted for risk factors (and, inevitably, they don’t provide the data you’d need to adjust it). However, even if not recommended by PHE, it is certainly a valid method of calculating vaccine effectiveness, which is just a figure which states the relative risk reduction in the vaccinated group, as long as you bear in mind its limitations. All vaccine effectiveness estimates have limitations, and while adjusting for confounding factors is in principle important, it is helpful only if done well, and many studies do not do it well. Unadjusted estimates from raw data are a necessary starting point.

Vaccine Effectiveness Drops Further in the Over-40s, To as Low as Minus 53%, New PHE Report Shows – And That’s a Fact

It’s official: I am spouting misinformation about the Covid vaccines. Full Fact – the Google, Facebook and George Soros-funded outfit that Ofcom has said it relies on to tell it what to censor regarding COVID-19 – has ‘fact checked‘ my recent piece on PHE data showing negative vaccine effectiveness in August and branded it “incorrect”.

Writer Leo Benedictus – henceforth to be known as the Oracle – takes particular issue with the headline, which he says “falsely claims that a report from Public Health England (PHE) shows the COVID-19 vaccines having ‘negative effectiveness’ in the over-40s”.

“This is not true about the COVID-19 vaccines – nor is it true that the PHE report shows this,” the Oracle declares. Except it is. The data contained in the report is completely clear, and the calculation of unadjusted vaccine effectiveness from that data is straightforward.

According to the Oracle, however, this is not a valid way of estimating vaccine effectiveness. Benedictus quotes the PHE report stating as much – “The vaccination status of cases, inpatients and deaths is not the most appropriate method to assess vaccine effectiveness and there is a high risk of misinterpretation” – and notes that I too quote this. What he fails to acknowledge, though, is that I also examine the reason PHE gives for this claim and counter it.

The only substantive reason PHE gives that vaccine effectiveness might be underestimated in its data is that “vaccination has been prioritised in individuals who are more susceptible or more at risk of severe disease”. In other words, the high-risk are over-represented in the vaccinated and this skews the sample. I countered that the large majority of the older age groups are now vaccinated so this bias should be very much reduced. Of course, we also need to ask why, if this is supposedly the key confounder of the data presented, we are not also provided with the necessary data on risk categories so that it can be duly quantified and accounted for.

Benedictus reiterates PHE’s claim that vaccine effectiveness should only be estimated via the published studies. However, as I noted in my article, these studies are riddled with serious problems and inconsistencies that bring their findings into question. They are also out of date since they don’t cover the Delta surge, which is the first time the vaccines have really been stress-tested in the U.K.

Benedictus spends half the ‘fact check’ in a bizarre attempt to argue that my vaccine effectiveness calculation is wrong because I used the data PHE itself used for the size of the unvaccinated population. He points out it is different to the ONS figures on this. Er, take that one up with PHE, Leo.

It does seem at times that Benedictus is fact-checking the PHE report rather than my article. At one point he takes the report to task because one of its charts sowed confusion as it “seemed to show for the month in question (August 9th to September 5th) that people in their 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s were more likely to test positive for Covid if they had been vaccinated than if they hadn’t”.

Except the chart didn’t ‘seem’ to show that; it did show that. Again though we are told that this data does “not give a reliable estimate of vaccine effectiveness” because of biases in the samples.

Why is Ofcom Suppressing Covid Information Based on the Advice of a Biased ‘Fact-Checker’ Funded by Google, Facebook and George Soros?

Broadcasting regulator Ofcom has come under fire this week for labelling scepticism of official statistics and statements as “misinformation” during the Covid crisis. The Telegraph has the story.

The broadcasting regulator has been accused of stifling “rational criticism” of the response to Covid by labelling scepticism about Britain’s approach to the pandemic as “misinformation”. 

Amid major controversy over whether official statistics were overstating the prevalence of coronavirus, Ofcom described the idea that there were “a lower number of cases in reality than is being reported” as a “common piece of misinformation”.

It also emerged that the regulator warned broadcasters in the early days of the pandemic that it was prioritising investigations into programmes or news reports featuring advice which “discourages the audience from following official rules and guidance”.

The disclosure will lead to renewed concerns about the approach of the regulator, as the Government seeks a new chairman who can “provide proper scrutiny and challenge”.

Conservative MP Steve Baker described the approach as “dangerous”, stating: “To label any kind of rational criticism as misinformation is unscientific, and a frank rejection of enlightenment values which would catapult us into a new dark age.”

According to the Telegraph, Ofcom has prepared dozens of papers detailing surveys it has carried out relating to Covid, each of which includes a section titled “Misinformation related to Covid”.