Mary Ramsay

UKHSA Admits it is Monitoring Current Vaccine Effectiveness But Not Publishing It. What Has it Got to Hide?

The UKHSA has admitted for the first time that it is undertaking internal analysis “every week or two” to monitor the current real-world performance of the vaccines but not publishing the results.

In an email seen by the Daily Sceptic, Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UKHSA, admits that her agency is continuing to undertake regular analysis of vaccine effectiveness but, despite publishing a weekly Vaccine Surveillance report, is not publishing the estimates.

The Vaccine Surveillance reports have recently been criticised by the U.K Statistics Authority and others for including data which shows infection rates in the vaccinated running at more than double the rate in the unvaccinated. Critics have argued this gives a misleading impression that the vaccines are ineffective or worse. They say it is really a result of problems with the population estimates and systemic differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.

The UKHSA has responded by altering the presentation of its data to draw attention to these limitations and make clear that, in its view, the data should not be used to estimate vaccine effectiveness.

However, it has not published an update of its own estimates of vaccine effectiveness using data more recent than May 2021. This means it has not updated its estimates with data from the summer and autumn, a period when its raw data shows infections in the vaccinated outpacing those in the unvaccinated.

In a recent post I encouraged readers to contact Dr Ramsay to ask her to publish an update of her agency’s study of vaccine effectiveness. In a reply to one reader, seen by the Daily Secptic, Dr Ramsay made the stunning admission:

Infection Rates More than Twice as High in the Vaccinated, New UKHSA Data Shows, as Agency Dismisses Own Data as ‘Biased’. But Why No New VE Estimate Since May?

The latest UKHSA Vaccine Surveillance report was released Thursday, and its authors are now bending over backwards to keep their critics happy. Following a telling-off this week from the U.K. Statistics Authority, the UKHSA’s Head of Immunisation, Mary Ramsay (pictured above), published a blog post explaining what they’ve done to appease their detractors, while the report now states no fewer than four times, twice in bold typeface, that “these raw data should not be used to estimate vaccine effectiveness”. Ramsay grovels:

To make our data less susceptible to misinterpretation, the U.K. Health Security Agency has worked with the UK Statistics Authority to update some of the data tables and descriptions in the report, specifically around rates of infection in vaccinated and unvaccinated groups. In our commitment to transparent and clear data, we regularly review our publications to ensure they reflect the current situation within the pandemic, and we will continue to work with our partners at the statistics bodies, to ensure our reporting is as scientifically robust as possible.

As I noted last week, the UKHSA does not accept the criticism of its population estimates levelled by, among others, David Spiegelhalter, who declared that using them was “deeply untrustworthy and completely unacceptable”.

The agency instead takes the view that the problem is systemic biases in the data which mean it “should not be used” to estimate vaccine effectiveness. But as I have noted repeatedly, those biases just mean that the estimate will be of unadjusted vaccine effectiveness, which is a perfectly legitimate quantity to estimate and has its uses, particularly when looking at trends or when there is reason to think the biases may be relatively small. (For instance, a recent vaccine effectiveness study in California adjusted its raw data for 22 different factors but in almost all cases the adjustments were tiny.)

The UKHSA report itself correctly gives the definition of vaccine effectiveness: “Vaccine effectiveness is estimated by comparing rates of disease in vaccinated individuals to rates in unvaccinated individuals.” The U.S. CDC, likewise, states the definition as “the proportionate reduction in disease among the vaccinated group”. The CDC distinguishes “vaccine efficacy”, estimated from controlled studies, from “vaccine effectiveness”, which is used “when a study is carried out under typical field (that is, less than perfectly controlled) conditions”. It is therefore not appropriate for the UKHSA, a Government agency, to insist that its data “should not be used” to estimate vaccine effectiveness, which is a false statement and amounts to attempted Government censorship of scientific enquiry.