The FDA report of the efficacy of the Moderna mRNA COVID-19 is deceptive. The FDA reports that Moderna’s interim report indicated that their mRNA Vaccine is 94.5 % effective in protecting people from being infected with COVID-19. That is a misleading statistic. The study compared a group of 13,934 persons who received the Moderna vaccine with a group of 13,883 people who received a placebo. The study found that there was a total of 5 persons in the group who received the Moderna vaccine who were subsequently diagnosed with a COVID-19 illness. Whereas, there were 90 persons in the placebo group who subsequently were diagnosed with a COVID-19 illness.
The subsequent COVID-19 infection rate for the vaccinated group was .0359%. The COVID-19 infection rate for the placebo group was .6483%. That means that the rate of those who were infected by COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine was reduced by .6124% as compared to those who were infected by COVID-19 after receiving a placebo (.6483% – .0359% = .6124%). Thus, the vaccine has an efficacy of .6124%. One can expect that there will be a reduction of .6124% in COVID-19 infections in the population after being vaccinated. Out of a group of 10,000 people who are vaccinated with the Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, there will be approximately sixty-one (61) fewer illnesses from COVID-19.
But that is not how Moderna reported the results. Instead of a .6124% efficacy rate, which is the total efficacy rate, Moderna reported a 94.5% efficacy rate, which is a relative efficacy rate. The relative efficacy rate is misleading because it gives the false impression that out of 10,000 people, 9,450 people would be protected from getting COVID-19. How did Moderna come up with that figure? They divided the rate of subsequent COVID-19 infection in the vaccinated group (.0359%) by the rate of subsequent COVID-19 infection in the placebo group (.6483%) and then subtracted that difference (.0554) from one (1) to arrive at (.9446). After rounding the FDA reported the interim effectiveness for the Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccine of 94.5%. But that is not the total efficacy, which is what people want to know. That 94.5% figure is a relative risk reduction, which is different from a total risk reduction.
Drug companies should report the reduction in infection in the total population (total risk reduction) and not a reduction in infection in the subset of expected infections (i.e., relative risk reduction). The reason is obvious. Suppose hypothetically that there is a disease that impacts only 20,000 persons in the United States (.0061% of the population). Suppose further that a vaccine will prevent 19,000 out of those 20,000 persons from getting infected (.0058% of the population). The drug companies can advertise that their vaccine is 95% effective. But in reality, the vaccine in the hypothetical scenario is only .0058% effective.
19,000 people seems like a lot of people, but it is not actually a lot of people when you consider that they are mixed within a population of 328 million people. 19,000 people are only .0058 % of the total population. Would it make sense to vaccinate the entire population of 328 million people to make sure that 19,000 people do not get a disease? That is only .0058 % of the total population that would be protected by the vaccine.
The real efficacy of the hypothetical vaccine should be reported by looking at the number of people protected compared to the total population of those being vaccinated. Assuming a population of 328 million in the United States, the efficacy of a vaccine that protects 19,000 people should properly be reported as .0058 %. That tells a completely different story than an efficacy rate of 95%. The real efficacy rate of .0058% reveals that it does not make sense to vaccinate the entire 328 million population of the United States in order to prevent 19,000 persons from being infected with a disease, which is only .0058 % of the population. Clearly, it would make no sense to vaccinate the entire population when 99.9939% of the population is at no risk of getting the disease (100% – .0061% = 99.9939%).
The 94.5 % efficacy for the Moderna COVID-19 mRNA vaccine reported by the FDA is misleading because the impression given by that figure is that the vaccine will effectively protect 9,450 out of 10,000 people from COVID-19. In reality, 9,935 are at no risk of getting COVID-19 (10,000 – 65 = 9,935). That means that out of every 10,000 people to get vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine it will only prevent sixty-one (61) people from becoming ill from COVID-19 (65 – 4 = 61). According to the study, a total of only 65 people out of every 10,000 are at risk to get COVID-19, and the vaccine will only protect 61 of those 65 people. That is a total efficacy rate for the vaccine of only .6124 % (61 people out of 10,000) and not 94.5 % (9,450 people out of 10,000) which is suggested by Moderna’s reporting of the relative risk reduction using only the subset of infected persons.
The Moderna study inadvertently reveals the extremely low risk of contracting COVID-19 (it is only .6483 %). With such a low risk of contraction, one might wonder what is the point of incurring all the risks of being injected with an experimental vaccine? One can expect that there will be a reduction of only .6124 % in COVID-19 infections in the population after being vaccinated. The vaccine will protect only sixty-one (61) of those sixty-five (65) projected to get COVID-19 in a population of 10,000 people. Thus, because the Modern mRNA COVID-19 vaccine will only protect sixty-one people (61) out of 10,000, it should be reported as .6124 % effective because that is the actual infection reduction rate in the total population due to the vaccination.
It is misleading for Moderna to report a 94.5 % efficacy rate because 99.3517% of the population are at no risk of getting COVID-19 (100% – .6483% = 99.3517%). Thus, out of every 10,000 people, 9,935 are being vaccinated needlessly (10,000 – 65 = 9,935). Out of every 10,000 people, only 61 persons will receive the benefit of the vaccine. That means the real efficacy rate is .6124%.