20m Lives Saved by Vaccines?

The Economist suggests vaccines for Covid probably saved 20,000,000 lives. Far from perfect, it seems things might have been 2.7 times worse without them.

I don’t think forcing people to take vaccines was the right move. Coercion has its costs. Getting vaccination rates up to 40% in all countries, or the oldest 5% in Africa would also have had enormous benefits. (Only 3% of Africans are over 65.)

The mRNA " vaccines " didn’t really function as conventional ones. So it is really a new data set to explore. The demographics of Covid mortality was very tilted to the more aged. This demographic may have died within a short time period regardless of effects from Covid and or mRNA treatment. A harsh flu strain may have been even worse. Lost years of life being a harsh data point.
There are also such wildly varied data collection methods. Cause of death definitions. Varied time frames to ascribe Covid as cause of death.
It is a real mess. It is an ongoing lot of work to sort it all out. There is still push back to get data from some sources. Some is not being clearly explained to those trying to use it. Maybe a lot of cover your ass going on. Even if it is not required.
Personally, I think the mRNA may have had a noticeable effect to help more aged folks survive. If it was successful in combating it’s target.
For most others I think it was not really required.
Disclaimer. I do feel the mRNA technology has great potential in many areas. Maybe even as an antiviral. But I feel this round was not an actual success.

I think it was a success, in the main, not because it was perfect but because it happened. There was definitive proof of concept and efficacy. There will be further pandemics, some much worse (the R value of measles is 12-18 for example; most people who got SARS ended up in the ICU).

It is new data but does not change comparisons between expected and recorded mortality. True, data is not always available nor trustworthy, but this is compensated for by error ranges.

I agree with the elderly being much more affected. This highlights the importance of global vaccination of populations at risk. The lack of severe symptoms in the vast majority of young people was also an unusual feature of Covid. Hopefully lessons have been learned. These might include global distribution, local manufacture, proper monitoring, relevant equipment stores, public education and limiting restrictions to necessary ones.

The backlash against effective medicines is worrisome and measures to minimize this were half-hearted and very late. Hopefully this damage can be undone. This may be challenging.

Efficacy in what aspect?

Well, I think the estimate of 20m lives saved is reasonable.

I don’t know what you mean by this, or why you have “vaccines” in scare quotes. The mechanism for introducing antigen is novel, but from there the immunological response is exactly the same process as with conventional vaccines.

[my bold]

So just to be clear, you’re using this thread to push an antivax agenda? “Personally” isn’t going to cut it, what research data is this based on?

It is true that elderly people were more affected. But so were plenty of middle-aged ones with plenty of QALYs, quality years left. If recorded deaths are many times higher than expected ones, this disproves the generalization “they were going to die anyway” even if this is sometimes true for individuals. Hopefully more attention to care homes will make even this less true in the future.

Research on long Covid might reveal still other benefits. Our knowledge of viruses is not nearly complete, and might now be properly funded.

I have stated before that I am more vaccinated than most folks due to my work. I am glad of that. I think vaccines are one of the greatest things in medicine.
At no point did I say vaccines are bad. mRNA treatment is not a conventional vaccine. I noted that specifically. Not scare quotes, but quotes to differentiate the terminology.
It is easy to find the facts that the mRNA jabs did not function as conventional vaccines. They did not prevent infection, or transmission. They also work very differently than conventional vaccines. Conventional vaccines present a dead or weakened sample of the virus to your immune system, to get a response. The mRNA treatment causes your cells to start manufacturing a specific aspect of the virus to present to your immune system. Obviously a very different system. The CDC actually had to change their definition of vaccine to accomodate this fact.

It is not some sort of heresy or ignorance to consider that there are differences, good and bad, amongst medical treatments, drugs. Aspirin, Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, are all used to treat similar things. But they are not identical in positive or negative effect. They have varying negative effects. Which can be worse in combination with other things.
And it is historical fact that it is only after some time span that very terrible effects of treatments and or drugs come to light.
mRNA is very new. It is not unwise to investigate.
Even though Pfizer wished to have us wait 75 years. A long time for peer review.

[ my bold ]

This is complete nonsense.

If you are going to turn this thread in your personal antivax agenda, you had better start citing some evidence. I really don’t think there is any burden on anyone else to cite widely available evidence that the mRNA vaccines are safe and effective in preventing both infection and transmission.

Again, simply wrong. Many conventional vaccines do not use whole dead or weakened pathogen. Subunit vaccines include conventional vaccines for:

Hepatitis B
Whooping Cough

cite: Vaccine Types | HHS.gov

Subunit vaccine - Wikipedia

The mRNA vaccines introduce genes, and then use your body’s own cellular machinery to produce the protein antigen (the subunit). This mechanism is novel, but from that stage the process of the body’s immune response to antigen and development of immunological memory are just the same as with conventional subunit vaccines. In any event, the fact that the system is different is not what matters when we have a vast amount of indisputable evidence that they are they are safe and highly effective, that the do in fact produce the same type of immune response as conventional vaccines - and in the case of this SARS-CoV-2, a better immune response than any of the conventional alternatives.

This generalization is a worthless platitude. You are not some noble skeptic. It is ignorant and harmful to push an antivax agenda that ignores the vast amount of evidence that we now have that the mRNA vaccines are safe and highly effective.

Subunit vaccine does not use your cells to produce a portion of a viral agent. It uses a piece of a viral agent to stimulate the immune system. Poor argument. Still not like the very different mRNA system.
As I have many times stated I am not anti vaccine. I am in fact very pro vaccine. Maybe more vaccinated than you.

I was abundantly clear that I was refuting your incorrect claim that the use of subunits as antigens was novel in mRNA vaccines. It is not, many conventional vaccines do this.

So do the mRNA vaccines. It is only the method by which the subunit is produced (using your own cellular machinery) that is different.

I am not espousing anti vax stuff.
I am putting forth a quite reasonable concern that there were many incorrect, imperfect, reactions, solutions in the Covid 19 event. That is perfectly normal, because we are imperfect.
It really concerns me that so many are so 100% vehemently averse to any thought that it was not all correct. That is not a good method for considering how the situation was handled. How to best handle the next one.
My original reply to this post was quite calm and measured. But I see as usual that one aspect of it was fastened on and grossly highlighted.

Oh really. You’re not antivax, you’re just expressing “reasonable conern”… but your personal opinion, contrary to mountains of evidence and the universal scientific consensus, is that the mRNA vaccines don’t work.

[my bold]

If it were easy to find these facts, I would have imagined that by now you would be citing them.

Taking a look at my own country which is at 89% vaccination rate.

The story is the same in most places. Vaccination rate steadily goes up, cases go up and down quite randomly. Omicron blew us all out. I caught it too. After two doses. But it was thankfully mild.
As I have stated above. I do think the mRNA may have had positive effect on severity. Especially in aged persons.
But overall I do not think it had a great general effect.

Are you unfamiliar with the fact that viruses mutate, that vaccination (and immunity deriving from prior infection) give varying degrees of protection against different strains, and therefore infections come in waves?

Is this the best you can do to support your ignorant assertion that mRNA vaccines are not really vaccines, and that they do not prevent disease or transmission? Well, of course is it the best you can do, because your claim is complete nonsense.

I am very aware of these facts.
Wondering why we are all still being told to get an unchanged Pfizer “vaccine” over and over again.
Is this the best you can do?

I am actually hoping for more and better vaccines as time goes by. I am an old geezer, so they may not affect me to greatest benefit. But they are a continuing great thing for us all. But sometimes a specific thing just does not work out as good as you hoped.
Some times it takes time to tell.

Then you know that fluctuating infection numbers are irrelevant to your claims that the mRNA vaccines don’t work. So why did you cite them?

Because the virus is still widely circulating and rapidly mutating, but is not yet following endemic patterns that we can anticipate, and we have not yet developed new vaccines that are tweaked and optimized (like the flu vaccine) for protection against the new strains before they show up. But even if the original vaccine offers less protection against mutant strains, the boost is still worthwhile. As technology and our understanding of the virus and the immune response improves, we will probably settle into a system similar to the flu vaccine where we get a new shot each year tuned to the latest variant.

So if it is or trending to be like the seasonal flu. Lets get to work developing and implementing similar vaccine systems and methods. Or do you consider those to be wrong? Only the mRNA to be correct. Even though we have been using the seasonal flu vaccine method for decades.