We’re not looking at the most important health statistic when it comes to vaccines

.(Quick Pause: I recommend signing up to some amazing newsletters. VoxCare gives a great perspective on where we are with the vaccine.)

Today they sent out the best summary I’ve read about vaccinations, specifically about each company’s vaccine and the impact on efficacy vs perhaps the more critical, serious illness and death.

In summary, efficacy is what was easiest to test for immediately in a controlled way (did people who were vaccinated get COVID-19).

But as time has lapsed, we’re now seeing that regardless of efficacy, all vacciness appear to do an excellent job of protecting against serious illness and death — meaning, as of now, any vaccine you get appears to help you not get COVID-19 (from 65-95% of the time) and if you do get it, will make it easier to weather, less painful to tolerate, and ultimately help you avoid death.

Which…is like the Flu (though with greater efficacy than recent flu vaccines).

There’s a great thread on varints; and the discussion around AstraZeneca’s vaccine and how South Africa and the UK have taken different stances on the vaccine (SA stopped using it, UK continues to) brings the debate about efficacy vs severe illness and death to life while also introducing a topic for a different day: variants.

The most powerful chart is one from Dr Ashish K Jha who I’m sure you’ve seen on TV in the past months; where he lays out the power of the vaccines.


#iamgrateful and #iamthankful for people like Kelsey Piper at Vox for this kind of writing and framing. I’m not savvy on the healthcare side but clear writing like this brought to life with simple data and live examples to help contextualize and make sense of what matters is hugely important. I feel smarter every time I read this newsletter.

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