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It is impossible that the vaccines saved 14 million lives in 2021
Part 1 of PANDA's Inquiry into the Drivers of Excess Deaths 2020-2023
by Dr Todd Kenyon and Thomas Verduyn
On March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization declared that Covid-19 was a pandemic. We at PANDA do not wish to let the third anniversary of that fateful day pass by without an examination of multiple deficiencies in the prevailing narrative. It is our intent to get as close to the truth as possible in the interest of ensuring a similar debacle never happens again.
Make sure you don’t miss the rest of this series.
Many believe that they have a pretty good idea about what happened during the last three years: A novel deadly virus appeared in China, having escaped a bat or a lab, and quickly spread worldwide. Several regions including Northern Italy and New York City suffered massive infections and high death rates, overloading hospitals. The only weapons we had to fight back were lockdowns and masks, and eventually a miracle vaccine. In this mini series we intend to demonstrate that every aspect of this narrative is inaccurate. In short, we believe:
The virus was neither entirely novel nor particularly deadly
The measures and response certainly were both novel and deadly
PCR testing massively misrepresented the true course of the “pandemic”
Deaths were significantly over-attributed to Covid
Iatrogenesis, psychological distress, neglect, and lack of basic care took a substantial toll
The NPI’s – masks, distancing, closing schools, etc – had significant detrimental effects with no demonstrable positives
The response worldwide, and thus the massive toll on humanity was driven not by a pathogen but by politics, convenience, power-grabbing, propaganda, complicit captured media, partisan dogma, corporate greed and fear.
This must never be allowed to happen again.
It is impossible that the vaccines saved 14 million lives in 2021
We begin with a look at the “miracle” vaccine. On June 23, 2022, the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases published an article entitled Global impact of the first year of COVID-19 vaccination: a mathematical modelling study. The authors of that paper “estimated that vaccinations prevented 14.4 million … deaths from COVID-19 in 185 countries and territories between Dec 8, 2020 and Dec 8, 2021.” As comforting as it would be if this were true, this estimate is so impossibly high that the Lancet should have recognized the error. This may be demonstrated by any of four simple calculations.
First, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that as of Feb 17, 2023 there have been “756.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 including 6.84 million deaths.” This gives a global average case fatality rate (CFR) of 0.9%. At this rate, had the Covid vaccine prevented 14.4 million deaths in the space of one year, then it would also have needed to prevent 1.59 billion confirmed cases in that same year. But this is more than twice the total number of cases in three years, meaning that it would require a six-fold increase in the number of confirmed cases since the beginning of the Covid era. Therefore, based on the overall CFR, it is impossible that the vaccines prevented 14.4 million deaths.
Second, it is well established that the infection fatality rate (IFR) of Covid is age-dependent. For instance, the BMJ published an article on Oct 26, 2020, which noted that “the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has said that eight in ten Covid-19 related deaths reported in the country have been among people aged 65 years or over.” Therefore, for vaccinations to have prevented 14.4 million deaths, one would have had to prevent 11.52 million deaths among those over 65 years of age. According to the UN, the world population is about 7,954 million, of which about ten percent are over 65. That means there are about 795 million people in this age group. To have saved 11.52 million of them from dying would have required the following things to have happened during that one year:
All 795 million people over 65 were vaccinated,
None of these people contracted Covid while they were waiting to be “fully” vaccinated,
The vaccines are 100% effective (absolute risk reduction) at preventing death,
Without vaccination all 795 million would have contracted Covid, and,
The average IFR of Covid for those over 65 and unvaccinated is at least 1.45%.
An earlier article in The Lancet estimated the IFR of Covid (before vaccination) for those over 60 to be 1.0035%. Thus, all five of the requirements above are either incorrect or impossible. Therefore, based on age-specific mortality rates, it is impossible that the vaccines prevented 14.4 million deaths.
Third, on Mar 20, 2022, The Lancet published an article in which the authors estimated that between Jan 1, 2020 and Dec 31, 2021 a total of “18.2 million people died worldwide because of the Covid-19 pandemic.” If the vaccines successfully prevented another 14.4 million deaths, then 32.6 million deaths would have occurred without the vaccines. For this many people to have died, it would have required all eight billion people in the world to have been infected with Covid, and a global average IFR of at least 0.41%. But a bulletin published by WHO estimated the IFR to be at most 0.23%, and it “might even be substantially lower than 0.23%.” One must conclude from this that either the Lancet article claiming that 18.2 million people died in the first two years of Covid is incorrect, or the Lancet article claiming that 14.4 million deaths were prevented in the first year of the vaccines is incorrect, or both Lancet articles are incorrect. Certainly, based on published average IFRs, it is impossible that both Lancet articles are correct.
Fourth, on Jan 25, 2023, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) published a report that estimated the number of people who needed to be vaccinated to prevent a Covid-19 hospitalisation. In Table 4 of Appendix 1, it is claimed that 2,500 people over 70 must be vaccinated to prevent one severe hospitalisation in that age group. This is the lowest NNV (numbers needed to vaccinate) figure in the table. If we apply this number to the entire world population, and assume both that this entire population is over 70 years of age, and that every last soul was vaccinated, according to the UKHSA data, only 3.2 million severe hospitalisations would be prevented. Therefore, it is clearly impossible for the vaccines to have prevented 14.4 million deaths.
Thus, whether one looks at the average CFR, or the age-specific IFR, or the average IFR, or the NNV, it is quite impossible that the Covid vaccines prevented 14.4 million deaths. In every case we demonstrated this impossibility by using values and assumptions that most favoured the authors conclusions. We did this despite the fact that some of these values assigned to CFR, IFR, and NNV may themselves be overestimated.
The question remains: If the estimate of 14.4 million is too high a number, how many deaths were prevented by the Covid injections? As difficult as this question is to answer, it is possible to establish an upper limit. Pfizer published its Phase 3 clinical trial results in the New England Journal of Medicine. If we accept their results at face value, then of the 21,728 volunteers who received the placebo shot, there were 162 cases of Covid. On the other hand, of the 21,720 who received the BNT162b2 injection, there were only eight cases. This means that the Pfizer shot may have prevented about 154 infections per 21,720 persons receiving the injection. According to Our-World-in-Data, at the end of the first year of the vaccine rollout, about 4.5 billion people on the planet had received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Hence, based on Pfizer’s own clinical data, the Pfizer shot might have prevented 31.9 million infections. Using the upper bound IFR of 0.23% mentioned earlier, the maximum number of deaths prevented by the vaccine in one year is 73,384. This is almost 200 times less than the 14.4 million estimate put forward in the Lancet article.
There are three primary reasons why someone might overestimate the number of deaths prevented by a vaccine:
Use of improper modelling
Overestimating how lethal the disease is
Overestimating how effective the vaccines are.
The Lancet article did not spell out all the details of the complex models used in this study, so we are hardly in a position to comment on their methodology other than to point out that layers of complexity and assumptions rarely lead to useful or realistic estimates. What we can comment on is the fact that the authors themselves testify that the remaining two causes listed above most certainly contributed to their incorrect conclusions.
Concerning the second, the authors expressly state that “excess all-cause mortality… [was] used to quantify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.” In other words, they did not use published Covid mortality figures to determine how lethal Covid was. Instead, they used excess deaths. It hardly bears mentioning, however, that during 2020 the world witnessed many drastic changes, both at the population level and in health care services. It is certain that multiple factors contributed to excess mortality in 2020 and thereafter, not just Covid. This means that the authors substantially overestimated Covid mortality.
Concerning the third, the authors stated that they assumed that the vaccines were effective: “Vaccination was assumed to confer protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection and the development of severe disease requiring hospital admission, and to reduce transmission from vaccine breakthrough infections (i.e. we assumed vaccinated individuals who develop infection would be less infectious than unvaccinated individuals).” All of these assumptions have been proven to be false by multiple studies and papers, including, and as we saw above, Pfizer’s own trial results.
Thus, by overestimating both the mortality caused by Covid, and how effective the vaccines were, the authors of this article came up with obviously incorrect conclusions about how many Covid deaths were prevented by the injections. Perhaps such glaring errors are not entirely surprising given the notable conflicts of interest involved: the paper was partially funded by organisations known to be vaccine advocates (GAVI, the WHO, and the BMGF).
In a future article we hope to look a little closer at the upper limit of 73,384 Covid deaths prevented by the injections.
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