by Julie Comber, Ph.D.
Madhava Setty, M.D., Childrens Health Defense:
After the Manitoba, Canada, public health agency reported data showing those fully vaccinated (not boosted) for COVID-19 are at higher risk of dying from the virus compared to unvaccinated individuals, health officials stopped reporting on the data — a trend seen in other countries, including Scotland, the U.K. and the U.S.
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Manitoba, population 1.4 million, was the first Canadian province whose public health agency reported data showing those who are fully vaccinated (not boosted) for COVID-19 are at higher risk of dying from COVID-19 compared to unvaccinated individuals.
The age-standardized data are from May 2022, but last appeared in Manitoba’s August 3 report:
The risk of death for those who were boosted was the same as for unvaccinated individuals.
Though three months old, the May data are, as of this writing, the last reported by the Canadian province.
Manitoba’s trending risk of severe outcomes by vaccination status
The May data on severe outcomes by vaccination status are part of a monthly trend suggesting reduced vaccine effectiveness over time.
By the end of December 2021, 74.7% of Manitobans were vaccinated for COVID-19 and 18.7% were not vaccinated, according to Manitoba Public Health’s weekly report for December 19-25, 2021.
At that time, Manitoba was not reporting on severe COVID-19 outcomes by vaccination status.
On Jan. 12, 2022, Global News reported that between Nov. 22, 2021, and Jan. 2, 2022, boosted individuals (purple bar) were 63 times less likely to die from COVID-19 than unvaccinated individuals (red bar):
Boosted individuals also were 26 times less likely to be hospitalized:
And boosted individuals were 139 times less likely to be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) than unvaccinated individuals:
The Manitoba Public Health’s weekly reports did not report this data at the time.
Manitoba first reported severe outcomes by vaccination status in March 2022, and then updated the numbers each month for the next three months.
In those reports, the risk of a severe outcome was age-standardized and reported per 100,000 person days.
Age-standardization, also called age-adjustment, is a statistical procedure that allows for the comparison of groups with different age structures. It is used because the risks of death and severe outcomes are different depending on a person’s age.
With COVID-19, for example, it is well known that older adults are at a higher risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19. If older adults are more likely to opt for vaccination and boosting, then the vaccinated and boosted groups would have a greater proportion of older people, who are at higher risk of severe outcomes, than the unvaccinated group.
Without age-standardization, the statistics would not show the impact of vaccination independent of age.
Here were Manitoba Public Health’s first comparative data around COVID-19 age-standardized severe outcomes:
Though there were nearly 5 of 16 weeks that overlapped with the time window on which Global News reported, the vaccine’s effectiveness against severe outcomes had somehow plummeted.
Then in the subsequent report that covered the month of March only, vaccine effectiveness dropped more (notice the 3 times greater risk of ICU admission in the partially vaccinated):