Study Finds COVID Cases Unrelated to Vaccination Rates

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Originally published on by Natasha Hobley

As vaccines and mandates continue to be the primary means of combating COVID-19, findings from a recently published article demonstrate that COVID-19 cases across 68 countries and nearly 3,000 counties in the United States were unrelated to vaccination rates, indicating "a lack of meaningful association."1

The international data, published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, was gathered from Our World in Data, which is an online research database updated daily. The 68 countries in the analysis were only included if the countries listed both second dose vaccine data and confirmed COVID-19 case data. The data also had to be within three days of Sept. 3, 2021 to represent the most up to date information at the time the analysis was conducted.

U.S. data was derived from the White House COVID-19 Team data. All 2,947 U.S counties were only included in the analysis if the counties reported a fully vaccinated population.

"No Discernable Relationship" Between Vaccines and COVID Cases

S.V. Subramanian and Akhil Kumar, authors of the article, state:

At the country-level, there appears to be no discernable relationship between percentage of population fully vaccinated and new COVID-19 cases in the last 7 days. In fact, the trend line suggests a marginally positive association such that countries with higher percentage of population fully vaccinated have higher COVID-19 cases per 1 million people.1

U.S. county data indicates that there is no significant case decrease in counties with a higher percentage of the population fully vaccinated.

Countries With Vaccination Rates of  Under 10 Percent Have Less COVID Than Those With 75 Percent Vaccinated

The gathered data demonstrated that countries with vaccination rates over 75 percent, such as Portugal and Iceland, exhibited higher rates of COVID-19 than Vietnam and South Africa, where less than ten percent of the population is vaccinated.

According to the article, four of the top five U.S. counties with the highest vaccination rates ranging from 84.3 percent to 99.9 percent are identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as "high" transmission counties. Of the 57 counties that are classified as "low" transmission counties, 26.3 percent have a vaccination rate below 20 percent.

Obesity and Other Modifiable Risk Factors Should Be Addressed

The study authors state that sole reliance on vaccination as the primary strategy to combat COVID-19 should be re-examined and that other interventions and preventatives, both pharmacological and non-pharmacological, may need to be put in place.

The need for non-pharmacological interventions and preventatives echoes what many researchers, doctors, and others have been saying about the lack of general health guidance throughout the pandemic. Many research articles present data demonstrating an increased likelihood of complications related to COVID-19 when individuals have comorbidities, such as high blood pressure and obesity. The World Obesity Federation has shown that death rates from COVID-19 are ten times higher in countries where more than half of the population is overweight.2

According to the CDC, 73.6 percent of Americans are overweight, 42.5 percent are obese.3 Daniel Donner, MD, a physician at Novan's Pediatric Clinic in North Carolina stated:

It feels like--at least in the messaging that I've seen--as though (obesity is) being treated as more of a footnote than anything else and something I feel like a lot of people have missed.4

Natural Immunity Stronger Than Vaccine-Induced Immunity

In their article,1 Subramanian and Kumar cite several studies which indicate that natural immunity may offer stronger immunity than the Pfizer vaccine and that the Pfizer vaccine is showing substantially lower efficacy in the real world compared to clinical trial data upon which the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and licensing approval was based. Pfizer clinical trial efficacy was noted as 96 percent, while a recent report released from the Ministry of Health in Israel demonstrates the vaccine efficacy to be only 39 percent.

Although vaccination may offer protection against severe hospitalization and death, the CDC has reported an increase from 0.01 percent to 9 percent for hospitalization and zero to 15.1 percent for death among those who are fully vaccinated.

Researchers from Columbia Public Health estimated that by the end of 2020, one in three Americans, or 103 million people, had contracted natural infection COVID-19.5

Last month, The Washington Post reported that more than 15 studies have demonstrated the power of natural immunity, suggesting that it is as good as or better than vaccine-induced immunity.6 Natural immunity to COVID is powerful. Policymakers seem afraid to say so. The Washington Post Sept. 15, 2021.) One of those articles includes a 700,000 person study from Israel which found that those who had contracted COVID-19 in the past were 27 times less likely to get a second asymptomatic infection than those who were vaccinated.

A previous Cleveland Clinic study that included healthcare workers found that none of the employees who had previously tested positive for COVID had been re-infected. The study concluded that those previously infected were unlikely to benefit from vaccination.7

Rejecting Natural Immunity Leads to "Damaged Credibility"

As John Hopkins Professor Marty Makary wrote in The Washington Post:

The incorrect hypothesis that natural immunity is unreliable has resulted in the loss of thousands of American lives, avoidable vaccine complications, and damaged the credibility of public health officials. Given the recent mandate announcement by the White House, it would be good for our public health leaders to show humility by acknowledging the hypothesis they repeatedly trumpeted was not only wrong, but it may be harmful.7

Last month, when Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), was asked whether natural immunity was equal to or better than the vaccine, he stated that he didn't have a "firm answer" and that it was something that was going to need to be discussed "seriously."8

Consideration for natural immunity was not in the sweeping nationwide mandates issued by the White House this summer, which affects 100. million Americans and requires for both private and public-sector employees to be vaccinated. In August, Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced a mandate for all military personnel. Punishments for those refusing to comply include administrative or non-judicial punishment, relief of duties, and potentially, dishonorable discharge.9

California Orders COVID Vaccine Mandates for Children

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced earlier this month that the state would now require the COVID-19 vaccine for children 12 years and older, which is the first COVID vaccine mandate in the country for children.

Subramanian and Kumar end their article calling for COVID vaccination policies to be implemented with humility and respect…

In summary, even as efforts should be made to encourage populations to get vaccinated it should be done so with humility and respect. Stigmatizing populations can do more harm than good. Importantly, other non-pharmacological prevention efforts needs [sic] to be renewed in order to strike the balance of learning to live with COVID-19 in the same manner we continue to live a 100 years later with various seasonal alterations of the 1918 Influenza virus.1


1 Subramanian SV, Kumar A. Increases in COVID-19 are unrelated to levels of vaccination across 68 countries and 2947 counties in the United States. European Journal of Epidemiology Sept. 30, 2021.

2 Newman K. Study: High blood pressure, obesity are most common comorbidities in COVID-19 patients. U.S. News & World Report Apr. 22, 2020.)

3 National Center for Health Statistics. Obesity and Overweight. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Mar. 1, 2021.

4 Harrison S, Donnelly C. As obesity takes a greater toll in COVID deaths, health officials are quiet. WFAE Sept. 30, 2021.

5 Spencer C. New study finds 1 in 3 Americans were infected with coronavirus by the end of 2020. The Hill Aug. 26, 2021.

6 Makary M. Natural immunity to covid is powerful. Policymakers seem afraid to say so. The Washington Post Sept. 15, 2021.

7 Scribner H. Dr. Fauci says he doesn't have a 'firm answer' if natural immunity is better than the COVID-19 vaccine. Deseret News Sept. 17, 2021.

8 Baldor L. COVID vaccines to be required for military under new US plan. AP News Aug. 9, 2021.

9 Hong J. Student COVID vaccinations: California becomes first state to require them for kids 12 and up. Cal Matters Oct. 1, 2021.

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