Certain hot-button topics are just given and not open for examination. Anthropogenic Climate Change, Vaccines, Chemtrails and Government Conspiracies top the lists. Whenever any of these subjects is broached all people who consider themselves reasonable just shut down, nothing could possibly be said to add to what they know about these subjects.
Therefore these are partisan issues. No reason will be considered, well, unless it is to criticize the people who don’t believe reasonably. Perhaps it all started like this: The people who don’t believe in (for example) vaccines are idiots because vaccines wiped out Small Pox. Then all kinds of other jumped on with all the good things vaccines do and what idiots anyone who has a question about vaccines must be.
So it is difficult to be non-partisan. You must be an idiot to even listen to any argument that doesn’t say All Vaccines Are Good. You can just say Vaccines Save Lives and you are on the right side of the argument and never have to learn anything more about vaccines.
I can now tell you my personal experience about vaccination, but the only reason I would do that is to get you sympathy and break communications barriers to ask you to listen to an argument. But why the fuck won’t you listen to the argument anyway? Don’t you care about critical thinking? Is your partisanship so strong that now you don’t care about arguments, only belittling people who don’t mindlessly believe as you do?
The misleading issue is Vaccine Effectiveness. In fact my problem is larger, all across the health field, where people lie to you, misrepresent and change the meanings of common words, in order to help you. Zostavax, the shingles vaccine, claims 51% effectiveness. That would mean, if words are given their normal definition, that you have a 51% reduced risk of getting shingles if you take the vaccine. I believe that is misleading, and intentionally so.
We all know that smoking causes lung cancer too. And by the same token I think that statement is intentionally misleading. If someone gets lung cancer we immediately think ***did they smoke***?
“As many as 20% of the people who die from lung cancer in the United States every year do not smoke or use any other form of tobacco” says the American Cancer Society in an article that attempts to justify the belief that smoking causes cancer. If you search for your lifetime risk of getting lung cancer you will get all kinds of articles explaining how much MORE likely you are to get cancer if you smoke than if you don’t smoke.
So that is the issue with nearly all health care recommendations. You cannot easily find your risk of getting cancer, but it is very easy to find your risk INCREASE with behavior or exposure. By this yardstick the primary cause of drowning is swimming. Nearly everyone who drowns was swimming.
One’s lifetime risk overall of getting lung cancer is about 7% according to the Lifetime Risk Chart of the American Cancer Society whether you smoke or never smoked. So your increased risk if you smoke is averaged over all other people. If my math is correct 80% of that 7% chance are smokers, and 20% of them are never-smokers according to the site above. Smoking causes cancer, therefore, in 5% of smokers. And lung cancer kills 2% of neversmokers and has the ACS jumping through hoops to explain it.
Smoking increases your risk of dying from lung cancer in your lifetime from 2% to 5%. I am not trying to justify smoking, it is dirty and unhealthy in many other ways besides your increased risk of lung cancer. But what I am discussing here is the how the health care industry has brainwashed everyone by giving us statistics that mean very, very little.
Which is what happens with Zostavax. Bringing this issue to many “skeptics” has gotten me banned from further discussions. All a skeptic seems to care about is that vaccines are good and anyone who questions is therefore wrong. There are huge studies, all orchestrated and quoted everywhere. Here is a good example: Zostavax Study
The main thrust of their argument, why they recommend anyone over 60 take the vaccine, is that in a study of 38,000 people over 60, half vaccinate, half receive placebo. The claim is 51% fewer people got shingles in the vaccinated group. To confuse the issue a lot of time and space is devoted to how the symptoms of shingles (post herpetic neurolgia) were lessened in those who got shingles in the vaccinated group. It is not explained that one must be in the unlucky 49% in order to benefit from lesser symptoms.
So just like the smoking issue, what are the chances I would get shingles without the vaccine? A difficult figure to find, but we can easily know it is less if I take the vaccine. Over one’s life time one has a 33% chance of getting shingles, however the vaccine does not cover the lifetime. It only works for a disputed amount of time. Full strength for 3 years, then it is less effective for a few years, and whether or not one has taken the vaccine is statistically insignificant after 7 years.
The chances of getting shingles go up with age, but the best numbers available are the numbers of this study 38,000 people over 60 meticulously documented and tested. So what are the figures?
Overall the chance of getting shingles in that age group is 7.8 per 1000 person-years. So any given year a person over 60 has a 0.78% chance of getting shingles. That risk is reduced by 51% for at least three years after taking the vaccine. To a lesser extent one is protected for an additional couple years but no protection at all after 7 years.
The numbers work out to about 3.4% will get shingles in the over 60 group without the vaccine and 1.6% with the vaccine. Another way to put it is the $250 vaccine will help about 1.8% of the people who buy it. For every 120 people who buy the vaccine one is prevented from getting shingles.
Please check my figures, I would love to find out I am wrong.
The numbers are worse for the HPV vaccine.
The salient point is the Number Needed to Treat (NNT) in order to prevent one case of the disease. Presumably the disease in this case is Cervical Cancer, so the number to treat is somewhere between 324 and 9080. Estimating NNT for the HPV vaccine
The series of three shots costs about $500 in the US or Canada. 324 time $500 equals $162,000, and times 9080, my calculator must be broken…That how much it costs all of the customers of Merck who bought Guardasil9 for every case of cancer prevented.
And if your insurance covers the cost you can bet the insurance company did not lose money on the deal either.