Literatus: Evidence-based vaccine sense

Zosimo T. Literatus
·2 min read

GLOBAL multi-agency data published as of Jan. 23, 2021 indicate a very high recovery rate in the Philippines for Covid-19 cases. For the 511,679 confirmed cases, 467,886 Filipinos reportedly recovered. That is a recovery rate of 91.44 percent, which is very high.

That is a far better efficacy rate than the China-produced vaccine that has around 50 percent efficacy rate. In effect, it is better to be infected with Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus and treated in the Philippine health care system than to be vaccinated.

Immunity studies on patients that have recovered from Covid-19 infection are study period dependent. That means that the known length of protection against reinfection is as long as the study itself. Thus, in five-month studies, immunity observed was also five months. Consequently, it is possible that immunity against reinfection can be far longer.

Such protection against reinfection appears to be far more enduring than protection acquired from vaccination. We also cannot argue that the vaccine can be far safer than natural immunization.

First, the case of the Pfizer vaccine deaths recently reported certainly dispute that.

Second, the 91.44 percent recovery rate through the Philippine health care system is overpassed only by the declared efficacy rates of Pfizer (95 percent) and the Moderna (94.1 percent) vaccines on second dose.

Third, on a dose basis, direct infection does not require two doses to provide the 91.44 percent recovery rate and perhaps even longer reinfection protection.

Fourth, if safety is the issue, the death rate in the Philippine health care system is only less than one percent (10,190 divided by 511,679). If the Pfizer had that astounding death rate, as recently reported, then vaccines of lower efficacy rates can be riskier.

From this evidence, getting infected directly provides higher probability of recovery and longer period of protection from reinfection than vaccination. However, from the cost standpoint, vaccination can be less costly than hospitalization.

Thus, if your choice is to be vaccinated to keep your peace of mind, better choose those vaccines with higher efficacy rates (Pfizer and Moderna), assuming equal risks with those of lower efficacy rates. However, if lack of death incidents is to be given value, then Moderna is the vaccine worth waiting for.

Regardless, mild infection that causes no symptoms is the best option. Unfortunately, there is no measured certainty on how to attain that.