Are Vaccinations REALLY Our Way Out of This Pandemic?
The population-level data suggests there are OTHER things at play which have a BIGGER influence on the pandemic. Today, we explore the data suggesting vaccination rates DO NOT influence the course.
Do vaccination rates impact the course of the virus? Note: this is a different question than "do vaccines work?" I believe vaccines can reduce severity of COVID-19 for individuals - but do they stop the overall virus from its course? Do lower county vaccination rates mean higher virus cases? Do higher vaccinated population lead to lower deaths?
This chart provided by the inestimable @Hold2LLC shows the incredible synchronized waves of hospitalizations per million for these southern states: AL, FL, GA, MS, LA, TX. These states have different demographics, NPIs, mask mandates, vaccination rates and yet they are all moving in synchrony! But that’s just 6 data points.
Let's map these to county level
We're looking for correlation. Almost all data originates with counties so let's do this:
1) Map ALL the counties from these 6 states on an x-axis / y-axis plot
2) Narrow the timeframe to look at JUST the big recent wave
3) Compare vaccination rates to cases and deaths.
This x-axis shows two metrics: completed vaccination percentage for 65+ age and for 12+ — so we’re showing both the most impacted and the full extent of potential vaccination for a county.
The y-axis shows the the number of cases per 100K population from July to Sept 20 (the time of the BIG wave in the first chart above).
Size denotes population of that county.
No correlation can be seen. Miami County, FL had the highest average vaccination rate during that time period and the highest case rate. Fulton County, GA has a lower vaccination rate and a lower case rate. Let's give them the benefit of doubt & do max vaccination rate for that wave.
Any patterns? None that I see. We know that vaccines didn't quite live up the promises that Fauci & Walensky made in March/April that they "100% protect against hospitalization and death" and that vaccinated people “do not carry the virus” so let's map against deaths per 100K.
Again - this is one of the BIGGEST waves for these states.
Y-axis is now deaths per 100K for that timeframe. Some of these counties got walloped. But again… no clear pattern appears to show that vaccinations rates had ANY influence on the impact of the virus during that wave.
To reiterate, that’s not to say that vaccines can help individuals - they can by the evidence we have - but they seem to have very little impact on the overall ebb and flow of the virus taking its course.
Well let's throw some trendlines at this anyway.
Weak. No R2 above 5%.
Bottom line: the course of the virus IS NOT impacted by masks, lockdowns, NPIs, or even vaccination rates for that matter. There are larger things like seasonality at play here.
And here's one for @AstorAaron
Looking at Washington State. No strong correlation with max or average vaccination rates and cases or deaths. The virus... is gonna virus, vax rates will help people on an individual basis but they are NOT a good gauge of "beating" the virus
The CDC puts out a great file on cases and vaccination rates by age groups. Right now case rates are moving... sideways as HHS Region 4 (FL + south states) drop and Regions 1,2,3,5,8 start rising. STILL no correlation I can see between overall case rates and vax rates. Cases drop 75% before any group hits 10% vaxxed