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Explained: Why comparing vaccine based on efficacy rates can be misleading

Updated : April 19, 2021 06:28 AM IST

With now 3 vaccines in the market, people have started comparing then on the basis of its efficacy rate. However, experts say that people are indulging in comparing the vaccines based on efficacy rate without realising how exactly scientists arrive at this number. Vaccine efficacy is the percentage reduction in a disease in a group of people who received a vaccination in a clinical trial. Here's why such comparison can be misleading:

Comparing multiple COVID-19 vaccines could be misleading if experts are to be believed. According to the scientists, it’s a wrong approach and judging a vaccine as superior or inferior based on its efficacy rate could be confusing for all.
Comparing multiple COVID-19 vaccines could be misleading if experts are to be believed. According to the scientists, it’s a wrong approach and judging a vaccine as superior or inferior based on its efficacy rate could be confusing for all.
Many people indulge in comparing the vaccines based on efficacy rate without realising how exactly scientists arrive at this number, the experts added.
Many people indulge in comparing the vaccines based on efficacy rate without realising how exactly scientists arrive at this number, the experts added.
Experts say efficacy numbers are not the best determinants of the effectiveness of a vaccine.
Experts say efficacy numbers are not the best determinants of the effectiveness of a vaccine.
Every vaccine when it undergoes human trials divides its participants into two equal groups. The first group is the placebo group. This group doesn't receive any vaccine but they're not told about the fact. The second group receives the vaccine. Both the groups are left to lead their normal lives as scientists monitor them for signs of infection. When participants from either group contract the virus, the numbers are written down along with other details like the severity of the condition of symptoms.
Every vaccine when it undergoes human trials divides its participants into two equal groups. The first group is the placebo group. This group doesn't receive any vaccine but they're not told about the fact. The second group receives the vaccine. Both the groups are left to lead their normal lives as scientists monitor them for signs of infection. When participants from either group contract the virus, the numbers are written down along with other details like the severity of the condition of symptoms.
The efficacy rate is determined by calculating the number of people who had received the vaccines in the trials and got coronavirus compared to the number of people from the placebo group that got coronavirus.
The efficacy rate is determined by calculating the number of people who had received the vaccines in the trials and got coronavirus compared to the number of people from the placebo group that got coronavirus.
This doesn't mean that every 9 out of 10 persons will be safe from coronavirus, even though that seems counterintuitive to the results of the trials. Efficacy rates mean that your body has a 90 percent increased chance of not being affected by coronavirus when exposed to it.
This doesn't mean that every 9 out of 10 persons will be safe from coronavirus, even though that seems counterintuitive to the results of the trials. Efficacy rates mean that your body has a 90 percent increased chance of not being affected by coronavirus when exposed to it.
Here are some other factors that help determine how truly effective a vaccine is.
Here are some other factors that help determine how truly effective a vaccine is.
While the ideal situation is that someone is not infected at all, vaccines are essential in preventing COVID-19 patients from developing severe symptoms, preventing long term effects on the lung and limbic system and even preventing death.
While the ideal situation is that someone is not infected at all, vaccines are essential in preventing COVID-19 patients from developing severe symptoms, preventing long term effects on the lung and limbic system and even preventing death.
This is why while the efficacy rates of coronavirus vaccines vary a lot; they're still invaluable to reduce the severity of the various symptoms of the Novel Coronavirus.  The best virus that you can get is the one that is readily available for you.
This is why while the efficacy rates of coronavirus vaccines vary a lot; they're still invaluable to reduce the severity of the various symptoms of the Novel Coronavirus.  The best virus that you can get is the one that is readily available for you.
Published : April 17, 2021 05:49 PM IST
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