Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Those Demonising the Unvaccinated Need to Look in the Mirror

BY NICK RENDELL | THE DAILY SCEPTIC | OCTOBER 17, 2022

It’s been known since the outbreak of Covid that obesity leads to higher rates of hospitalisations and deaths. Despite this, very few resources were deployed to encourage healthier eating and lifestyles. This article argues that this was a disastrous decision for the long term health of the nation and the short to medium term capacity of the NHS.

Boris Johnson (BMI 34; healthy is under 25) in his New Year message broadcast on December 31st 2020 said: “Get a vaccine, it’s far easier than losing weight” (see video from two minutes in). Well, the people of the U.K. took him at his word: we’ve had 30 months to galvanise the population into losing weight and getting fitter, 30 months entirely squandered.

First, let’s just look at how effective spending £25bn injecting 150 million vaccines into the U.K. population has been. As the NHS continues to struggle to meet demand, perhaps Covid hospital admissions are the key metric. For the vaccine programme to have been a success we should expect the unvaccinated to be disproportionately admitted to hospital. They’re not. These figures come from the latest UKHSA Weekly Vaccine Surveillance Report; table 12a on page 49 gives us the figures for hospital admissions between March 21st and August 28th of this year. In each age cohort the unvaccinated are proportionately less likely to be hospitalised than the vaccinated. As an example, in the 50-64 year-olds, 129 of the 1,342 admissions were unvaccinated, that’s 9.6%. Yet, about 14% of that age group are unvaccinated. If the unvaccinated were more likely to be hospitalised we would expect the figures to be reversed, to see a higher proportion of the unvaccinated hospitalised than the total proportion of people unvaccinated.

Demonstrably, despite the Government’s claims that vaccines have reduced hospital admissions, this can’t be true. Something has reduced hospital admissions from the peaks in the first two waves, but if the rate of admission is much the same for the vaccinated and the unvaccinated I struggle to see how vaccines can explain it. Surely, far more likely are the twin benefits of immunity brought about by prior infection and a less virulent variant. Figure 2 shows the peaks and troughs of Covid hospital admissions since the start of the pandemic.

Also worth noting, the seven-day average number of hospital admissions for Covid is currently 132% higher than it was on October 7th 2020, before anyone anywhere had been vaccinated, and 86% higher than on October 7th 2021 when most people had been vaccinated – though it should be noted that over half of Covid hospital admissions since Omicron have been primarily being treated for something else.

Despite my deep scepticism of the efficacy of the mRNA vaccines and the real world evidence presented above, to avoid any accusations of dogmatism I’m going to indulge the vaccine zealots’ figures for vaccine effectiveness. Again, with the data taken from the Government’s week 40 vaccine surveillance report, figure 3 suggests that the UKHSA thinks that the best protection a fourth dose of vaccine can offer is about 50%, soon falling to 20%.

Now let’s compare that vaccine efficacy with the impact of obesity on severe Covid outcomes by turning to a fascinating study published in June in the Lancet that looked at how BMI affects Covid outcomes. What made this latest study particularly interesting was that it used real, though anonymised, data from about 20% of the U.K. population. The data, from QResearch had over 12 million patient records but about 3 million couldn’t be used, mainly because BMI data were missing, but that still left 9,171,524 patient records to be analysed. So, again, we’re looking at real-world evidence whereas the UKHSA vaccine efficacy rates are estimates.

The data related to the period from December 2020 to November 2021. This was the period covering the initial rollout through to booster doses in older people. Part of the summary table is reproduced in Figure 4. I’ve highlighted in red hospital admissions.

There were 3,509,213 people of a healthy weight in the study, of whom 8,315 were hospitalised with Covid, that’s 0.23%. Of the 3,062,925 overweight people, 10,653 or 0.35% were hospitalised. That means the overweight were 50% more likely to end up in hospital than those classed as healthy weight.

Of the 2,278,649 obese people 13,044 or 0.57% were hospitalised. This means they were 150% more likely require hospital treatment than the healthy weight group.

Let’s now compare the relative risk of being vaccinated with that of being obese. The obese get hospitalised at a rate 150% greater than those of a healthy weight while the best you can hope for from your fourth vaccine is a 50% reduction in the likelihood of being admitted to hospital, dropping to 20% after about four months. And that’s another key point, keep the weight off and that risk reduction remains in contrast to any benefit from vaccination that soon wanes to nothing (assuming it ever existed in the first place).

But of course, it’s not just Covid where the overweight and obese have worse outcomes. The Lancet study goes on to list some of the other health outcomes for other conditions. The obese are almost six times more likely to have type 2 diabetes, more than twice as likely to suffer cardiovascular disease and over three times more likely to suffer hypertension.

Lose weight and many of these rates of disease would fall. The burden on the NHS would be reduced, the people losing weight, in most cases, would feel better and no doubt their mental health would, in the round, be improved.

I was interested in a piece by Michael P. Senger in the Daily Sceptic on October 14th 2022 highlighting the demonisation of the unvaccinated. I really don’t recall anyone in the mainstream media or in Government objecting to this vilification at the time yet it was evident from the Week 35 2021 Vaccine Surveillance Report that in each of the age groups from 40 to 80 the double dosed were testing positive for the virus at a higher rate than the unvaccinated (see an article I wrote back in June that goes into some detail on this point), so it was evident that the unvaccinated represented less of a threat than the vaccinated. Likewise, it’s been known since the Covid outbreak on the Diamond Princess back in February 2020 that obesity was a risk factor. However, can you imagine the furore that would result if people were to suggest that the obese were denied hospital treatment?

It’s not the unvaccinated who are clogging up the NHS, it’s disproportionately the obese and overweight – some of whom have been particularly vocal in vilifying the unvaccinated or in failing to promote healthier lifestyles:

  • Andrew Neil (estimated BMI 32) argued for restrictions on the freedoms of the unvaccinated.
  • Piers Morgan (estimated BMI 29) argued for the unvaccinated to be denied NHS care if they caught Covid.
  • Boris Johnson (estimated BMI 34) attempted to bring in vaccine passports.
  • Michael Gove (estimated BMI 28) was a keen advocate of vaccine passports.
  • Therese Coffey (estimated BMI 30), the new Health Minister appears to be far keener on promoting vaccines rather than healthy lifestyles.

The Government spent about £12bn vaccinating the under 50s, largely a pointless exercise. As an advocate of lower taxes and a smaller state I don’t argue that this money should have been spent on schemes to subsidise healthier living. Such schemes invariably fail. What’s more, I would object just as fiercely to coercing people to lose weight as I do to coercing people to get vaccinated. However, I would like to see them campaign to raise people’s awareness of the risks associated with a high BMI. In rough terms, there appears to be about a 10% Covid hospitalisation risk reduction for each BMI point reduction and associated risk reductions for various cancers, diabetes, heart conditions, muscular/skeletal problems and mental health.

Body positivity is all well and good but being overweight is neither risk or cost free. If Andrew Neil, Piers Morgan, Boris Johnson et al. want target a group to be censorious of perhaps they should follow Jordan Peterson’s advice and go tidy their own room first.

October 17, 2022 - Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: