If you think 95% effective means you’re 5% likely to get COVID after the vaccine, then I have good news for you. You’re mistaken.
You’ve likely heard that the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines are 95% effective. And that’s what the published research tells us. But If you think 95% effective means you’re 5% likely to get COVID after the vaccine, then I have good news for you.
It’s understandable why you would think this. The media reports of 95% effectiveness are put out there without much explanation, and it makes sense if your interpretation is this means you are 5% likely to get COVID after the vaccine. But the actual likelihood is lower.
Much, much lower.
What does 95% effective mean to you?
If you’re considering getting the COVID vaccine – or already got it – you want to know how effective it is. And having only a 5% chance of getting a virus that has already taken over 2,500,000 lives and counting might sound good to you.
But what if you knew the actual percentage was 0.037%?
When the research says these vaccines are 95% effective, it means the chances of getting COVID are 95% less in those who were vaccinated than those who were not.
However, more relevant to you is the likelihood of getting COVID after vaccination. In the Pfizer vaccine study, eight people got symptomatic COVID 7 days after the 2nd dose out of 21,728 people.
That’s a 0.037% chance of getting COVID after the vaccine.
And here’s an even more compelling reason to get the vaccine.
While preventing COVID is important, what we really want to avoid is becoming severely ill from COVID.
To date, there have been no reported deaths after the vaccines take full effect about 6 or 7 weeks after the last dose.
In my opinion, there are three reasons to get the vaccine if your doctor recommends it.
- The vaccine lowers your risk of getting symptomatic COVID to .037%
- The vaccine lowers your risk of dying if you get COVID from about 1 in 50 to zero.
- The more people who get vaccinated, the faster we can get back to normal, open businesses, and get people back to work.
My recommendation is to talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your risks of getting the COVID vaccine.