In May 2023, social media posts claimed that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines did not save any lives. The claim was based on a study by Benn et al. that compared the clinical trials of four widely distributed vaccines, including Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines. However, the claim is unsupported and misleading due to the limitations of the Benn et al. study.
First, Benn et al. used RCTs with a small number of deaths, making the results highly vulnerable to statistical flukes. The mRNA vaccine RCTs reported 61 deaths out of 74,193 participants, while the adenovirus vaccine trials reported 46 deaths out of 122,164 participants. This lack of statistical power means that the data on mortality in the mRNA clinical trials are inconclusive. Additionally, the initial clinical trials that led to vaccines’ authorizations primarily focused on preventing symptomatic COVID-19, not overall mortality.
Second, the Benn et al. study compared mortality in mRNA vaccine RCTs to mortality in adenovirus vaccine RCTs, which were conducted on different populations and employed different protocols. This comparison is problematic because each trial can be operated differently, and the populations in the mRNA and adenovirus RCTs had different baseline overall mortality rates. Furthermore, each RCT had its own protocol for assessing and ruling the cause of death, making it difficult to compare mortality rates between trials.
Lastly, the Benn et al. study did not control for the differences between the clinical trials, making reliable comparisons difficult. For example, the mRNA population was much smaller (<80,000) than the combined adenoviral vector vaccine trials (>120,000), leading to lower statistical power to identify a difference with mRNA vaccines. Additionally, the adenovirus vaccine trials were run mostly in low- and middle-income countries, while the mRNA vaccine trials were run mostly in high-income countries with better access to healthcare.
Overall, the claim that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines did not save any lives is unsupported by the evidence. Both mRNA and adenovirus COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing severe disease, and the clinical trials that led to their authorizations were designed to investigate the effect on symptomatic infection, not overall mortality. The Benn et al. study has several limitations, such as a lack of statistical power and differences between the clinical trials, that make its results inconclusive. Data on vaccinated populations show that COVID-19 vaccines did not increase mortality and may even reduce all-cause mortality.
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News Source : Health Feedback
Source Link :COVID-19 mRNA vaccines saved lives by reducing risks of infection and severe COVID-19/