COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy: Clearing Up Confusion

COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy: Clearing Up Confusion

ES: Efficacy is determined in clinical trials, which divide participants into two groups: those getting the shot, and those who do not get the shot but instead get a placebo (inactive substance). None of the participants know which group they are in. At the end of the trial, researchers tally how many people in the

ES: Efficacy is determined in clinical trials, which divide participants into two groups: those getting the shot, and those who do not get the shot but instead get a placebo (inactive substance). None of the participants know which group they are in.

At the end of the trial, researchers tally how many people in the vaccinated group got sick compared to how many people in the unvaccinated group did. That’s what’s known as vaccine efficacy.

Let’s look at a hypothetical example. Let’s say 2,000 people take part in a vaccine trial. Of these, 1,000 get the vaccine and 1,000 get the placebo. Now let’s say that by the end of the trial, a total of 500 people get sick: 475 from the placebo group and 25 from the vaccinated group. Expressed as a percentage, 47.5% of unvaccinated people got sick, versus just 2.5% of vaccinated people.

From there, we figure out efficacy with an easy formula: the risk in the unvaccinated group, minus the risk among the vaccinated, divided by the risk among unvaccinated.

47.5 – 2.5 / 47.5  = 0.95

Our hypothetical vaccine’s efficacy is 95%.

Source: https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/clearing-up-covid-19-vaccine-efficacy-confusion.html

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