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So You’re Not Vaccinated. Are You Really Preventing Herd Immunity? The Devil is in the Details


With a twisted face and pursed lips, I read an article in The Atlantic in which the author claimed that “vaccine deniers” are preventing herd immunity.

Where do I start? No one denies that vaccines exist. We can only presume she means “vaccine efficacy deniers”, but there’s the rub.

The by-line is a stunner, too. “We may never reach the point when viral spread stops, but a strategy of minimizing risk—not eliminating it—can help Americans reclaim normalcy.”

Never? With 95% efficacy, never?

The devil is in the details.

Interspersed among the paragraphs, there’s a link to another article “The Vaccinated Are Going to Hug Each Other”.

Well, let’s wait to see what Fauci says about that. Because Fauci reassured us that we’d be able to go back to normal, well, something similar to normal, once enough people in the United States have been vaccinated.

Why vaccinated? Why not “are immune to the virus due to vaccination or infection?”

The devil is in the details.

The Atlantic article claims that 200 million doses have been administered.

Is that 200 million doses, or 200 million fully vaccinated?

The devil is in the details.

The number of people not returning for their second shot has risen, the article says. But WHY?

The devil is in the details.

The article claims “a stubborn” 13% of Americans will never get the shot. But the article to which is links also reports that 32% of the public overall believe (correctly) that the media has exaggerated the seriousness of coronavirus, and that 50% of the public are not concerned about themselves or a family member getting sick from COVID-19 (the risk of serious illness is far, far, far, below 50%). The cited article points to the fact that 54% of Americans do not think getting vaccinated is for the greater good, but instead is to protect themselves.

Even in this, the devil is in the details.

When Moderna announced that their vaccine had a 95.4% efficacy, a national vaccination program was launched that was predicated on that performance. I pointed out that the efficacy was more like 75%, because Moderna dropped individuals from their trial who developed COVID19 after the first dose. (Read: Discrepancies in Moderna’s FDA Report Demand Answers)

That would be like excluding people from chemotherapy trials in cancer studies who died between successive doses; it would not be tolerated in that realm of biomedical research, and it should not be tolerated in vaccinations studies.

As a result of these misleading results on COVID19 vaccine efficacy, the entire world (now, except the UK, apparently), holds it breath waiting for herd immunity, the goal stated by the article is to convince the remaining % who are between the early adopters (who willfully vaccinated), the vaccine hesitant (those who still might), and those who will never vaccinate.

What percentage is that?

CDC reports that 32M Americans have had COVID19. This study from Sweden in October of 2020 shows that people who have had COVID19 and who have recovered have strong T-cell immunity signatures – the memory kind – i.e., they have robust, long-term immunity.

The US Census bureau reports that the US population is 331M (adults and children). We know young children do not get COVID19, do not die from COVID19, and do not transmit SARS-CoV_2, so the individuals who might need to have immunity to contribute to herd immunity are largely the adults. There are 73M children under the age of 18, so we can subtract say, one-third of those (allowing that young adults might have some tiny risk) – so, we’ll subtract 50M.

According to math,

331M – 32M – 50M – 200M = 49M adults who might still become infected.

Also, according to math, 85% are immune to COVID19.

Remembering that thirteen percent of the population won’t ever vaccinate (that’s 43M).

So the article is pushing for vaccination of 6M more American adults (1.81%).

That’s the middle ground that the article wants everyone else to push toward vaccination.

Fauci originally claimed 60% vaccination coverage would be sufficient.

Then he changed it to 75 to 85%, partly based on a “gut feeling” (Related:Dr. Fauci Admits to Misleading the Public on Health Information)

If 85% of Americans are immune to COVID19, then why does the Atlantic article by-line read

“We may never reach the point when viral spread stops, but a strategy of minimizing risk—not eliminating it—can help Americans reclaim normalcy.” ??

The devil is in the details. Since we have no idea what’s in Fauci’s “guts”, let’s take a look at this from an analytic and logical perspective.

Vaccine Coverage if 100% Effective

SARS-CoV-2 has a basic reproduction number R0= 2.6; using this, we can calculate using the equation

Vaccine Coverage (to achieve herd immunity) = VC = 1-(1/R0) of 61.54%.

But the vaccines are not 100% effective.

We have equations that modify VC based on VE (vaccine efficacy). Here’s a graph that shows those relationships:

If the vaccine were actually >95% effective, something close to 60% might do it given the number of people who are immune due to natural infection.

But – since the vaccine is only 75% effective (or likely less, since the original estimates were derived from studies on a super-healthy cohort of patients with no co-morbidities, no autoimmunity, etc), herd immunity would appear to require at least 100% vaccine coverage (See Figure).

Remember, the reason why society moved toward a national vaccination program was they were told the vaccines might be 95% effective. The lies are piling up and they are catching up to those who misled the public.

Had the study properly estimated the vaccine efficacy at 75%, perhaps other conversations would have been had – such as push-back against Fauci’s incorrect interpretation of the Henry Ford study on hydroxychloroquine. Perhaps medical doctors would not have been so quick to dismiss the growing numbers of randomized clinical trials that show incredible early-use efficacy of Ivermectin (see

Perhaps the study showing that a nitrous oxide nasal spray knocks out the virus within 24 hr in 95% (even late-stage COVID19) people would have been given front-billing on all major media outlets (See: This nasal spray could kill the coronavirus before it infects you) and humanity could celebrate their release and absolute freedom from COVID19.

This analysis has revealed that the lack of being forthright about the vaccine efficacy led the US down the “vaccine-only” clinical path, guaranteeing a shown-down between those who will not vaccinate and those who want them to.

Keep in mind that many if not most of those who will not vaccinate have had bad personal experiences with vaccines (denied by the vaccine risk and injury denialists), the following message is offered:

To avoid societal upheaval and reduce human pain and suffering, both sides should make treatments their number one priority.

James Lyons-Weiler

Allison Park, PA

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One comment

  1. As an (overall) non-vaxxer, this sort of tunnel vision on vaccines has ALWAYS been one of my biggest issues with vaccination. The medical industry acts like vaccines are the be-all, end-all of everything, to the point that we completely IGNORE every other possible approach to strengthening immunity or treating illness to minimize adverse outcomes. That’s not healthy or scientific, and it overlooks the very basic fact that the same degree of risk makes a lot more sense if you’re ALREADY sick than if you’re completely healthy and engaging in a medical intervention “just in case.”

    Everyone readily grasps that doing hysterectomies on every woman to prevent uterine cancer is a radically different concept from doing a hysterectomy on a woman who currently HAS uterine cancer. And yet we can’t seem to grasp that there’s a very similar kind of difference between injecting yourself with a foreign substance to prevent an illness you theoretically might get in the future, and injecting yourself with a foreign substance to treat an illness you already have.

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