Following the Science

The Evaporating Effectiveness of Covid-19 Vaccines as Shown by the Newest Ontario Government Data

Jim Mason
April 23, 2022
As Covid-19 spreads unchecked and becomes seemingly as common as colds and flus, it’s ever-harder to maintain confidence in the mRNA vaccines developed in 2020 to combat the virus’s original strain. Yet the prevailing view still seems to be, Where’s the harm? Might as well be extra-safe and get that booster (or even second booster). But what if an objective statistical analysis of official government data showed not only that the currently available vaccines do nothing to prevent infection by Omicron and its subvariants, but actually make people more susceptible? Following on his groundbreaking analysis of Ontario infection case data in February, Jim Mason returns to the task with this evaluation of the province’s most up-to-date data. Hint: the vaccines aren’t getting any better.
Following the Science

The Evaporating Effectiveness of Covid-19 Vaccines as Shown by the Newest Ontario Government Data

Jim Mason
April 23, 2022
As Covid-19 spreads unchecked and becomes seemingly as common as colds and flus, it’s ever-harder to maintain confidence in the mRNA vaccines developed in 2020 to combat the virus’s original strain. Yet the prevailing view still seems to be, Where’s the harm? Might as well be extra-safe and get that booster (or even second booster). But what if an objective statistical analysis of official government data showed not only that the currently available vaccines do nothing to prevent infection by Omicron and its subvariants, but actually make people more susceptible? Following on his groundbreaking analysis of Ontario infection case data in February, Jim Mason returns to the task with this evaluation of the province’s most up-to-date data. Hint: the vaccines aren’t getting any better.
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C2C Journal recently reported the results of its independent research analysis of epidemiological data posted on the Government of Ontario’s Covid-19 web pages spanning late October 2021 to late January 2022. The analysis showed that, beginning about mid-December as the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus replaced Delta as the dominant strain, fully vaccinated people were becoming infected not only in greater numbers but at a greater rate (cases per 100,000) than unvaccinated people.

These results indicated that the effectiveness of currently available vaccines for Covid-19 was collapsing. Indeed, C2C’s evaluation of the official government data for Canada’s largest province suggested that the effectiveness had actually become negative – that is, fully vaccinated people were more likely to become infected than unvaccinated people. As noted, these results were consistent with the conclusions in a scientific paper by 12 Ontario (plus one U.S.) public health/university scientists published on MedRxiv on December 30, 2021.

While Canadian provinces are lifting or soon will lift Covid-19 vaccine mandates – following both the science and public opinion – the Liberal federal government continues to demand vaccination for cross-border truckers, federal employees and air travellers. (Source of both photos: The Canadian Press /Lars Hagberg)

A subsequent C2C article looked at data from international sources and found the same phenomenon. This article referenced a British study published last September that found vaccine effectiveness already decreasing with Delta from that achieved against the ancestral strain that was used to develop the vaccines. It also quoted a Wall Street Journal article co-authored by a Nobel Laureate in Medicine referencing a Danish study published last December which “found that after 30 days the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines no longer had any statistically significant positive effect against Omicron infections, and after 90 days, their effect went negative – i.e., vaccinated people were more susceptible to Omicron infection.” (Emphasis added.)

Given the ample evidence available by January 2022 pointing to the futility and even counterproductivity of vaccine mandates, it makes sense that all provinces have since taken steps to reduce, phase out or even eliminate them. One wonders, however, why the Government of Canada continues to defend and maintain various vaccine mandates – such as for air travel and employment in the federal government and its agencies. Are there new data that contradict the previous Ontario data or that, perhaps, show a rebound in the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines?

C2C Journal’s just-completed independent research evaluation of the most recently available Ontario data – plus publicly available data from a large pool of Covid-19 tests conducted in the United States – suggests that the answer is “no.”

Evidence Update: Ontario

Sometime after the above-referenced C2C articles were published, the Government of Ontario stopped posting data in the form used for the previous analysis, preventing direct comparison between that period and the most recent three months. After a brief interlude, however, the province resumed publishing similar but somewhat differently organized data that facilitate some comparisons.

The number of new daily cases is no longer published. The infection rate (new cases per 100,000) continues to be published, although the categories have been changed from “fully vaccinated,” “partially vaccinated” and “unvaccinated” to “fully-vaccinated-with-booster-dose (one or more)” (FV+B), “fully-vaccinated” (FV) and “not-fully-vaccinated” (NFV). In the new approach, the first two categories partition the previous “fully vaccinated” category. The “not-fully-vaccinated” category, however, amalgamates the previous “partially vaccinated” and “unvaccinated” categories.

What do these new data show?

Figure 1 charts the infection rate (cases per 100,000 people with the same vaccination status, using a trailing 7-day average) in each of the new reporting categories, for all ages combined, from the new dataset’s opening date of March 17 to April 16, 2022, the most recent data available at time of writing. The salient features are:

  1. The lowest infection rate is in the Not Fully Vaccinated group;
  2. The highest infection rate is in the Fully Vaccinated Plus Booster group; and
  3. The infection rate for all groups is increasing, with the highest rate of increase in the FV+B group.
Figure 1. Infection rates (cases per 100,000) for the categories Not Fully Vaccinated (NFV), Fully Vaccinated (FV) and Fully Vaccinated+Booster (one or more) (FV+B) for all age groups combined, from March 17 to April 16, 2022, using data reported on the Government of Ontario’s COVID web pages. The data suggest that susceptibility to infection by current variants of Covid-19 is directly proportional to the number of doses received. (Chart by Jim Mason.)

Figure 2 uses the same data but charts them with the data for each group divided by each day’s value for the NFV group. The NFV group thus always plots as 1 and the other two groups plot as a multiple (or fraction) of that. The salient features are:

  1. The infection rate of the FV group (which is higher than for the NFV) is decreasing relative to the NFV so that the two are gradually converging; and
  2. The infection rate of the FV+B group is increasing relative to the NFV group so that the gap is widening.
Figure 2. Infection rate or infection susceptibility (cases per 100,000) expressed as a ratio to the infection rate of the Not Fully Vaccinated (NFV) in Ontario. Susceptibility of the Fully Vaccinated (FV) decreases with time towards that of the NFV but the susceptibility of the Fully Vaccinated+Booster (NFV+B) increases with time, becoming larger relative to that of the NFV. (Chart by Jim Mason.)

What could account for point i? Possibly the FV (people who have received two doses but no booster) are gradually becoming, in effect, “not fully vaccinated” and are experiencing a corresponding decreasing risk of infection. Such a trend would seem paradoxical if not impossible when dealing with a disease for which the associated vaccines “work.” But it fits a scenario wherein the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines initially have negative effectiveness, making newly vaccinated people more susceptible to Omicron infection (as referenced above), but the negative effect dissipates over time and the immune system returns to its initial condition.

The best-fit curve for this behaviour is an exponential decay. This phenomenon is quite common in science, being characteristic of radioactive decay, decay of the Earth’s magnetic field, and voltage/current decay in electronics. If this assessment is accurate, the FV and NFV groups should coalesce about 43 days after April 16. The lack of detailed data on the time since vaccination, however, precludes detailed analysis. 

Regarding point ii, the best fit curve for the FV+B group is an increasing straight line, which after 43 days would result in the FV+B group having an infection rate twice that of the NFV group.

These data appear to indicate that the current designs of vaccines and boosters actually degrade the human immune system’s ability to respond to the virus’s more recent variants. Taking the infection rate of the NFV (or unvaccinated) group as the reference baseline, becoming fully vaccinated appears to increase the risk of infection initially by some 40 percent, while getting additional boosters appears to increase this risk even more. As the vaccines’ effectiveness “wanes,” the risk of infection in the fully vaccinated but unboosted group appears to gradually recede to that of the NFV group.

The Government of Ontario’s newly disaggregated Covid-19 infection rate data clearly suggest increasingly negative vaccine effectiveness for those who are vaccinated plus boosted. Yet the province is rolling out fourth vaccine doses. (Sources of photos: (top) the Toronto Star, (bottom) blogTO)

For the boosted group, however, as time progresses the risk of infection seems to be constantly increasing. Could it be that the booster has effected some change to the body’s immune system that prevents it from responding as effectively as the immune systems of either FV or NFV people? Perhaps, as some scientists have proposed, current strains have a survival advantage in an immune system environment in which the host was fully vaccinated and boosted, over one who received two, one or no vaccine doses and whose immune system is less influenced or is uninfluenced by vaccines. Considering these questions is made more complicated by the fact that the vaccination environment is dynamic, i.e., additional Ontarians continue to receive boosters daily, while others received their booster over four months ago.

Detailed Data by Age Group

In the previous C2C Journal article it was not possible to analyze the data by age group because the Government of Ontario stopped publishing such data on October 24, 2021. The current data are again partitioned by age demographic and analysis leads to some interesting and even concerning conclusions.

Figure 3 charts the infection rates for each reported age group. Most markedly, the key relationships in infection rates among the three vaccination-status groups (NFV, FV, and FV+B) also appear within each age group except 0-4 years, which has only NFV members, and 60+ years. (Please pay close attention to the scales on the vertical axes as they vary significantly from chart to chart. The range varies from 0-400 for the 5-11-year age group to 0-18 for the 0-4-year and 12-17-year age groups.)

Figure 3. Infection rates (cases per 100,000) for the various age groups in Ontario. The shapes and relationships are similar across most age groups (the exceptions being 0-4 and 60+). Note the different scales on the vertical axis. (Charts by Jim Mason.)

Salient features of the age-group-specific data are:

  1. The NFV infection rate is essentially the same across all age demographics except 60+, for whom it is substantially higher. This is more clearly seen in Figure 4, which charts the NFV infection rate for each age group as reported for April 16, 2022. Note that the large value of the 60+ group’s rate does not significantly increase the value for all ages combined, indicating that the number of infected people in this vaccination status category and age group is small relative to the total number of infected people;
  2. 5-11-years: There is a dramatic increase in the infection rate for the FV+B group starting on April 10, 2022. This ought to be of great concern. Although the dataset is small, it could indicate serious harm being done to the affected children’s immune systems by the booster shots. At minimum, further investigation is warranted, if not a suspension of booster shots for young people (in keeping with practise in some European countries, which have elected not to vaccinate children at all);
  3. 12-17-years: While the infection rate for the NFV group has historically been lower than for either of the other groups, currently the infection rate for the FV group is essentially the same and that of the FV+B group is only 30 percent higher. The immune systems of this age group would appear to be sufficiently robust that the vaccines have minimal impact, either positive or negative;
  4. 18-39-years: The infection rate of the FV group is about 20 percent higher than that of the NFV group during the analyzed time frame, but is slowly converging. Far more dramatically, the infection rate of the FV+B group was about 3 times that of the NFV group on March17 and since then has been trending upward to about 2.5 times the NFV infection rate at the study period’s end date. For this age group, becoming vaccinated seems to increase the susceptibility to Covid-19 infection and adding boosters seems to make this even worse;
  5. 40-59-years: The infection rate of the FV group is consistently about 50 percent higher than that of the NFV group. The FV+B group’s rate was about 2.0 times that of the NFV group on March 17 and since then has risen to about 2.6 times the NFV infection rate. For this age group these two trends are even sharper than for the 18-39-year-olds. This suggests that the vaccines and boosters could be having a more deleterious effect on the older group’s immune systems, for as-yet unknown reasons; and
  6. 60+-years: Contrary to all the other age groups, the infection rate of the NFV group is substantially higher than for either of the other two groups. Whereas initially the infection rate of the FV+B group was almost 25 percent below that of the FV (but not boosted) group, that relationship changed on about April 1 and the infection rate for the FV+B group grew to some 30 percent higher than that of the FV (but not boosted) group by the study’s end date. While becoming vaccinated for this group seems to provide measurable protection against infection, getting boosted does not appear to provide additional protection, but seems to be eroding it.

Figure 4. Infection rate (cases per 100,000) by age group for the Not-Fully-Vaccinated (NFV) as reported in Ontario for April 16, 2022. (Chart by Jim Mason.)

With the exception of results for the (numerically small) 60+ age group, these recent Government of Ontario data on Covid-19 infection rates, disaggregated by age group, do not indicate any change in direction from the results and trends presented in C2Cs previous analysis. Instead, they reinforce the main conclusions drawn in the previous article. The Covid-19 vaccines may well have been effective at reducing rates of transmission/infection for the original virus and variants through approximately mid-2021. But their effectiveness waned against the Delta variant and was erased if not reversed into “negative effectiveness” in the face of the Omicron variant.

As before, C2C does not dispute the prevailing belief that the mRNA vaccines have reduced the risks of mortality or serious morbidity from Covid-19, particularly for older ages. Our focus has been on whether vaccines limit transmission and, in turn, on whether vaccine mandates have any utility.

What about internationally? Are new or recent data available that contradict or reinforce this analysis of the most recent official Ontario data?

Evidence Update: United States

Walgreens is a large U.S. drug store chain that performs Covid-19 testing on a massive scale. Walgreens publishes weekly positivity results on its website (scroll to page 3 of 5). The results for the week ending April 15, 2022 (during which over 65,800 tests were conducted) are presented in Figure 5.

Figure 5. Positivity results of Covid-19 testing reported by the Walgreens pharmacy chain in the United States for the week ending April 15, 2022 (approximately 65,000 tests). Note the age-group indicator on the right-hand side of each panel. Similarly to Ontario, the positivity rate (susceptibility to infection) increases with the number of vaccine doses for most age groups (see also Figure 6). Note also that the infection rate for the unvaccinated group (not separately reported in Ontario data) is always the lowest. (Source of charts: Walgreens website)

While these data have slightly different age groupings and vaccination categories, the results are generally in agreement with those derived from the Ontario data. In all age groups, the lowest positivity (infection) rate occurs in the unvaccinated. All other categories are higher, with the three-doses-longer-than-five-months-ago being the highest.

Figure 6. Upper chart: Walgreens’ reported infection rates (positivity) aggregated into the vaccination status groups used in Ontario. Lower chart: Ontario’s infection rate (cases per 100,000). Relative relationships of NFV, FV, and FV+B within comparable age groups are similar, except for the oldest age group. (See text for discussion.) (Charts by Jim Mason)

If the Walgreens data are combined into the vaccination categories that correspond to the Ontario data, the result is as shown in Figure 6a. Comparing this to the Ontario results in Figure 6b (with the infection rate for the 5-11-year group set to zero since Walgreens has no corresponding data), we can see that the relationships between NFV, FV and FV+B are the same in both datasets with the sole exception of the oldest age group. In this group, the Walgreens data show the same relationship to vaccination status as for the other age groups, whereas the Ontario data show the NFV category as having the highest infection rate, as discussed above.

Still No Support for Mandates

Current data from Ontario and the U.S. confirm the analyses previously published in C2C, namely that the vaccines with or without booster shots do not provide meaningful protection against infection by the current variants and, thus, do not prevent transmission. In fact, the current data suggest that susceptibility to infection increases with the number of shots.

The latest data also show this effect consistently across all age groups with the possible exception of 60+ years of age. For this group the Ontario data indicate a decided reduction in susceptibility when fully vaccinated but increased susceptibility following boosters. The U.S. Walgreens data show the same increasing susceptibility with number of shots for the 65+ age group as with other age groups.

The cause of this difference is not immediately obvious. It may be an artefact of the Ontario age group’s small size – ~98,700 out of a total of 3,581,314 for that age group, so that even a few cases result in a high rate. For example, the rate of 66.48 per 100,000 equates to just 66 cases whereas the rate of 23.42 for the FV+B segment equates to 694 cases. Alternately, it may be because the older people being tested at Walgreens are, in general, healthier with fewer underlying health issues than the older people being tested in Ontario. Still, the overall positivity rate of the Walgreen sample in the oldest age group is 12.8 percent versus 8.5 percent in the Ontario group, which suggests the opposite.

Notwithstanding this anomaly, the effect of susceptibility increasing with the number of doses is especially strong in the 18-39 and 40-59-year-old groups. Coincidentally, the majority of working truck drivers are of these ages. The Government of Canada’s (and Prime Minister’s) primary justification for mandatory vaccination has been and continues to be that this is required in order to prevent infection and stop the spread of the virus.

Instead, the federal vaccine mandate for cross-border truck drivers, ordered personally on January 15 of this year by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is highly likely to have had a perverse effect: increasing the likelihood that truckers who then were reluctantly vaccinated will become infected during their travels and bring larger numbers of infections into Canada than had they remained unvaccinated! A similar effect goes for individuals who became vaccinated in order to be allowed to travel internationally. And vaccine mandates for workers in government, public institutions like universities and private companies all are highly likely to have had the effect of increasing the number of Covid-19 cases in Canada over the past number of months.

The latest Ontario data suggest that every dose of Covid-19 vaccine increases the risk of infection for people aged 18 to 60 – the group most likely to include truck drivers. This made the federal vaccine mandate not merely useless but counterproductive – and utterly unfair. (Source of photo: Shutterstock)

Who Knew What, When, What Did They Do, and Why?

Like Ottawa, Canada’s provincial governments all imposed various vaccine mandates of their own – whether for patrons to enter restaurants, for family members to visit nursing homes or for individuals to hold jobs in government, hospitals or certain industries. But while the provinces one-by-one began to lift vaccine mandates soon after the Freedom Convoy headed for Ottawa in February, and as it became ever-harder to deny that the Omicron variant was breaking through the vaccines en masse, the federal government doubled-down – and still shows little sign of relenting.

This behaviour begs several questions. If the situation warrants lifting various restrictions and vaccine mandates in provinces all across Canada, why should they remain at the federal level? If we are making evidence-based decisions and “following the science,” as is ceaselessly claimed, why the difference in policy, direction and even rhetoric between the jurisdictions? Is the evidence different at the federal than the provincial level? Is science different in Ottawa than in the provincial capitals?

Since much of the information regarding the ineffectiveness of the vaccines was in the public domain before the January 15 imposition of the truckers’ vaccine mandate and even more has become available since, the following questions arise:

  1. Did officials in Health Canada or the Public Health Agency of Canada not have this information by January 15? If that is the case, it suggests federal public health officials are incompetent, since it is part of their job to stay current with relevant epidemiological data.
  2. Did federal officials have this information but, for some reason, decline to brief the Minister of Health? If so, this suggests a serious deficiency in decision-making in the federal public health bureaucracy’s senior ranks.
  3. Who knew what, when, why and how? Given that the evaporating effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccines was becoming evident by January, did federal health officials not brief Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos (shown) and, in turn, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on this data? Were they kept in the dark, or did they just not care? (Source of photo: The Canadian Press/ Adrian Wyld)
    Did federal health officials brief the Minister of Health but the Minister of Health not brief the PMO? If so, this suggests the Minster of Health is incompetent and should be fired.
  4. Did the Minister of Health brief the PMO but the PMO did not brief Trudeau? If so, this suggests that at least some elements of the PMO behaved nefariously and should be identified and removed.
  5. Did the PMO brief Trudeau but Trudeau imposed the mandate anyway? If so, this raises genuinely disturbing implications.
  6. Why do the federal (and some provincial) mandates persist in spite of the ever-growing amount of data that has become publicly available since January 15? This question encompasses all the preceding cases but with four months of consistent – indeed, worsening – data available rather than just one, and thus carries the same implications only with greater urgency.

None of these cases is particularly reassuring with respect to the “good government” requirement of Canada’s Constitution.

All Vaccine Mandates Must End 

It is not too late to do the right thing, however.

Data clearly indicate that vaccine mandates still cannot be demonstrably justified as reasonable limitations of freedoms “guaranteed” by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (such demonstrable justification being required by the Charter itself for such limitations).

Accordingly, all such federal mandates need to be revoked immediately, as well as any remaining provincial mandates. In addition, it would be appropriate for the federal government and provincial governments to unambiguously indicate that any vaccine mandates persisting in private businesses and non-governmental public organizations (such as post-secondary education) are scientifically unwarranted, very likely counterproductive, unconstitutional and completely unfair to the individuals so targeted.

Jim Mason earned a BSc in engineering physics and a PhD in experimental nuclear physics. His doctoral research and much of his career involved extensive analysis of “noisy” data to extract useful information, which was then further analyzed to identify meaningful relationships indicative of underlying causes. He is currently retired and living near Lakefield, Ontario.

Source of main image: The Canadian Press/ Nathan Denette.

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