November 12, 2020

Would You Rather?

  • ChrissyLeigh
  • 30

Be one of the first to test a vaccine with an efficacy rate of 90% or take the risk?

As ‘rona cases are spiking across the US once again, many people are wondering what’s in store? In a roller-coaster of a year where nothing seems to go right 🥴, how trusting are you to take the risk?

Before we get into that, Team Group Chat is going to lead you through a breakdown of what 90% efficacy means for vaccines, the Pfizer conspiracy and what another spike means. After that head over to Twitter and Instagram and let us know… would you rather take the vaccine or roll the dice?


What does 90% efficacy even mean?

This week started out with a BANG of positive energy. Not only was the election called and it felt like a weight had been lifted off the shoulders of America, but on Monday we found out American pharmaceutical company Pfizer released data that their coronavirus vaccine has an “efficacy rate above 90%” based on early and incomplete tests. Finally a breath of optimism!

As the information spread the message changed to “90% effective”, seems like no problem right? Wrong. The difference between an efficacy rate over 90% and 90% effective is an important one, and we’re here to help you sort it out.

The put it simply, a vaccine’s efficacy is the performance of the vaccine under controlled and ideal circumstances, such as a controlled lab study. A vaccine’s effectiveness is its ability to perform in the real-world, outside of a lab.When testing the efficacy of a vaccine, typically it is administered to a healthy group of individuals, not the at-risk communities we hope to administer the vaccine to eventually. In these studies, the actual vaccine and a placebo vaccine are administered to two separate groups with neither the participant or the scientist knowing which was given. As the study is completed, the results show which was given to the patient and from there results are devised. Another important factor here is, as of Tuesday, the study was about 57% completed there is still more to sort through and it is highly-likely the efficacy rating will lower.

However, with COVID-19 vaccines being approved at 50% efficacy it’s likely the Pfizer vaccine will make the cut. Fingers crossed! 🤞🏻


*Queue the Conspiracy Theories*

Did Pfizer chairman and CEO, Albert Bourla, know about the vaccine earlier than he’s leading on? Some are suggesting so.

I’m not super well-versed in stocks or the legal chatter behind SEC regulations, I’ll leave it to The GuysTM to discuss on tomorrow’s podcast. However, I’m a sucker for conspiracy theories and seeing how far the public takes them.

NPR reported that Bourla adjusted his stock-trading plan just one day before the company’s vaccine press release in August, boasting a timeline of late October. The plan set in place is known as a 10b5-1 plan which is essentially an autopilot sale of stock which is only meant to be in place if executives like Bourla are “not in possession of inside information which could affect a company’s stock price”. The fact Bourla set this into motion one day prior to the press release is especially fishy. We’re supposed to believe a CEO of a massive pharma company had NO idea the day before a big press release was set to announce their vaccine was almost ready to go? Yeah right.

So, scurrying through October and no vaccine. But the presidential election is right around the corner….

As we all know by known Trump is not taking his loss lightly. Don’t believe me? Check out his Twitter account, it’s filled with toddler-temper-tantrum-like rants, horrible grammar and an overabundance of CAPITAL LETTERS. On his list of complaints, Pfizer knowing about the vaccine’s efficacy and choosing to withhold the information until after the election has been called. He even went on to claim the success of Pfizer to be a result of ‘Operation Warp Speed’, a government-funded program aiming to administer 300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines. Quick fact check: Pfizer was not part of the project, nor did they receive any government funding.

Is this true? Did the CEO of Pfizer specifically withhold information from the public in hopes to not sway the election? Did he set into motion a stock-trade plan that would make him millions due to insider information? In my opinion, yes. To both. Listen, I may be pessimistic in my outlook on big corporations right now, and the above claims, if true, could get a lot of people in some massive trouble. But if you had the ability to slightly sway an election that was THIS close by holding off for a few days… would you?


What does another surge in cases mean?

The Washington post on Oct. 23 reported that the US had hit its highly daily number of cases since the start of the pandemic, with 38 states seeing an increase in hospitalization. Soon after, a series of major media outlets have done the same and continue to monitor the rise. But what does this actual mean for the US? Are more people at risk? What can we do to prevent another lockdown, or is lockdown inevitable?

While any death due to coronavirus is devastating, and in no way should be minimized. I hope it provides some solace that, at this moment, the death rate is not increasing at the same rate as cases. It’s important to remember though, death rate is a lagging indicator so this should certainly be something to consider over the next few weeks and/or months. This may, however, continue to be the trend as more tests are being administered. Some may argue “more testing = more cases”, while that may seem like it’s the case, more testing simply means more accurate data. More accurate data leads to better insights into how the virus is progressing through our population and how it actually affects the health of individuals.


So what now?

We should probably all still wear masks. Maybe even spread the love by suggesting to your friends, family and virtual co-workers that they should also always wear a mask. If we can get masks and social distancing down, we may be able to avoid another full lockdown. As we start to see curfews pop up in cities like New York and Miami, my only hope is that we all come together to do our part and follow the rules. It may be inevitable as parts of Europe have undergone full lockdowns, but one can hope.

-Chrissy Leigh



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