UK risk of COVID death v. vaccine death August 2021

OK, I just have to increase the circulation of this graphic from the excellent statistician John Dee. It shows the risk of actually dying from COVID today in Britain, compared with the risk of dying from the vaccine. Brief explanation below the fold, but it’s very basic number crunching of official data and references are given.

The blocks represent the infection fatality rate for each age group, based on accepted research, combined with the current official estimate of COVID prevalence of 0.1% to give an actual risk for each age group at this point in time (across the nation as a whole). This is probably quite robust information.

The red line is based on the European adverse reaction reporting system, equivalent to our “yellow card” and the US VAERS, and the reported deaths soon after vaccination under that system, converted to a percentage of total vaccinations. Confounding factors are that these are suspected associations rather than confirmed causes, which is always the case with such reporting systems, but on the other hand that it is accepted that these doctor or public reported systems under-report adverse effects by 10 or 100-fold – which is also always the case. One should also note that the information is for the European Union rather than UK, but that is unlikely to affect the rates much.

You’ll see that for all age groups the risk from COVID is astonishingly low – 1:12,000 for the over 80s, and in my age-group around 1 in 100,000, or a little higher as I’m on the upper age limit.

On the other hand, the only age group in which benefit from vaccination (just) outweighs mortality-risk from vaccination is that oldest and most vulnerable group – and if deaths are under-reported even by a tiny factor, even they stand to lose.

Needless to say, in children the risk from COVID is effectively zero, and if the deaths from vaccination are the same across age-groups (the studies have not been done, despite rolling out vaccination to younger and younger groups daily) then their relative risk of dying from the vaccine is a very large number indeed. The risk of serious, non-fatal, side effects is far greater than that, of course, as deaths are probably relatively rare.

However, note that if vaccine deaths have been seriously under-reported, as familiarity with these reporting systems would indicate, then that gloomy calculus would apply to all age groups.

Meanwhile, apparently the polls show that 75% of people favour the vaccination of small children. It’s easy to believe those who say that most people are both scientifically illiterate and lazy, even when it comes to their own kids. Charitably, they just haven’t been given this information.

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About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
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2 Responses to UK risk of COVID death v. vaccine death August 2021

  1. Elizabeth B. says:


    Just the information I have been wanting to see. I have dug into the VAERS system and have about figured out how to use it. Even so, it is near impossible to find out if/which of those reported deaths to VAERS are verifiably caused by the vaccine. Are these statistics all deaths of everyone who ever had a covid vaccine, no matter the cause? With so much wordiness on the CDC site to explain the data, there seems to be little substance. The CDC seems to indicate that this information is unknown, but tucked away somewhere there might be an answer that has been overlooked. And, if not known to be caused by the vaccine, how does the death rate of vaccinated compare with the average U.S. death rate per million?

    But the yellowcard system you all have seems much better and understandable.

    The situation is made worse by the fact that both pro and anti vaccination experts seem to leave out relevant information. I have listened to some Dr. Peter McCullough podcasts, and he does seem to provide some good information. He quotes a lot of stories and stats from Israeli and UK sources. But I was dismayed that he never puts the deaths (he claimed over 9,000 in one of his latter July podcasts) into a context that can make any sense for me. Maybe he has on some other show or in some of his writings somewhere. Dr. McCullough indicates that those 9,000 + deaths are “caused by the vaccines.” Yes, I should provide a link to this statement. I just know I heard this in one of his podcast “The Mccullough Report.” Don’t know the date, but it was recent.

    Not that I trust the CDC, I don’t. But here is there claim:

    “More than 346 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through August 2, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 6,490 reports of death (0.0019%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause.”

    I wish they would clarify what they mean by “any death.” Anything? Car accident, etc?

    Anyway, I have a life to live and things to do. Trying to sort out all this is causing me to get behind on lots of things. Thanks for this article and I will spend some more time looking at it later today.

    • Avatar photo Jon Garvey says:

      One of the commenters on John Dee’s page commented on the lack of clarity in the CDC graphics compared to his, so you’re not alone.

      I think that on any of these voluntary self-reporting systems there would be few obviously fatuous connections, such as road deaths. Obviously there will be cases where a person happens to die from some totally unconnected condition like a strangulated wart or undiagnosed toadstool poisoning immediately after vaccination, and they might well be reported firstly because, humanly, the doctor might be unduly suspicious, but more likely because he knows that if half a dozen deaths from strangulated warts turn up, a previously unknown connection will be found.

      In other words, meaningless coincidences under the VAERS of Yellow Card or European system will not form a pattern and will be rightly ignored, whereas the same condition leading to death will begin to become clear – as narcolepsy did with Pandemrix vaccine in swine flu. Even so, it is obviously rare for someone fit enough to be vaccinated to die suddenly within a few days.

      The real lesson is that the reports should be taken seriously early on when they add up like this, simply because it takes so long for the evidence to become clear, and backed up with specific studies. “Vaccines are safe” will not do.

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