LETTER: Public Health’s COVID stats misleading

Hastings-Prince Edward Public Health distributed a media release on August 11 reporting on Covid-19 vaccination statistics, which was used in an article in last week’s Gazette (Less than on per cent of COVID cases in HPEPH have occurred in fully vaccinated persons, The Picton Gazette, Aug. 19).

This release provides an excellent demonstration of how statistics can be misused. The release states that “only 0.93 per cent [of cases] have occurred in individuals who are fully vaccinated”. It goes on to say that “this local data makes it incredibly clear that COVID-19 cases are occurring very rarely in individuals who are fully vaccinated”.

No, not clear at all, and not rare. The data used extends back almost a year and a half to March, 2020, way before vaccines were available. Almost everyone was unvaccinated during the next 12 months, so very few of the 1200+ cases could have occurred in fully vaccinated people. A better indication of the effectiveness of vaccines could have been provided by using data for the month of August, with the majority of people ages 12+ being fully vaccinated.

The data for August 1 to 23 show that 19 per cent of new Covid-19 cases have occurred in fully vaccinated people, 10 per cent partially vaccinated, and 70 per cent unvaccinated. So 19 per cent, not 0.93 per cent, and not incredibly rare. While the original statistic (0.93 per cent fully vaccinated) makes a great case for vaccination, it is highly misleading. The August statistics provide a much more realistic picture of how vaccinations are working.

Gary Mooney

Hillier Ward