Understanding AstraZeneca vaccine risks

By Dr Juergen Ude | August 11th 2021
There has been considerable ‘Angst’ expressed by the public over being forced to vaccinate, directly, or indirectly against Covid-19. Much of the anxiety is due to reports of blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccination.
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The information snippet is not about getting involved in the Anti-Vaxxers debates, nor to discourage vaccination, but simply to provide an insight into the risks that are involved so that informed decisions can be made by others.

In summary there is a risk of dying due to Covid-19 by not taking the vaccine and there is a risk of dying of a side effect. But what are the risks?

Health advisers will argue that the risk of dying from Covid-19 is much greater than dying from a side effect and hence encourage vaccination. Some experts argue that the current level of side effects, such as blood clotting, are at the normal level encountered before vaccinations started and that hence there is no evidence that vaccinations have caused the clotting. Others argue that the short time between vaccination and side effect manifesting itself is not coincidental.

Some will say that if only one vaccine brand results in blood clotting then the observation that the rate is consistant with normal blood clotting cases is irrelevant. All vaccines should have some blood clotting cases then. That does not seem to be the case. There hence is an issue that cannot be ignored with using no evidence as the argument. If only one vaccine has resulted in problems then that is evidence.

We put it that a factor that does not seem to be fully understood by experts, because they do not understand variation and see everything as homogenous, is that every human being is different. There may be some ‘body types’ that are prone to reacting to vaccination. Although that number may be very, very small and although the overall benefit for the masses from vaccination may greatly outweigh the risks, for those individuals whose body type has a high likelihood of reacting in a life-threatening manner forcing vaccination may be considered a death sentence if screening is not performed to identify at risk individuals.

It is very unlikely that sufficient testing over different body types was performed. If the percentage is low testing will have missed these problems, explaining why we now find issues.

The most important risk is the risk of dying with Covid-19. We will use Sweden which has had no lockdowns until late 2020 to determine the risk of dying with Covid-19 across the board. We will use registered deaths because reported deaths cannot be used to assess risk of dying because they are mostly dying with, not dying from.

In 2019 the risk of dying across the board was 8.4 per 1000 Swedes. In 2020 the risk of dying across the board was 9.2 per 1000, so at maximum, if we believe all deaths were registered and that the increase in deaths was due to covid 19 the risk of dying of covid across the board is an extra 0.8 people per 1000 in a year. Globally it is even less. This does not mean that 0.8 people per thousand will be saved if everyone vaccinated because vaccination is not perfect. Currently it is too early to determine exactly how effective it is, although there are some disturbing reports that some countries with extensive vaccinations have increasing cases.

If we consider risk by age, we have a different situation. According to registered deaths obtained from the risk of dying from Covid for those below 50 is practically zero. (The virus does not kill young and old alike as the propaganda has told us). According to most patients with CSVT were below 50. Across the board one can argue that vaccination will thus result in a higher risk of dying for those below 50 years, however due to the unreliability of data it is best not to draw firm conclusions.

In summary based on a country which did not lockdown to the extent other countries such as Australia had, vaccination and lockdowns etc will do little to lower the risk of dying across the board. Whether vaccination is forced directly or indirectly, considering there are risks and the extra risk of dying from Covid-19 is very small, is a conscience issue for governments.


Dr Juergen Ude has a certificate in applied chemistry, a degree in applied science majoring in statistics and operations research as top student, a masters in economics with high distinctions in every subject, and a PhD in computer modelling and algorithms. He has lectured at Monash University on subjects of data analysis, computer modelling, and quality & reliability.

Prior to founding his own company (Qtech International Pty Ltd), Dr Ude worked as a statistician and operations researcher for 18 years in management roles having saved employers millions of dollars through his AI and ML algorithms. Through Qtech International, Dr Ude has developed data analysis solutions in over 40 countries for leading corporations such as Alcoa, Black and Decker, Coca-Cola Amatil, US Vision and many more. Additionally he has developed campaign analysis software for politicians.

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