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Why COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy Does NOT Matter!

Why COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy Does NOT Matter!

The public is obsessed over COVID-19 vaccine efficacy rates, but the truth is – they don’t actually matter!

Find out what COVID-19 vaccine efficacy really mean, and what really MATTERS MORE!

Updated @ 2021-04-17 : Added a new Breakthrough Calculation section, and updated the Vaccine Efficacy section.

Originally posted @ 2021-03-07

 

Vaccine Efficacy vs Effectiveness : What’s The Difference?

Vaccine efficacy is the reduction in disease (in percentage) that occurs in a vaccinated group under optimal conditions, compared to an unvaccinated group.

Do not confuse it with vaccine effectiveness, which is the real world ability of the vaccine to prevent the disease.

Vaccine effectiveness may be lowered by underlying chronic conditions, medication, age, and even how the vaccine is stored and administered.

Recommended : Overview of Vaccine Efficacy and Vaccine Effectiveness (WHO)

 

Vaccine Efficacy : What Does It Mean?

The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines passed their Phase 3 trials with 94% to 95% efficacy rates, but what does that mean?

The efficacy rate is actually a calculation of the vaccine’s ability to prevent symptomatic COVID-19 infection, based on the clinical trial data and the COVID-19 attack rate.

The public often miss the importance of the COVID-19 attack rate, and therefore misunderstand the vaccine efficacy rate.

For example, in a trial involving 100,000 vaccinated participants and a COVID-19 attack rate of 1%, here is the difference between perception and reality :

Vaccine
Efficacy
Breakthrough Infections
Perception Reality
95% 5,000 50
90% 10,000 100
85% 15,000 150
80% 20,000 200
75% 25,000 250

While the public look at a 75% efficacy rate and think that it means 25% of those vaccinated will still get infected, the truth is only 0.25% of those vaccinated will get infected, with a 1% attack rate.

This is why we should leave the science to the professionals, and not pretend that a few hours of looking up Google will replace years of actual study and experience.

Recommended : COVID-19 Vaccine : Which Should YOU Choose?

 

Vaccine Efficacy : How To Calculate Breakthrough Rate?

Now, you might expect the breakthrough rate to be calculated simply by deducting the efficacy rate from 100%, like so :

  • 95% vaccine efficacy = 5% breakthrough infections
  • 75% vaccine efficacy = 25% breakthrough infections
  • 50% vaccine efficacy = 50% breakthrough infections

However, the vaccine breakthrough infection rate is actually calculated by this formula :

(100% – Vaccine Efficacy %) x Attack Rate

Because the attack rate for COVID-19 is relatively low at about 1%, the expected breakthrough rate is much lower than you would expect.

Vaccine
Efficacy
Breakthrough Rate
Perception Reality
95% 5% 0.05%
90% 10% 0.10%
85% 15% 0.15%
80% 20% 0.20%
75% 25% 0.25%

 

Vaccine Efficacy Blinds Us To What Matters More!

The public is obsessed over COVID-19 vaccine efficacy rates, but the truth is – they don’t actually matter!

To be clear, COVID-19 vaccine efficacy is important, just not to us. That’s because it refers to the vaccine’s ability to protect against any symptomatic COVID-19 infection.

Regulatory bodies around the world set a minimum threshold of 50% efficacy against symptomatic infection for the approval of any COVID-19 vaccine.

However, that has confused many people into thinking that the authorities are taking shortcuts in giving us vaccines that barely work.

Come on – 50% efficacy? That’s like rolling the dice at the roulette table, right? That’s really NOT the case.

We prepared this table to show you how misleading efficacy rates are.

COVID-19 Vaccine Protection Against
Symptomatic
Infection
Severe
Disease
Death
Pfizer Comirnaty 95.0% 100% 100%
Gamaleya Sputnik V 91.6% 100% 100%
Moderna mRNA-1273 94.1% 100% 100%
AstraZeneca AZD1222 62% ~ 90% 100% 100%
Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV 79% ~ 86% 90% 100%
Sinovac Biotech 50.65% 83.7% 100%
J&J Janssen COVID-19 66.0% 85% 100%
CanSino Biologics 65.7% 90.98% 100%

 

Forget Efficacy, Focus On Severe Disease + Death!

The truth is all approved vaccines will protect you against severe disease, and prevent you from dying from COVID-19.

It would be really nice if you get a vaccine that protects you against even mild COVID-19, but not getting killed by it sounds pretty awesome to us!

Ultimately, whether we decide to get vaccinated should NOT depend on the vaccine’s efficacy, but its ability to protect us against severe disease or death.

Irrespective of what vaccine you receive, the table shows that they will protect you against DEATH and greatly protect you against severe COVID-19 disease.

So, instead of arguing over which COVID-19 vaccine is better, and demanding the right to choose, just take the FIRST vaccine you can get, and COMPLETE it!

Think of the COVID-19 vaccine as body armour. When you are in a firefight, do you really want to wait until you find the body armour you prefer, or would you rather wear the first one you come across?

No matter how “pathetic” or “ratty” the first body armour you find “looks” to you, it will definitely protect you better than a plain t-shirt, won’t it?

So take the first COVID-19 vaccine you are offered, and complete it. It will protect you against death and severe COVID-19 disease!

 

Recommended Reading

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AMD Radeon RX 480 Power Draw Controversy Rev. 3.0

After the AMD Radeon RX 480 was officially launched, several websites reported that their cards were drawing substantially more power from the PCI Express bus than the 75 W allowed by the PCI Express specifications. AMD has now come up with responses to this developing controversy.

2016-07-06 : Added a new page on the AMD driver solution, and our take on it.

2016-07-09 : Added a new section on the Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1 driver.

 

Excessive RX 480 Power Draw

The PCI Express specification allows for up to 66 W of power to be supplied by the 12 V line (12 V x 5.5 A) of the PCI Express bus. However, reviewers who have the necessary equipment to measure the power draw from the PCI Express slot have noted that the Radeon RX 480 draws 78-88 W of power from that 12 V line.

If their measurements are correct, the Radeon RX 480 exceeds the PCI Express power draw specification by a minimum of 18% and up to 33%. It also means that the Radeon RX 480 is exceeding its thermal design power (TDP) of 150 watts.

 

The Implications

The AMD Radeon RX 480 has to be certified to meet the PCI Express specifications to qualify the card as a PCI Express card, for branding and legal purposes. If the Radeon RX 480 does not fulfil its certification requirements, AMD has to fix the issue within 3 months. Failure to do so will result in the Radeon RX 480 being denied the right to be branded and sold as a PCI Express card.

For certain, AMD would certified the Radeon RX 480 to be PCI Express-compliant before the launch. However, independent testing has revealed that the Radeon RX 480 can and do exceed the power draw specifications. Why there is a discrepancy pre- and post-launch is yet unknown.

 

AMD Responds

Initially, Raja Koduri, Senior Vice President and Chief Architect, Radeon Technologies Group, responded on Reddit that :

Great question and I am really glad you asked.

We have extensive testing internally on our PCIE compliance and RX480 passed our testing. However we have received feedback from some of the reviewers on high current observed on PCIE in some cases.

We are looking into these scenarios as we speak and reproduce these scenarios internally. Our engineering team is fully engaged.

Just two days ago, AMD’s Communications Lead, Garrath Johnson, issued an update on their ongoing investigation of the issue :

As you know, we continuously tune our GPUs in order to maximize their performance within their given power envelopes and the speed of the memory interface, which in this case is an unprecedented 8Gbps for GDDR5.

Recently, we identified select scenarios where the tuning of some RX 480 boards was not optimal. Fortunately, we can adjust the GPUs tuning via software in order to resolve this issue.

We are already testing a driver that implements a fix, and we will provide an update to the community on our progress on Tuesday (July 5, 2016).

We will keep you updated on this developing Radeon RX 480 power draw story, so stay tuned!

Next Page > New Driver To Correct RX 480 Power Draw, Our Opinion

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New Driver To Correct RX 480 Power Draw

At 3:14 PM on July 6 (GMT+8), AMD’s Communications Lead, Garrath Johnson, emailed us the solution that AMD has developed – a new driver to correct the excessive Radeon RX 480 power draw from the PCI Express bus. Check it out :

We promised an update today (July 5, 2016) following concerns around the Radeon RX 480 drawing excess current from the PCIe bus. Although we are confident that the levels of reported power draws by the Radeon RX 480 do not pose a risk of damage to motherboards or other PC components based on expected usage, we are serious about addressing this topic and allaying outstanding concerns. Towards that end, we assembled a worldwide team this past weekend to investigate and develop a driver update to improve the power draw. We’re pleased to report that this driver—Radeon Software 16.7.1—is now undergoing final testing and will be released to the public in the next 48 hours.

In this driver we’ve implemented a change to address power distribution on the Radeon RX 480 – this change will lower current drawn from the PCIe bus.

Separately, we’ve also included an option to reduce total power with minimal performance impact. Users will find this as the “compatibility” UI toggle in the Global Settings menu of Radeon Settings. This toggle is “off” by default.

Finally, we’ve implemented a collection of performance improvements for the Polaris architecture that yield performance uplifts in popular game titles of up to 3%1. These optimizations are designed to improve the performance of the Radeon RX 480, and should substantially offset the performance impact for users who choose to activate the “compatibility” toggle.

AMD is committed to delivering high quality and high performance products, and we’ll continue to provide users with more control over their product’s performance and efficiency. We appreciate all the feedback so far, and we’ll continue to bring further performance and performance/W optimizations to the Radeon RX 480.

1: Based on data running ’Total War: Warhammer’, ultra settings, 1080p resolution. Radeon Software 16.6.2 74.2FPS vs Radeon Software 16.7.1 78.3FPS; Metro Last Light, very high settings, 1080p resolution, 80.9FPS vs 82.7 FPS. Witcher 3, Ultra settings, 1440p, 31.5FPS vs 32.5, Far Cry 4, ultra settings, 1440p, 54.65FPS vs 56.38FPS, 3DMark11 Extreme, 22.8 vs 23.7  System config: Core i7-5960X, 16GB DDR4-2666MHz, Gigabyte X99-UD4, Windows 10 64-bit. Performance figures are not average, may vary from run-to-run.

 

Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1

The Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1 driver is now available! Here are the compatibility and performance updates that promises to solve the Radeon RX 480 power draw problem :

  • The Radeon RX 480’s power distribution has been improved for AMD reference boards, lowering the current drawn from the PCIe bus.
  • A new “compatibility mode” UI toggle has been made available in the Global Settings menu of Radeon Settings. This option is designed to reduce total power with minimal performance impact if end users experience any further issues.  This toggle is “off” by default.
  • Performance improvements for the Polaris architecture that yield performance uplifts in popular game titles of up to 3%. These optimizations are designed to improve the performance of the Radeon RX 480, and should substantially offset the performance impact for users who choose to activate the “compatibility” toggle.

Also, the Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1 driver appears to fix the limited PCI Express bandwidth on the Radeon RX 480, giving it a further boost in performance :

  • Radeon RX 480 limited PCI-E Bandwidth (PCI-E bandwidth is now at the correct speed on the Radeon RX 480) with Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1.

You can download the new drivers below :

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Our Opinion

AMD has basically acknowledged that the Radeon RX 480 does indeed draw more power over the PCI Express bus than is allowed by the PCI Express specifications. That is also a tacit acknowledgement that the Radeon RX 480 has a thermal design power (TDP) in excess of 150 W.

They claim that the excessive Radeon RX 480 power draw will not damage the motherboard or related components. However, they also qualify that as limited to “expected usage” – that means using the Radeon RX 480 as is, and not overclocking it.

The Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1 driver they just released offers 3 changes :

  • shifting the excessive power draw from the PCI Express bus to the 6-pin PCIe power cable.
  • reduce the power consumption of Radeon RX 480 through a “compatibility” toggle in the driver.
  • improve the Radeon RX 480‘s performance by 3%, to offset the reduced performance when the “compatibility” toggle is enabled

We have a dedicated article covering the Radeon Software 16.7.1, which looks at its performance improvements. You can check it out here -> Radeon Software 16.7.1 Performance Comparison.

Although AMD implied that the performance impact of the “compatibility” toggle is substantially less than 3%, we examined its real impact and how much the Radeon Software 16.7.1 driver’s performance offset it. Check it out in our article – True Performance of the Radeon RX 480 Examined.

Going forward, we expect the Radeon RX 480 cards to eventually ship with an 8-pin PCI Express power connector for “compatibility” reasons.

 

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