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posted by martyb on Wednesday January 19, @10:36PM   Printer-friendly
from the it's-[almost]-all-in-your-head? dept.

More Than Two-Thirds of Adverse COVID-19 Vaccine Events Are Due to Placebo Effect:

The placebo effect is the well-known phenomenon of a person's physical or mental health improving after taking a treatment with no pharmacological therapeutic benefit – a sugar pill, or a syringe full of saline, for example. While the exact biological, psychological, and genetic underpinnings of the placebo effect are not well understood, some theories point to expectations as the primary cause and others argue that non-conscious factors embedded in the patient-physician relationship automatically turn down the volume of symptoms. Sometimes placebo effects can also harm –the so-called "nocebo effect" occurs when a person experiencing unpleasant side effects after taking a treatment with no pharmacological effects. That same sugar pill causing nausea, or that syringe full of saline resulting in fatigue.

In a new meta-analysis of randomized, placebo-controlled COVID-19 vaccine trials, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) compared the rates of adverse events reported by participants who received the vaccines to the rates of adverse events reported by those who received a placebo injection containing no vaccine. While the scientists found significantly more trial participants who received the vaccine reported adverse events, nearly a third of participants who received the placebo also reported at least one adverse event, with headache and fatigue being the most common. The team's findings are published in JAMA Network Open.

"Adverse events after placebo treatment are common in randomized controlled trials," said lead author Julia W. Haas, PhD, an investigator in the Program in Placebo Studies at BIDMC. "Collecting systematic evidence regarding these nocebo responses in vaccine trials is important for COVID-19 vaccination worldwide, especially because concern about side effects is reported to be a reason for vaccine hesitancy."

Haas and colleagues analyzed data from 12 clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines. The 12 trials included adverse effects reports from 22,578 placebo recipients and 22,802 vaccine recipients. After the first injection, more than 35 percent of placebo recipients experienced systemic adverse events – symptoms affecting the entire body, such as fever – with headache and fatigue most common at 19.6 percent and 16.7 percent, respectively. Sixteen percent of placebo recipients reported at least one local event, such as pain at site of injection, redness, or swelling.

In comparison after the first injection, 46 percent of vaccine recipients experienced at least one systemic adverse event and two-thirds of them reported at least one local event. While this group received a pharmacologically active treatment, at least some of their adverse events are attributable to the placebo – or in this case, nocebo – effect, as well given that many of these effects also occurred in the placebo group. Haas and colleagues' analysis suggested that nocebo accounted for 76 percent of all adverse events in the vaccine group and nearly a quarter of all local effects reported.

Journal Reference:
Julia W. Haas, Friederike L. Bender, Sarah Ballou, et al. Frequency of Adverse Events in the Placebo Arms of COVID-19 Vaccine Trials [open], JAMA Network Open (DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.43955)


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  • (Score: -1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 19, @10:49PM (36 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 19, @10:49PM (#1213979)

    It doesn't work against the current virus strain.

    Starting Score:    0  points
    Moderation   -1  
       Troll=4, Insightful=5, Overrated=2, Disagree=1, Total=12
    Extra 'Insightful' Modifier   0  

    Total Score:   -1  
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Thexalon on Wednesday January 19, @11:27PM (11 children)

    by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday January 19, @11:27PM (#1213993)

    "It doesn't work 100% perfectly" != "It doesn't work at all".

    People don't seem to understand the concept of probability on this issue.

    --
    Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
    • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @12:11AM (10 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @12:11AM (#1214002)

      People understand enough. "No one I know had it bad" == "Probability is negligible". "My vaccinated neighbors all got it" == "Vaccines do not work". You can juggle numbers and twist words, but you cannot make people unsee what they see.

      Another thing people increasingly come to understand: "You told us dozens of falsehoods over these two years" == "You are never to be trusted with anything".

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @12:18AM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @12:18AM (#1214004)

        Donald Trump telling you "dozens of falsehoods" does not mean that no one can be "trusted with anything". It just means you have to reevaluate who you are trusting. Hope this enlightens.

        • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @03:50AM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @03:50AM (#1214055)

          Another leftist reply that doesn't respond to the topic. Your guys in office are failing hard because they think they are above dealing with real world events. Hope this enlightens. *snicker*

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by mcgrew on Thursday January 20, @07:30PM

            by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday January 20, @07:30PM (#1214297) Homepage Journal

            I'm not a Democrat, I'm an independent voter, and your Trump colored glasses are blinding you. Democrats not dealing with real world events? Like Bush's "forever war" that Biden stopped? Like trying to make it easier for people to exercise their right to vote, instead of trying to take that right away? Like your Texas Republican governor when it got cold? Like the moronic Republican governors who are against masks and vaccinations?

            Like fixing our crumbling infrastructure that former President Pinocchio promised to do but didn't even try? WTF did government do AT ALL under the last administration than cut taxes on the super rich, the people who need tax breaks the least?

            Meanwhile, the leader of your party (I have no party except beer and pot) has never once won a popular vote, lost the house and senate, and tried to overthrow the election and are now trying to take the right to vote away from people? And the Republicans think they can't win without that loser?

            What's in that Republican Kool-Aid, cocaine? You accuse Democrats of not regarding real world problems? Sorry your mother was such a heavy drinker when she was pregnant with you.

            --
            Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
          • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @07:34PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @07:34PM (#1214299)

            As we see here the deplorables do not respond well to education, thus making a vicious circle resulting in failed relationships, jobs, and in some extreme cases, even murder. Join us next werk as we explore the intricacies of bovine bowel movements.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by khallow on Thursday January 20, @04:30AM (3 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 20, @04:30AM (#1214063) Journal

        People understand enough. "No one I know had it bad" == "Probability is negligible". "My vaccinated neighbors all got it" == "Vaccines do not work".

        Sure, and my neighbor's pigs fly. The reasoning [soylentnews.org] is more like "We know a girl who missed her period for five months after getting the vaccine" == "Vaccine will make my daughters sterile". It's pure hysteria.

        And my experience, being in Yellowstone National Park with thousands of people a day going through this park is. "A lot of people I know got it" == "Probably ain't negligle". And "Most people who got it (and tested positive for covid) didn't have their booster shot (they all were vaccinated)" == "Get the booster and stop whining".

        If you don't interact with people at all, then you can afford to not get that shot or booster. But if you do, especially if those people are rabid anti-vaxxers, you'll probably need a booster.

        Another thing people increasingly come to understand: "You told us dozens of falsehoods over these two years" == "You are never to be trusted with anything".

        Got to agree with the AC replier, there's a lot of liars out there, and Trump was one of the biggest. It must have been hard to get true believers to do the right thing and vaccinate themselves.

        • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Thursday January 20, @07:32PM

          by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday January 20, @07:32PM (#1214298) Homepage Journal

          Well, hell. I'd mod you up if I had any points left.

          --
          Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @07:38PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @07:38PM (#1214301)

          "But if you do, especially if those people are rabid anti-vaxxers, you'll probably need a booster."

          it's the vaxxed getting sick, you stupid bitch-ass slave.

          • (Score: 2, Touché) by khallow on Thursday January 20, @07:54PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 20, @07:54PM (#1214310) Journal

            it's the vaxxed getting sick, you stupid bitch-ass slave.

            Sounds like you go vaxxed with stupidity, because that was quite the immune response to an intelligent argument.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Thexalon on Thursday January 20, @04:36AM (1 child)

        by Thexalon (636) on Thursday January 20, @04:36AM (#1214065)

        A brief admittedly anecdotal story about this: The guy who delivers my heating oil, who hates the previous US president mostly because said ex-president cheated him and his company on a construction contract a while ago, got his Covid vaccine as quickly as he could. His wife was more reluctant, but her employer mandated vaccination, and she broke down and got it rather than get fired. So they're going about their lives, and shortly after Christmas several of the relatives who were present at the family gathering got sick, and 2 had to spend time in the hospital, because it turned out that one of the people present had Covid. But you know who didn't get sick? The people who were vaccinated. Within a week, the relatives who hadn't been at that Christmas dinner got vaccinated.

        As for the flawed logic you're talking about here:
        - You're using "No one I know had it bad" to justify the conclusion "Probability is negligible". But "no one I know" isn't "no one", and not even "no one I come in contact with", because if you're like most people, you fairly regularly come in contact with people you don't know such as the random person who you walked by in your local Walmart or the person who dropped off your Amazon order.
        - "My vaccinated neighbors all got it": How many neighbors do you have? How severe was it? Were any of them hospitalized? Did any of them die from it? Because it sure sounds like what you're saying is that the correct thing to do is to oversimplify your data, limit your sample size dramatically, and ignore any wider information that might contradict that data set. Which is equivalent logic to: "All of my neighbors got around 20 inches of snow this week, so that must mean everybody in the US got 20 inches of snow this week. After all, that's what I'm seeing, and everybody at NOAA and TV weather reports might be lying to me."

        --
        Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @02:27PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @02:27PM (#1214154)

          - "My vaccinated neighbors all got it": How many neighbors do you have? How severe was it? Were any of them hospitalized? Did any of them die from it?

          My boss got it and his child that was in school. Both vaccinated.

          Caveat: boss had sore throat for 1 day. The child had positive test before it turned negative 3 days later.

          So, you can stretch what "got it" == "vaccine not work", but it seems that it's working quite well. Another nice stats, for unvaccinated Omicron is 1/3 as deadly as Delta. For the vaccinated, it's less deadly than seasonal flu.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Mykl on Wednesday January 19, @11:59PM (22 children)

    by Mykl (1112) on Wednesday January 19, @11:59PM (#1213998)

    Omicron has unvaccinated people ending up in the ICU at a rate 30 times higher than vaccinated people. So I'd say that the vaccine 'works' (i.e. provides protection).

    Analogy: Earmuffs don't prevent 100% of noise from coming through, but they reduce very loud sounds to a level that doesn't permanently damage your eardrums.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @12:13AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @12:13AM (#1214003)

      Care to update your script properly. Merely replacing "Delta" with "Omicron", makes you a laughingstock.

      • (Score: 5, Touché) by Mykl on Thursday January 20, @06:14AM

        by Mykl (1112) on Thursday January 20, @06:14AM (#1214079)

        Care to refute the assertion, or would you prefer to try a strawman since you won't win on facts?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @12:25AM (7 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @12:25AM (#1214005)

      Gosh, I was hoping for a car analogy.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Thexalon on Thursday January 20, @04:49AM (6 children)

        by Thexalon (636) on Thursday January 20, @04:49AM (#1214068)

        You want a car analogy? I've got one.

        People not wearing their seat belts in a car are about 45 times more likely to die in a car crash than people wearing seat belts. The risk isn't ridiculously huge - many people will be able to drive to where they're going without a seat belt without dying - but it's definitely there. Some of the people who are driving around without a seat belt will get into accidents they end up surviving as well, and if they're really lucky they might also avoid serious injury. Also, sometimes people who are wearing their seat belt will die anyways if they end up in a really severe wreck. But it helps enough that the vast majority of professionals with the training and data to understand the issue agree that seat belts are a valuable and worthwhile safety measure, so much so that vehicles are required by law to have them in order to be sold or allowed on public roads, and in many jurisdictions people who don't wear seat belts can be fined or even go to jail for it.

        Vaccination against a potentially fatal disease, in this context, is approximately the same as seat belts, except it's not just your own safety but the safety of everyone around you at stake.

        --
        Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
        • (Score: 2) by Mykl on Thursday January 20, @06:12AM (2 children)

          by Mykl (1112) on Thursday January 20, @06:12AM (#1214077)

          Would rate you +2 if I could. It's a better analogy than my earmuff one by far.

          • (Score: 2) by Rich on Thursday January 20, @01:42PM (1 child)

            by Rich (945) on Thursday January 20, @01:42PM (#1214143) Journal

            The best analogy I've heard is that the vast majority of football (soccer for the 'merkins) goals are made with the goalkeeper on his position. :)

            • (Score: 2) by driverless on Saturday January 22, @10:24AM

              by driverless (4770) on Saturday January 22, @10:24AM (#1214752)

              That's a great analogy. No idea what it's an analogy for, but it's a good analogy nevertheless.

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @03:20PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @03:20PM (#1214176)

          Thank you, dear Thexalon, for answering my plea for an apt car analogy. Well done. I will share it with my adult relatives.

          Somebody gift this man a SN subscription. (I would, but I'm tapped out, my furnace is busted and house taxes are due. True story.)

        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @12:14AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @12:14AM (#1214393)

          Don't forget that seat belts in a car also protect the other occupants too. The benefits aren't quite as direct, but an unsecured passenger can cause a lot of damage to the other occupants as that person bounces around inside the cabin like a ragdoll or they can hit the other occupants on their way out. I've seen more times than I care to count that some future organ donor isn't wearing a seat belt in the back seat and the serious injuries of those in the front seats is from being hit from behind by the passenger on their way out. If there was a seat belt, all passengers would be alive and everyone would have walked away with minor injuries. And don't get me started on meat crayons and road pizza not wearing proper safety gear on donorcycles.

          • (Score: 2) by driverless on Saturday January 22, @10:27AM

            by driverless (4770) on Saturday January 22, @10:27AM (#1214753)

            Years ago a friend of mine worked at a NY hospital and was complaining about the lack of organs for transplants. Someone who'd been working there for longer than him commented "there's rain forecast for next week, we'll have plenty of motorcyclist donors soon".

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @01:00AM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @01:00AM (#1214017)

      Omicron is just a cold for the vast majority of people.
      FACT. There will always be an unlucky few, but statistically, the coronavirus is closer to the flu at this point.

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @01:35AM (4 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @01:35AM (#1214023)

        It must be said that whether or not one should take the vaccine depends on one's risk profile. Broadly, the younger you are, the less benefit you receive from the vaccine. It's insane that the government is pushing everyone regardless of age to take it. Pfizer's own experimental trial data showed that more children would as a result of taking the vaccine than of not taking it! Now, you may say it's statistical noise, but even this generous interpretation means it is of no benefit to kids.

        • (Score: 1) by higuita on Thursday January 20, @02:52AM (2 children)

          by higuita (2465) on Thursday January 20, @02:52AM (#1214040)

          The idea is that the kids, being unvaccinated, are helping spread the covid for other people, specially those that can't be vaccinated or aren't by choice. shutdown that transmission vector would help everyone... but now omicron changed everything, even vaccinated people are helping spread the virus, luckly this variant is much less dangerous for vaccinated people, while still hit hard unvaccinated people

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @04:01AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @04:01AM (#1214057)

            The idea that the kids are spreaders was disproved by the data in the pre-Omicron days. It never made sense to mask them or vaccinate them. As you said, now with Omicron, most people -- kids included -- are spreaders of a nothing-burger virus strain.

            The idea that children should be burdened (masked all day, stunting their educational and behavioral development in the case of very young kids) to potentially put an old person at a little less at risk is very wrong. We do not sacrifice the young for the old. That is the type of thinking that entitled old people and childless people would make, and boy do we have a lot of them in charge nowadays. Take responsibility for your own health.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @02:29PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @02:29PM (#1214491)

              That is the type of thinking that entitled old people and childless people would make, and boy do we have a lot of them in charge nowadays.

              It's pretty much demanded that politicians be married, actively attend religious service, and spend a lot of time lying to people. Nobody ever demands they be fertile, morally upright, honest, or unacquisitive.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday January 20, @07:59PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 20, @07:59PM (#1214313) Journal

          It must be said that whether or not one should take the vaccine depends on one's risk profile.

          And the risk profile of the people you're exposed to. I work in and around hotels and restaurants. Even though I'm not in a very exposed position (bean counter behind the scenes) the choices I make do not affect just me. That's why I have my booster shot.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday January 20, @04:32AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 20, @04:32AM (#1214064) Journal

        FACT. There will always be an unlucky few, but statistically, the coronavirus is closer to the flu at this point./quote FACT. The covid vaccine is closer to no disease at all.

    • (Score: 1) by Coligny on Thursday January 20, @02:44AM (3 children)

      by Coligny (2200) on Thursday January 20, @02:44AM (#1214034)

      On which country ?
      Because most consider omicron to be the tamest variant so far.

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by Mykl on Thursday January 20, @06:19AM (2 children)

        by Mykl (1112) on Thursday January 20, @06:19AM (#1214080)

        Yes, most agree Omicron is the least deadly. It still kills though, and there are FAR more people catching it. If it's half as deadly, but four times as many people get it, then it follows that about twice as many people will die. Stop thinking in individual data points and look at the bigger picture.

        This also ignores the issues associated with Long COVID, which remains a major issue.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @03:38PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @03:38PM (#1214509)

          Saying "it still kills" makes it sound scary, but could be misleading as it doesn't have any context!

          To try to determine a reasonable, personal response to the CoVid risk, I need solid info that is meant to inform me, not meant to try to manipulate me. This is lacking from most media sources (especially the older more traditional ones) and I am personally in favor of revoking their assigned radio and TV frequency ranges due to their no longer serving the role they promised to fill.

          Is anyone actually trying to help the average US resident make an informed response? I would like to see numbers of how many people are actually getting seriously ill from CoVid vs say a strong cold or mild flu. We know that there are people who are so close to death that anything going wrong will push them over the edge, so is CoVid actually creating a strong enough effect to make this a much large group?

          Is the vaccine relatively safe and if so, does the protection it provides significant enough to justify us paying for it and taking it? I personally believe it is safe (for most people - your doctor can help with this) and am a relatively high-risk individual, so have taken 3 doses of Moderna. As a high-risk person I take many medications and have actually read the side effect list that came with most of them. Those lists are pretty terrifying (many of them include death or other really bad things), so am not really too scared by reports of a tiny portion of people having issues with vaccines. What does scare me is the efforts to silence any negative reports and it makes reasonable people believe that there is something to hide. The ONLY way to overcome this is by being completely honest and allowing people who are nervous about it to voice their concerns and ask questions. This is not currently the case and there is a concerted effort going on to silence anyone who isn't spouting the approved message. What I don't know is if it is just arrogance ("I know better than those dumb rednecks") or if its something like corruption ("my producer said he'd pay me another $10,000,000 to say these lies.") My guess is both are occurring.

          • (Score: 2) by Mykl on Sunday January 23, @10:18PM

            by Mykl (1112) on Sunday January 23, @10:18PM (#1215113)

            I think what you're seeing from most of the medical profession and certainly the current administration is a frustrated response to the straight-out lies being told by the anti-vax side of the media (e.g. 2020/2021 Fox News, plus Newsmax, OAN etc).

            While it would be better to have a nuanced discussion about the pros and cons of the different vaccines available etc, that has unfortunately been made impossible by the noise generated by those who believe that the "Vaxx" contains 5G chips and is a conspiracy cooked up by Fauci and the Chinese Communist Party to bring down Amerika. What's also very prominent in my mind is the fear that people generally have of medical risks (I'm specifically thinking about the ongoing damage done by Andrew Wakefield when he invented the "vaccines cause autism" lie in order to personally profit from the fallout).

            I live in Australia, so I've seen a milder form of this. The local Murdoch press were predictably anti-vax at first, but most of their criticism was about our lockdowns being too harsh, rather than crazy conspiracy theories. We did have a vaccine that had some significant side-effects in the early days (AstraZeneca) - this was widely reported in most media in a fairly balanced way and the government decided to only make it available to older people (it still made sense for them due to the relative risk profiles of AstraZeneca and COVID). Now that supply of other vaccines (most notably Pfizer) has improved, the government has dropped AstraZeneca altogether.

            As of today, 92.9% of all people in Australia aged 16 and over are double-vaccinated. We've just turned the corner of the peak of Omicron cases at the moment (31,660 cases in the past 24 hours and 41 deaths), but I think this would've been far worse if we'd allowed conspiracy theories to spread unchecked.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @07:46PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @07:46PM (#1214305)

      "Omicron has unvaccinated people ending up in the ICU at a rate 30 times higher than vaccinated people"

      you're believing lies, you dumb fucking slave.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by higuita on Thursday January 20, @02:46AM

    by higuita (2465) on Thursday January 20, @02:46AM (#1214037)

    The vaccine DO work, while they can't protect you 100% from being infected, here in Portugal, one hospital report that around 90% of hospitalizations are from non vaccinated people, where the 10% remaining are vaccinated people with other problems (ie: weak people, like old people and with other illness). Most hospitals report somewhat the same numbers

    Now to see our vaccination ration and current levels of covid infection. While Omicron hit us hard (vaccinated people were less careful and omicron spreads much better) and is wild spreed, hospitalization are limited, specially much lower ICU cases and much much lower dead

    https://esriportugal.maps.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/acf023da9a0b4f9dbb2332c13f635829 [arcgis.com] (you can click on the legend to enable or disable that metric)

    "ev novos" tab: new cases
    "ev casos totais" tab: total cases, dead (read) and recovered cases
    "ev internados" tab: hospitalization, where red is ICU
    "ev g.etario": covid cased by age.

    So again, vaccine DO WORK in what is important, it make covid much weaker (whatever variant) and while omicron increased again the infection rate, vaccinated people heal faster and many times have no symptoms