A new study that followed over 50 thousand working-age people has revealed that far from reducing the chance of contracting COVID, the vaccines actually make it more likely that an individual will contract the virus. Not only that, the risk of contracting COVID was actually shown to increase dramatically in relation to the number of vaccine doses a person received.
The study involved 51,000 employees of the Cleveland Clinic between September and December of 2022. The primary aim of the research was to assess the effectiveness of the new "bivalent" vaccine which was designed to protect both against the original COVID strain (or "Wuhan" strain, which is no longer circulating) and the BA.4/BA.5 variants of the Omicron mutation. The study found that the bivalent vaccine was 30 percent effective in preventing infection, during the period when the BA.4/BA.5 variants were circulating.
A secondary aim of the study was to examine the effectiveness of each succeeding vaccine dose, and the results were, the researchers write, “unexpected.” There was an “increased risk of COVID-19 with higher numbers of prior vaccine doses” as illustrated starkly in the cumulative incidence plot below. People who had three or more doses were around three times or 300% as likely to contract COVID than those who were unvaccinated. Another way of describing this is that the vaccine has a negative efficacy of minus-200%.
The authors suggest various explanations for their findings but find them all unsatisfactory:
"A simplistic explanation might be that those who received more doses were more likely to be individuals at higher risk of COVID-19. A small proportion of individuals may have fit this description. However, the majority of subjects in this study were generally young individuals and all were eligible to have received at least three doses of vaccine by the study start date, and which they had every opportunity to do. Therefore, those who received fewer than three doses (over 45% of individuals in the study) were not those ineligible to receive the vaccine, but those who chose not to follow the CDC’s recommendations on remaining updated with COVID-19 vaccination, and one could reasonably expect these individuals to have been more likely to have exhibited higher risk-taking behavior. Despite this, their risk of acquiring COVID-19 was lower than those who received a larger number of prior vaccine doses."
The authors also note that “this is not the only study to find a possible association with more prior vaccine doses and higher risk of COVID-19.”
Unlike the vaccines, natural immunity was found to be effective at preventing re-infection, the study finds – though less and less with each new variant and as time passes, as might be expected.