The base rate fallacy and what Premier Scott Moe got wrong about COVID-19 spread in Sask.

Experts are pushing again on Choicest Scott Moe’s pronouncement in advance this week that vaccines no longer save you the transmission of COVID-19. 

Scientists and doctors say the premiere’s position isn’t backed up by proof or information. 

“He Is spewing mainly nonsense,” said Nazeem Muhajarine, a professor of epidemiology on the University of Saskatchewan.

In an announcement printed on Saturday, Moe wrote that “vaccination doesn’t keep you from contracting COVID-19” and that “vaccination isn’t reducing transmission.” 

Nowadays, trucker rallies are being held at many locations around the us of a, including on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and in more than a few communities in Saskatchewan.

this is my message to Saskatchewan and Canadian truckers:


On Monday right through a news conference, Moe changed his phrasing and repeated the claim.

Unaccompanied through any public health legit, the optimal stated the knowledge was once clear to him. 

“the ground line of all of all of this is that vaccines do paintings, however they are no longer running at combating transmission on this wave of COVID 19, like they prior to now did in the Delta wave at which they were rather effective,” said Moe. 

Experts say that although the Omicron variant has lowered the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing transmission, that doesn’t imply they are needless.

“Vaccination in fact does cut back transmission significantly, in particular whilst an individual has a booster,” mentioned Angie Rasmussen, a virologist with the School of Saskatchewan. 

Experts say the premier’s conclusion appears to be in response to a couple of misunderstandings. 

College of Saskatchewan virologist Angela Rasmussen says vaccines give protection to towards severe illness and likewise lower the possibilities of contracting and transmitting COVID-19. (Submitted through the School of Saskatchewan)

Base price fallacy

At the core of the most fulfilling’s obvious false impression is that there are similar general numbers of unvaccinated and vaccinated other folks getting COVID-19. 

“the new instances that we’ve in this province are are roughly about the related in vaccinated and unvaccinated other people here in Saskatchewan,” Moe said earlier this week.

Questions remain for Sask. businesses as province plans to scrap evidence of vaccine requirementsSask. Clinical Association says doctors alarmed at plans to scrap proof of vaccination rulesSask. surest plans to scrap proof of vaccination requirement via end of February

Take the selection of COVID-19 hospitalizations that had been pronounced by means of Saskatchewan on Wednesday, whilst 123 of the 372 hospitalized patients, or 33 in line with cent, weren’t fully vaccinated.

at first look that determine could appear concerning, as that means 249 of these hospitalized people are fully vaccinated.

On The Other Hand, the data itself is misleading as a result of its being introduced in entire numbers, an issue CBC Saskatchewan prior to now addressed in August 2021. 

Experts say the case numbers should be viewed as numerators — the quantity above the road in a fragment — with the complete inhabitants of unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, totally vaccinated or boosted other people as denominators — the quantity underneath the road in a fraction. 

As of Wednesday, 79.29 in line with cent of Saskatchewan’s eligible inhabitants has no less than two vaccine doses. That Is greater than 897,000 other people. 

when put next there are roughly 234,000 eligible individuals who are not fully vaccinated.  

while you view the hospitalization numbers as fractions for vaccinated and unvaccinated folks, there is little or no within the way of comparison:

No Longer absolutely vaccinated – 123 hospitalizations/234,000 people = roughly FIFTY THREE in keeping with 100,000 other folks. Fully vaccinated – 249 hospitalizations/897,000 other folks = roughly 28 per 100,000 folks.

“you have got to appear at the ones denominators and the pool from which you’re drawing from so as to start understanding this,” said Dr. Alex Wong, an infectious illness specialist primarily based in Regina. 

Viewing the data as fractions higher illustrates the real level of risk, professionals said.

The most effective’s decision to view the data as handiest whole numbers is what mavens commonly consult with as a base rate fallacy. 

but the base fee fallacy is not the best factor mavens raised in regards to the optimum’s end. 

“It’s a lot more advanced than that,” said Wong.

The base rate fallacy and what Premier Scott Moe got wrong about COVID-19 spread in Sask.

Dr. Alexander Wong is an infectious sicknesses physician at Regina Normal Hospital. (Submitted by Alexander Wong/Saskatchewan Health Authority)

Messy knowledge

The Issue with the use of the bottom charge fallacy to debunk the premier’s statements is that the data the province is reporting is no longer correct, stated Wong.

The province says most effective people with significant or worsening chilly or flu-like signs including fever, or those who are regarded as at-risk due to underlying medical conditions, should get a PCR take a look at to ensure their COVID-19 diagnosis.

Everyone else has been recommended to depend on the consequences of a self-administered fast test.

that implies many individuals who have COVID-19 are no longer being pronounced as a part of the province’s case counts, making the province’s case numbers unreliable.

Mavens criticize Sask. premiere’s observation that vaccines don’t cut back COVID-19 transmissionEmails display province resisted issuing PSA after COVID-19 instances at Roughriders home openerHost of symptoms, variable recovery instances complicate go back to work for those with long COVID

Any Person having 3 doses of a vaccine additionally approach they are more likely to go get a PCR take a look at, Wong stated, even supposing there is not any transparent indication on how a lot that may be skewing the information.

The messy data is a reminder that when scientists and mavens look at data, they’re always mindful of the restrictions and caveats that are carried out to the information.

Wong says Moe’s comment didn’t take any of that into account.

“His conclusion was no longer appropriate to make as a result of of the restrictions and the challenges in deciphering the data,” Wong said.

LISTEN| the way to protect yourself from COVID-19

The base rate fallacy and what Premier Scott Moe got wrong about COVID-19 spread in Sask.
10:34Medical column – find out how to guard yourself from Covid

Public well being regulations are loosening in Canada, so how will we keep ourselves and our households secure from COVID-19? We ask Dr. Peter Lin for pointers. 10:34


The Omicron version’s increased infectiousness implies that the immunity provided by way of vaccinations is not as powerful because it was during the Delta-driven fourth wave in Saskatchewan.

However that does not imply it is not running, as said via Premier Scott Moe.

doses is no longer sufficient, according to Muhajarine. Booster doses at the moment are important as two doses are not as efficient against the Omicron version, he stated. 

“It has average effectiveness and that is lovely forged. It’s a lot better than a few of the other vaccines that we provide mechanically,” Muhajarine said. 

The base rate fallacy and what Premier Scott Moe got wrong about COVID-19 spread in Sask.

Nazeem Muhajarine is an epidemiologist on the University of Saskatchewan. (Submitted by means of School of Saskatchewan)

Rasmussen also referred to as for everybody to get booster doses as temporarily as possible. 

“A Few research that have been done in the U.S. via the middle for Disease Regulate have showed that a booster shot in fact increases protection in opposition to infection all the way up to about 60 to 70 according to cent, depending on the take a look at,” said Rasmussen.

All of the experts told CBC Information that the top-rated’s comments are most probably undermining the hassle to get extra vaccinations — especially booster doses — into fingers. 

Muhajarine said the top-quality’s feedback undermine religion in public well being and the effectiveness of vaccines. 

“What he used to be saying this earlier few days is not coverage. It is not technology. he is not a scientist and he knows that it will if truth be told come out of … the executive medical health officer’s mouth” the epidemiologist stated.

Leave a comment