Did Republicans Report More Vax Adverse Events? How Not To Do Statistics

Did Republicans Report More Vax Adverse Events? How Not To Do Statistics

A perpetual staple of statistical shenanigans are “studies” comparing one heterogeneous population with other, or with many other heterogeneous populations, where the researcher picks out one item among the myriad differences and then flashes his wee P at us, insisting this one difference is the cause of some terrible thing.

They might not use the word cause, but they use every word they can get away with that’s close enough. Like “associated”, “linked”, “inclined”.

The latest embarrassment resulted in this headline: “People in Republican-voting states more likely to report Covid-19 vaccine side effects, study says“.

Do they.

The peer-reviewed paper is “Reports of COVID-19 Vaccine Adverse Events in Predominantly Republican vs Democratic States” in JAMA Network Open by David A. Asch, Chongliang Luo, and Yong Chen.

Their “key” points:

Findings This cross-sectional study of 620?456 AE reports found that a 10% increase in state Republican voting was associated with a 5% increase in the odds that a COVID-19 vaccine AE would be reported, a 25% increase in the odds that a severe AE would be reported, and a 21% increase in the odds that any reported AE would be severe.

Meaning The findings suggest that the more states are inclined to vote Republican, the more likely their vaccine recipients or their clinicians are to report COVID-19 vaccine AEs.

There it is: “inclined” for “cause.”

States don’t vote Republican, people inside states do—or don’t. The researchers didn’t report on people, but states. Which is asinine. Because we don’t know who did what.

It’s true those who call themselves Republicans tend to more be Reality-oriented than those who call themselves Democrats. Such that proportionally more on the R side were skeptical of the vax, and disbelieved the Official Lies told by the Regime. Such as when Rochelle Walensky, a physician then in charge of the CDC, said that if you got the vax you couldn’t get sick and couldn’t pass it on. She said it on camera, multiple times.

The effect was that proportionally more Rs than Ds refused the vax.

Which is well known. And the subject of other “research”, which lamented the vax skepticism “denial” of the Rs.

These current researchers use VAERS, which is odd. You will recall that during the panic Experts said not to trust VAERS, which couldn’t possibly be filled with useful data, because that data went against the party line.

I reported on VAERS several times, notably to show that reported deaths were skewing a lot younger with the J&J vax. The signal here was not ambiguous. It was plain. And we recall the J&J vax fell out of favor. Not because anything I did, of course. I was shouting into the void.

Now VAERS is back in favor. Here’s more detail from this very thin paper (it’s only a few paragraphs long):

A total of 620?456 AE reports (mean [SD] age of vaccine recipients, 51.8 [17.6] years; 435?797 reports from women [70.2%]; a vaccine recipient could potentially file more than 1 report, so reports are not necessarily from unique individuals) for COVID-19 vaccination were identified from the VAERS database. Significant associations between state political inclination and state AE reporting were observed for all 3 outcomes: a 10% increase in Republican voting was associated with increased odds of AE reports…These associations were seen across all age strata in stratified analyses and were more pronounced among older subpopulations.

In their favor, that the sex ratio was skewed so heavily toward women does give weight to some VAERS suspicion. There seems to be no good reason vax-caused injuries would be that much higher in women. But it is very plausible women complain more. We don’t know from this barely-there paper the state or political party breakdown of the sexes, so this says nothing about their hypothesis.

They don’t show the time breakdown, either, appearing to lump all reports across time. Which was not how the panic played out, injury reports being more common later than earlier.

Anyway, supposing Rs, and not just “R states”, do proportionately report greater injury, it could be that Rs were more on the look out for harms, whereas Ds would go on lying to themselves that all was right because Experts assured them that to complain was to be a bad person.

There just isn’t anything here. Which you can prove to yourself. Here’s one picture from the Supplement (authors keep moving key material away from more watchful eyes).

Those solid black lines are their “discoveries”. They’re supposed to well represent the state data and paint Rs in a bad light. Do they? They do not. The real data is all over the place.

There is also the possibility that reporting adverse events in D-majority states was harder. Who knows.

There were three very important numbers I did not quote, which were in the ellipsis above. I quote them now: “P < .001…P <.001…P < .001”.

Well. The wee Ps have it.

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  1. Gunther Heinz

    The same fun-and-games can be played using the Brazilian Ministry of Health’s SARDS open data base. Begin with the following proposition “UNVAXED KIDS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE ADMITTED TO HOSPITAL SIMPLY FOR BEING UNVAXED, NOT FOR BEING MORE SICK”. Pretty darned easy to “prove”, since very, very few kids (vaxed or unvaxed) actually die. This proposition annoys lots of people.

  2. JerryR

    “He who controls the language controls the masses”
    — Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals

  3. Gwyneth

    “There seems to be no good reason vax-caused injuries would be that much higher in women.”

    Women’s physiology is a tad more complex than men’s and is known to be far more reactive to pharmaceuticals, particularly those which target the ovaries.

  4. “…then flashes his wee P at us…”

    Which we should respond to like any other flasher and his wee P.

  5. The Covid (shot) ies not eet the traditional definition of a vaccine) were extremely political. The first time for a vaccine. I am positive Democrats were reluctant to report adverse side effects because three leftists relatives told me that after I advised them of VAERS and why the data were important for doctors.
    All refused to report

    One 50 something woman could not go to work for three days

    One 70 something man was barely able to get out of bed for three days

    One 70 something man had a very sore arm for over a day

    None wanted to reporte to VAERS eve if I would type in the data they gave me.

    I knew more VAERS reports were by women but the 70% was more than I expected.

    Some reasons in my opinion:

    Men would feel like sissies reporting a sore arm. There were a lot of sore arm reports to VAERS

    57% of women voted for Biden in 2020 and they would be reluctant to criticize “Biden’s” recommended vaccine

    Women are also 76% more likely than men to have visited a doctor within the past year. At the family level, women control 80% of healthcare decisions in the home.

    In late 2020, my wife and I, ages 71 and 67, decided against a vaccine for the simple reason that vaccines should take 10 years to develop and test, with a 98% failure rate, not nine months. I designed a food supplement “immune system vaccine” of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, zinc and Quercetin. Since 1/1/2020 we have had zero Covid19, zero Omicron, zero influenza and zero common colds.

    I believe the data since then show the mRNA vaccines were the least safe and least effective shots inflicted on the general public in history.

    There is zero evidence of lives saved and serious adverse side effects reported to VAERS were at least 50x worse than any vaccine after 1990.

    I made my own very conservative adjustments to VAERS reported deaths for articles on my blog at the time. I assumed 10% of deaths were reported, but 2/3 of them were coincidences not caused by the shots. That adjustment tripled the reported deaths.

    Here’s what I did to better understand VAERS data:

    I studied VAERS data comparison charts for various vaccines at the following website:


    I also read about 200 VAERS reports. I was surprised at how many people reported sore arms, but that minor injury could be relevant later.

  6. 1 – I am inclined to think you missed the real zinger in the paper – e.g. by writing: ” Antivaccine sentiment is increasingly associated with conservative political positions.” they both reveal their own biases and, more importantly conflate general anti-vax sentiment (e.g. people who wan’t vaccinate children against measles) with anti-That*BLANK* vax sentiment. The former group is not justified by the number the number, the latter one is.

    In fact I maintain that the true anti-vax people are people who can’t understand the logic of placing their kids at a small risk now in order to avoid a much higher risk later – wheras the pro-ThatVax people do just the opposite.

    2 – there’s not enough info in the paper to judge it – apriori it would be surprising if conservatives (smarter or better informed) didn’t file more complaints than complacent followers do.

  7. Cary D Cotterman

    You hit the nail on the head right near the beginning: “Republicans tend to be more Reality-oriented than those who call themselves Democrats.” Besides, how many Dems would admit, even to themselves, that an AE had taken place? It would be religious sacrilege. The antipode is what I have observed among leftists–every one that I am aware of. Without exception, they all claim to have had Covid multiple times, including “long Covid”. They claim that most of their friends have had it, too, usually including at least one acquaintance who has died. Covid persists as a seemingly never-ending major presence in their lives.

  8. Hagfish Bagpipe

    Add to your titles: Doctor Professor Reverend Detective Sargent Machine Gun Briggs.

  9. I am confident that if the 2020 election was honest and Trump won, Democrats in 2021 could not wait to report “Trump vaccine” injuries to VAERS. The NGOs would probably help them type in the data. Because then it would have been “Trump’s Vaccine” and Democrats hate Trump.

    A vaccine traditionally creates immunity. The mRNA COVID SHOTS DID NOT. Immunity means when you are infected, the antibodies destroy the infection so effectively that you had no idea you had been infected

    Covid shots did not prevent infections. They did not prevent deaths, based on all cause mortality data and they probably did not reduce hospitalizations although those data are tainted.

    Whatever the shots actually did, the net effect of people helped by them and people hurt by them adds up to “worthless”, at best. For some people the shots very harmful

    A likely reason is simple

    If you are among the 1% of people whose immune system can not handle a natural spike protein, then you would have the same problem(s) with mRNA shot generated spike proteins

    If the Covid19 spike protein is your weakness, then it should not matter how it got inside your body

  10. Rudolph Harrier

    Over the last few weeks we went through a round of recruiting for a new Stats position. I made sure to ask candidates about how exactly they calculated their p-values and what sorts of decisions they would interpret from them. About half knew what they were talking about. The other half did not, and get angry at being asked. It was to the point where if I asked them “what probability distribution did you use to calculate your p-value” they would insist that NO distribution was used, because the p-value supposedly is associated to the data without needing to assume a probability distribution for the null hypothesis. Effectively it was SPSS or something similar which created the p-value through some arcane magic.

    That’s the situation among professional statisticians that we talked to after eliminating many applicants based off weak transcripts, nonsensical research statements, etc. The percent of people who have no idea what p-values mean in the general population must be much higher. But it doesn’t matter since as we’ve seen time and time again (including with commenters on previous articles on this very website), people are more concerned with getting a number that they can use to publish an article than they are with accurately describing reality.

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