Health and Fitness

Relative Risk

According to Wikipedia, the relative risk or risk ratio is the ratio of the probability of an outcome in an unexposed group to the probability of an outcome in in an exposed group. Together with risk difference and odds ratio, relative risk measures in the association between the exposure and the outcome.

Clearly, the risk of blood clots from the vaccine is extremely low. It is actually lower than your risk of being struck by lightning.

Another common analogy that I came across when thinking about this topic was seatbelt usage. Approximately 30,000 people die in the United States every year in motor vehicle accidents. It is estimated that seatbelts save approximately 14,000 lives per year. Clearly however, there is a small percentage of people the die because they had their seatbelt on either from being trapped in their car or from direct trauma from the belt itself. Virtually no one however, is arguing that you should not wear your seatbelt because it is not safe.

The risk of catching, and the potential devastating consequences of the COVID 19 infection are exponentially worse then any potential side effects of the vaccine. Further, you can’t catch the COVID-19 infection from the vaccine because it does not contain live virus.

As a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician, I evaluate risk and reward all the time. I unfortunately see the consequences in patients that engage in high-risk behaviors and suffer devastating injuries. Activities such as racing a motorcycle without a helmet or speeding without a seatbelt greatly increase the probability of a negative outcome.

We’ve been given a great opportunity, with the development of three safe and thoroughly evaluated vaccines. This is our opportunity to protect the health of ourselves, our friends and family, and allow society to reopen.

When you consider the great history of vaccine safety and effectiveness, and all that they have done to eradicate diseases, and protect the health of ourselves and our children, it is clear that the relative risk is greatly in our favor!

Stay well!


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