Vaccinations – Are They Working?

How Protected Are We?

The numbers don’t lie, and even when they do, the truth is revealed – even in the lie.

If someone famous said those words I apologize for not giving proper adieu, my point is all we can do is look at is data when trying to ascertain whether the covid vaccines are truly effective.

In looking at the top five countries with the highest vaccination records, one would expect in these nations to have lower deaths and certainly lower cases. Let’s see if this bears out.

To do this we look at trends of both new cases and trending deaths following vaccination in a given country. We also look at the countries with the lowest vaccine rates and see how they are trending as well.

Top Five Most Vaccinated (by percentage of the population, 7-day trend)

Example: Portugal has 82% of its population vaccinated, new cases week to week are down 0.5% and daily deaths decreased 10% from one week ago.

Country/Vaxxed -/+ New Cases -/+ Deaths

1. Portugal/82% -0.5% -10%

2. Qatar/79% +4%    0%

3. Singapore/78% +5% +67%

4. Spain/77% -21% +54%

5. Uruguay/76% -0.3% -24%

and…for comparison

US/60% +8% +13%

Israel/60% +26% +32%

UK/70% +14% +9%

What we can see from these data sets is that outside of Portugal every country, despite massive vaccinations increased in one or both categories of cases AND deaths. Do you see a uniform decrease in cases and deaths? Do you see consistency in the effectiveness of vaccinations even in countries where a majority of the people have had at least one shot?

While health experts say getting a vaccine does seem to show a lower risk of dying from COVID-19, how would we know since the person who got sick will never know how they would have responded if they had NOT taken the vaccine?

Israel is probably the greatest example of the vaccine have little or negligible effect. 7 out of 10 people in that country have had vaccinations and yet new cases are up 14% and deaths have tripled.

Looking at the charts below, we can observe almost no change in the spread of covid.

One explanation is the Delta (Indian) variant caused a third wave in Israel and the U.S., . After inoculations began in late January you can see both new cases and deaths dropped for a few months, but then spiked up and continues. Common sense would indicate the current vaccines do not prevent infection with the Delta strain OR the vaccines are simply wearing off, or both.

Source: Our World in Data

Source: Our World in Data


Japan, Brazil, Turkey and India have less than 50% of their populations vaccinated. Let’s look at their numbers to see if NOT have a majority vaccinated population has increased new cases and deaths:

Country/Vaxxed -/+ New Cases -/+ Deaths

Japan/42% +37% +73%

Turkey/42% -10% +39%

Brazil/26% -3% -12%

India/9% -10% -4%

Analysis: India and Brazil have among the least number of vaccinations and seeing a lowering of cases and deaths. 

Charts showing death rates declining below.

Source: Our World in Data
Source: Our World in Data

By contrast, Israel, a leader in vaccinations is having a spike, yet India and Brazil with the least percentage of people vaccinated are both reporting lower cases and a lower percentage of deaths.

It would be hard to mount an argument, based on these data sets, that vaccines make a huge difference in lowering cases or deaths, and if we are to continue seeing new variants which are non-responsive to current vaccine regimens, future vaccines will need to be created to battle those variants as well, which will adapt anyway.

Upon further consideration, unvaccinated will have a better chance at developing immunity, and vaccines may actually be driving variants.

Jim Watkin is the host and producer of Candidly Speaking, the producer of the Coronavirus Update podcast and a 30-year news journalist for print and radio.

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