I want to break through

Vaccine breakthroughs are currently a hotly debated topic. Such “clinically proven infections by a pathogen against which the infected person has already been fully vaccinated”[1] are not conducive to an already faltering vaccination campaign, especially when the emerging extent of this phenomenon is assuming frightening dimensions. The reactions of those responsible and those in favour of vaccination could not be more bizarre, which is why we present a few gems here.

Vaccine breakthroughs are as normal as that

We would like to start with a tweet from Quarks[2], the science editorial department of WDR, which stood out due to a very idiosyncratic interpretation of the situation; together with the description:

“Many people worry that there are more and more vaccine breakthroughs. But they are a good indication that more and more people are being vaccinated — and serious courses are being prevented.”

they presented the following infographic:

The calculations are simple: based on 2 different vaccination rates, the probable hospitalizations and the corresponding proportions of unvaccinated and vaccinated persons are determined for one million persons who fall ill with Corona. With vaccination rates of 68% and 90%, respectively, 16% and 45% of those hospitalized are vaccinated. The proportion of vaccination breakthroughs thus increases with the vaccination rate, while vaccination effectiveness remains the same. The conclusion drawn from this is that this is “normal” and suggests (“a good indication”) that the increased occurrence of vaccination breakthroughs is solely due to the rising vaccination rate.

An analysis with the rules of elementary logic immediately shows a fallacy here: if the vaccination rate increases while the effectiveness of the vaccine remains the same, and the number of vaccination breakthroughs then increases, the reverse is only true: if the proportion of breakthroughs remained constant or decrease, the vaccination effectiveness would have improved as the vaccination rate increased. The possibility that the clustering of vaccine breakthroughs could be due to weakening vaccine effectiveness is thus not refuted and still exists.

So, we have here the classic case of a straw man argument. We refute a statement that in this case is trivially wrong anyway: only the incidences of disease in the vaccinated/unvaccinated groups are relevant, the pure percentage share says nothing[3]. It is a trap that initially, as we know, our Ministry of Health also fell into in its weekly reports, to then conclude, or at least suggest, that any increase in the number of vaccination breakthroughs is only due to a higher vaccination rate.

If one calculates the respective incidences of unvaccinated IU and vaccinated IV, one then also obtains the same values for the two vaccination rates:

Vaccination rate 68%: I_U = \frac{640}{0,32 \cdot 1.000.000} \approx 0,002 and I_V = \frac{122}{0,68 \cdot 1.000.000} \approx 0,00018

Vaccination rate 90%: I_U = \frac{200}{0,10 \cdot 1.000.000} \approx 0,002 and I_V = \frac{162}{0,90 \cdot 1.000.000} \approx 0,00018

We are thus witnessing how an exceptional case (vaccine breakthrough) that actually contradicts a successful vaccine effectiveness is reinterpreted as “normal”, even as proof of the quality of an “effective” vaccination.

Incidentally, the same reasoning was also used by the Ministry of Health to “understand the increasing number of hospital admissions among vaccinated patients”[4].

The weekly “control experiment” of the Ministry of Health

Also, Ms Lenert’s answer to ADR MEP Reding’s parliamentary question No. 5169[5] fits seamlessly into this article.

When asked why the unvaccinated are lumped together with the partially vaccinated in one category in the weekly reports, Ms Lenert replied:

Net geimpften Leit an deelweis geimpfte Leit sinn an der Kategorie vun den ongeimpften Leit gruppéiert, well dës Leit d’Unzuel vun den néidegen Injektiounen nach net kritt hunn fir hiren Impfplang ze vervollstännegen.

Dës Kategorisatioun fir net geimpften Leit an deelweis geimpften Leit gëtt benotzt, well béid Kategorien vun Leit no den Reegelen vum Covid Check net gréng sinn, mee rout uschloen wat hiren Impfstatus ugeet.

Thus, a nonmedical criterion is used to determine the categories, which in this context could be understood as experimental and control group[6]. (We had pointed out that due to the high positive rate of the partially vaccinated, this biases the evaluation in favour of vaccination).

Finally, for the group of the partially vaccinated, we elaborate:

An deene leschten Wochen hunn déi deelweis geimpften Leit ongeféier 3% vun all den deklaréierten Fäll ausgemaach, esou dat déi Fäll, epidemiologesch gesinn, eng ganz kleng Roll spillen. Aus dësem Gronn ginn dës Kategorien net méi eenzel an den Rapport’en opgelëscht.

Considering that in calendar weeks 38 and 39, about one third of those who tested positive were still partially vaccinated[6], the question arises as to how this proportion could shrink in such a drastic way in such a short time, especially since the number of those who were partially vaccinated remained more or less the same during this period.

Perhaps one should also not be so naïve as to believe that the Ministry of Health, which promotes the Corona vaccines as highly effective, will readily serve up figures for a counter-argument in this regard on a silver platter.

Even if one divides the categories according to the rules of CovidCheck, a trend can be observed recently that suggests a strong decline in vaccine effectiveness.


[1] Duden: Impfdurchbruch

[2] Quarks/WDR: So normal sind Impfdurchbrüche trotz wirksamer Impfung

[3] Expressis Verbis: Die Abrechnung

[4] Covid19.lu: Die steigende Zahl von Krankenhauseinweisungen bei geimpften Patienten verstehen 

[5] Parlamentarische Frage Nr. 5169 von Roy Reding

[6] Expressis Verbis: Pandemie der Geimpften