Technology Covid-19: a benefit-risk calculator for vaccines

Covid-19: a benefit-risk calculator for vaccines

A member of the hospital staff in Mont-de-Marsan (Landes) is vaccinated against Covid-19. Illustrative photo. (RENAUD BIONDI-MAUGEY / FRANCE-BLEU GASCOGNE)

The question today seems to be: Will there be a vaccine for me? Rather than: Do I have to get vaccinated? But before the vaccination campaign began, these epidemiologists were struck by the reluctance of many French people on the vaccine. That’s why they decided to show in a simple way how patients could calculate their own benefit / risk based on data from Pfizer and Moderna published in scientific journals.

This tool is a website, where you just have to choose your age, your sex and the type of vaccine, Moderna or Pfizer. Then it shows you on two graphs with colors what happens with or without vaccination. The software gives you precise figures of what happens in the event of strong circulation of the virus as today, if several thousand people in your case are vaccinated (50,000 people for one in five people with the Covid).

For example, for a woman between 30 and 39 years old who is vaccinated with Pfizer: it is one death less, 86 hospitalizations avoided as well as 307 long Covid, for only ten serious side effects. If it’s with Moderna, it’s about the same for the benefits but there 250 people will have side effects. Obviously, the older you get, the more you see the benefits. For example for a woman between 70 and 79 years, it will be 258 deaths avoided forever ten people with side effects, with the Pfizer vaccine.

This tool, which is not very ergonomic, does not allow you to tick dozens of subcategories, in particular on comorbidities. There are modeling tools there, but researchers from Inserm and the University of Paris did not want to make a model, they wanted to be based on real data even if they are dated today. Indeed, if variants completely change the form of the virus, if an effective preventive treatment is found, this will reduce the benefits of the vaccine. But researchers, like Dr Viet-Thi Tran who developed the tool, wanted doctors and patients to see quickly and easily what benefit or not there is for them to be vaccinated and not just for the community by avoiding cluttering doctors’ offices or emergency rooms. They also wanted to show younger patients, who do not see the benefit of the vaccine, that it avoids many long and disabling Covid with loss of smell, fatigue, neurological disorders.

For now, the researchers are testing their tool with 40,000 volunteer patients with chronic diseases. Those of the ComPaRe cohort, who have many questions about vaccines, but who also want to help research. If you want to be part of it, scientists are always recruiting new candidates to help them develop this type of tool: whether it’s for the vaccine or for deciding what treatment to follow for other diseases, like diabetes or cancers.

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