Vaccination Arithmetic

A good deal of the current discussion of vaccination takes it for granted that it is in almost everyone’s interest to get vaccinated, hence that failure to get vaccinated is evidence of false beliefs or irrational behavior. To see why this is not true for everyone, it is worth looking at some numbers.

According to the CDC, the estimated infection fatality rate is 0.05 percent for 18-to-49-year-olds. I start my calculations with someone who is certain to get infected and has a life expectancy of thirty years. Thirty years is 262,800 hours, so the reduction in life expectancy is .0005×262,800=131 hours.

If you believe your chance of getting infected is only .1, not unreasonable if you regard the current wave as the last of the epidemic, that reduces it to 13 hours. If you are 25, which according to one source gives an IFR of .01, that takes it down to less than three hours. Saving that may not be worth the time and trouble of two injections, a likely few days of not very serious side effects and some small risk of more substantial side effects. The same is more true for younger ages or people in particularly good health.

Source: Vaccination Arithmetic