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SciCheck’s COVID-19/Vaccination Project

SciCheck Video: Don’t Confuse the Virus with the Disease

This article is available in both English and Español

In this video, we explain the distinction between virus and disease: The virus SARS-CoV-2 can lead to illness with the disease COVID-19.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, explained this difference between infection with the virus and the disease in an interview on CNN, saying that with vaccination against COVID-19: “You could be prevented from getting clinical disease, and still have the virus that is in your nasopharynx because you could get infected.”

A viral video distorted those comments, falsely suggesting that a COVID-19 vaccine authorized in the U.S doesn’t “protect you from covid.” The vaccine does protect against the disease COVID-19. Fauci was cautioning that it may not prevent someone from contracting the virus.  

For more on the viral distortion, see our SciCheck story “Video Misinterprets Fauci’s Comments on COVID-19 Vaccine” or the Spanish version, “Video tergiversa comentarios de Fauci sobre vacuna contra COVID-19.”

Editor’s note: SciCheck’s COVID-19/Vaccination Project is made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The foundation has no control over our editorial decisions, and the views expressed in our articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the foundation. The goal of the project is to increase exposure to accurate information about COVID-19 and vaccines, while decreasing the impact of misinformation.