As of early December, unvaccinated adults were about 97 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people who had received boosters, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. But a Twitter user falsely implied that the death rate for the unvaccinated included people who had only one or two doses of a vaccine. The CDC said “unvaccinated” means someone has “not been verified to have received COVID-19 vaccine.”
The approved and authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. are effective at preventing severe disease, and experts say the benefits of vaccination for children outweigh any known or potential risk. But social media users have shared video of Dr. Robert Malone misleadingly asserting that the COVID-19 vaccines are “not working” and claiming without evidence that many children “will be hospitalized” and may experience brain damage and infertility due to the vaccines.
Many U.S. athletes have been vaccinated against COVID-19 without any adverse effects. But a conservative outlet has cited a list of supposedly vaccine-injured athletes to claim “there may be something wrong with the vaccine.” There’s no proof that the listed athletes — most of them are actually retired — were harmed by the vaccines.
The COVID-19 death rate for unvaccinated people has been significantly higher than for vaccinated people in both Israel and the U.S. Despite that, conservative commentator Ben Swann makes the false claim in a video that Israeli data prove vaccines aren’t effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths. But the charts he uses don’t distinguish between vaccinated and unvaccinated patients.
More than 70% of Japan’s population has received the COVID-19 vaccines, and the government is moving ahead with a booster shot in December. But a conservative radio host in the U.S. falsely claimed, “Japan drops vax rollout, goes to Ivermectin.” Japan hasn’t stopped its vaccine program and hasn’t approved ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment.
Raw numbers of hospitalizations or deaths among those who are vaccinated are not a good indicator of whether vaccines are effective. If the large majority of a population is vaccinated, it’s not surprising if most deaths are among the vaccinated. But social media posts misuse data from the U.K. to suggest the COVID-19 vaccines don’t work.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell died from complications of COVID-19. Although he was fully vaccinated, he was also 84 years old and was a cancer patient who had undergone treatment for multiple myeloma — factors that put him at higher risk of a serious breakthrough illness. His death does not mean the COVID-19 vaccines don’t work, as many social media posts suggest.
NBA star Bradley Beal made some misleading comments — shared in viral video clips — about the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. No vaccine is 100% effective, but clinical trials and studies show the COVID-19 vaccines are very effective at preventing illness, particularly serious illness, including for those previously infected, such as Beal.