The Biden administration announced that third shots of the two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines would be available to healthy people starting in mid-September. But many scientists say it’s not yet clear that boosters are needed.
An Instagram post highlighted a headline about a non-peer-reviewed study from Israel that found that unvaccinated people previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 had greater immunity against the delta variant than never-infected people fully vaccinated with Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. But the social media post omitted the study’s other finding that one dose of the vaccine enhanced protection for infection survivors.
In a viral video, an Indiana physician baselessly claimed that the COVID-19 vaccines, which have been shown to be safe and effective, “fight the virus wrong and let the virus become worse than it would with native infection.” He also incorrectly said no vaccine prevents infection and contended that people previously infected with COVID-19 do not benefit from vaccination, despite studies that suggest otherwise.
Social media posts are misinterpreting the results of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, which found 74% of people in a COVID-19 outbreak were vaccinated, to argue against immunization. But experts say the statistic is misleading without more context — and doesn’t mean that the vaccines don’t work.
Multiple studies show the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines continue to be effective against the delta variant of the coronavirus, even if the potency of the vaccines is somewhat reduced. But a guest on Fox News falsely claimed the delta variant “really is not responsive at all, or protected at all by the vaccines” and there is “no clinical reason to go get vaccinated.”
An epidemiologist recommended that people get the COVID-19 vaccine because some evidence suggests an unvaccinated person who gets the delta variant is “twice as likely to require hospital treatment” than someone infected with the alpha variant. But a Facebook video twists that advice to claim that he said vaccinated people would be twice as likely to be hospitalized.
The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines authorized for use were found to be safe and effective in clinical trials and real-world conditions. A professor in Ireland baselessly claims in a video circulating on social media that they are not, and that those who get the vaccines will die as a result within several years.
Federal officials authorized two mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 after they were determined to be safe and effective against symptomatic illness in clinical trials. But a Texas doctor, in a widely shared video, falsely claims the vaccines don’t provide protection and that they’re actually “experimental gene therapy.”
Efficacy is a measure of how well a vaccine performs in a clinical trial. It specifically refers to a relative reduction in infection or disease when comparing the vaccinated group to the placebo (or control) group.
For instance, both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were primarily evaluated for their ability to prevent symptomatic COVID-19, with the former having a 95% efficacy and the latter having a 94% efficacy in the clinical trial data submitted for the original authorization by the Food and Drug Administration.