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.
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.