The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines teach the immune system to recognize and fight the coronavirus, greatly reducing the likelihood of severe disease if a person is infected. There is no evidence the vaccines impair immunity, as some, including Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, have baselessly claimed.
Those who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 are more prone to serious illness and are dying at higher rates than those who are vaccinated. But partisan social media accounts, including a post by a member of former President Donald Trump’s campaign legal team, continue to misleadingly suggest the vaccines are unnecessary and discourage their use.
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.
Florida health officials have reported a 60% rise in COVID-19 cases, and hospitals are reporting that 95% of COVID-19 patients are not fully vaccinated. But a Facebook post makes the baseless claims that Florida’s numbers are not going up, and that all COVID-19 patients recently admitted to a Palm Beach County hospital had been vaccinated.
Community immunity, often referred to as herd immunity, refers to a situation in which enough of a population is immune to an infectious disease, either through vaccination or prior infection, to largely stop transmission of the disease and indirectly protect those who aren’t immune. The more contagious the disease, the higher proportion of people need to have immunity to get community immunity.
This classical definition applies to diseases such as measles,