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.
Q: How do people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 pose a risk to people who have been vaccinated?
A: An unvaccinated person who is infected with COVID-19 poses a much greater risk to others who are also unvaccinated. But vaccines are not 100% effective, so there is a chance that an unvaccinated person could infect a vaccinated person — particularly the vulnerable, such as elderly and immunocompromised individuals.
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.
Federal employees — including at the White House — must attest to being vaccinated against COVID-19, or else comply with routine testing and mitigation measures. But conservative commentator Charlie Kirk claims that the “White House staff is not required to be vaccinated,” baselessly questioning if undisclosed concerns about the vaccines are at play.
The secretary of defense announced that COVID-19 vaccination will be mandatory for all service members by mid-September. But social media posts have shared an article from a dubious website that falsely claimed that the leader of the Marines “rebuked” the vaccine mandate. A Marine Corps spokesperson told us “there is no truth” to the claim.
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.
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.
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.