It’s estimated that COVID-19 vaccines have saved millions of lives, but false claims continue to cast doubt on their safety and efficacy. One such claim that has spread around the world falsely suggests that three Canadian doctors died from the shots. But they each died of a long-term illness unrelated to the vaccines.
Q. Are vaccinated and boosted people more susceptible to infection or disease with the omicron variant than unvaccinated people?
A. No. Getting vaccinated increases your protection against COVID-19. Sometimes, certain raw data can suggest otherwise, but that information cannot be used to determine how well a vaccine works.
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.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it “recommends that children get four doses of polio vaccine.” But Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, when speaking against a potential fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccines, wrongly suggested that the CDC doesn’t recommend four shots of the polio vaccine.
Studies have shown that COVID-19 vaccines have prevented severe disease and deaths. But bogus claims that they don’t work continue to circulate online. One claim relies on a misleading graph showing cumulative deaths in the U.S., but omits information about the number of deaths among the vaccinated versus unvaccinated since the shots became available.
Rare cases of myocarditis have been reported following the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, particularly among young males after a second dose. Most cases resolve quickly without the need for advanced therapies, although research on any potential long-term effects is ongoing. Nonetheless, the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks in all populations, even in young males.
Clinical and real-world studies have shown that the COVID-19 vaccines are effective in preventing serious disease, and there is a long history of vaccine requirements in the U.S. But a list of bogus claims, shared around the world in recent months, falsely attributes unique characteristics and requirements to COVID-19 vaccines.
A COVID-19 booster dose increases protection against the coronavirus. But in an interview, comedian Bill Maher incorrectly said COVID-19 booster shots were “useless” and could cause “immune system fatigue.” Online, others have made similar claims. There is no basis for the notion that the immune system would tire out, even after repeated boosters.
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.