The Covid-19 vaccines do protect against severe disease

15 October 2021
What was claimed

Covid-19 vaccines weaken your immune system and make it harder for your body to fight the disease.

Our verdict

This is not true. Covid-19 vaccines help your body to fight the disease, and are highly effective at preventing hospitalisation and death.

A screenshot being shared on Instagram claims that Covid-19 vaccines make people more likely to suffer from severe Covid. This is not correct—indeed the opposite is true.

The screenshot, headed “Covid Vaccine Injuries”, shows a comment in which the author says that their aunt works in a hospital in Georgia, and has said that fully vaccinated patients there are more seriously ill than unvaccinated ones. The post explains this by claiming that the vaccines “weaken your immune system to were [sic] the body can’t fight the infection”.

In fact, the latest evidence assessed by the UK government’s scientific advisors in August 2021 suggests that the vaccines are highly effective at preventing hospitalisation.

The advisors’ statement said: “For hospitalisation, with both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines, protection is ~80% after one dose and ~95% after the second dose.”

The latest assessment by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) also found that all three Covid vaccines currently in use in the UK are more than 90% effective in preventing hospitalisation or death with Covid.

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Most vulnerable people are now vaccinated

We have not checked the hospital data in Georgia, but it would not be surprising to find that in places where the vast majority of the most vulnerable people have had the vaccine, most serious Covid cases are among the vaccinated

In the UK, the latest data from the UKHSA shows that fully vaccinated people account for a higher number of emergency admissions and deaths than unvaccinated people—but this does not mean that the vaccine is making them more severely ill.

Instead, it reflects the fact that the vast majority of the most vulnerable age groups and a large majority of the overall population have now been vaccinated. As a result, even the small proportion of vaccinated people who get seriously ill with Covid can amount to a higher absolute number.

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