UKHSA data reaffirms that vaccines work against Omicron
13 January 2022
What was claimed
The latest data from the UKHSA appears to show Covid-19 vaccines do not prevent hospitalisation or death from the disease.
False. No vaccine is 100% effective, but the Covid-19 vaccines are highly effective against hospitalisation and death. The data from the UKHSA cannot be used to estimate vaccine effectiveness.
An article on the blog The Exposé makes the claim that the latest data on Covid-19 from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) appears to show that Covid-19 vaccines do not prevent hospitalisation or death.
While no vaccine is 100% effective, the UKHSA is clear that the vaccines are highly effective against Covid-19 particularly when it comes to hospitalisation or death. The vaccines have also been shown to provide protection against the newer Omicron variant.
The figures in question are the Covid-19 case, hospitalisation and death totals broken down by vaccine status in the four weeks to 2 January 2022. The Exposé compares the proportion of these totals which are vaccinated and unvaccinated.
The UKHSA says this data should not be used to make claims about vaccine effectiveness “because of differences in risk, behaviour and testing in the vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.”.
Essentially, you can’t isolate the effect of vaccines using these figures, because they will be influenced by other factors that differ between vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
For example, the UKHSA says that “people who are fully vaccinated may be more health conscious and therefore more likely to get tested for COVID-19 and so more likely to be identified as a case.”
The UKHSA says: “In the context of very high vaccine coverage in the population, even with a highly effective vaccine, it is expected that a large proportion of cases, hospitalisations and deaths would occur in vaccinated individuals, simply because a larger proportion of the population are vaccinated than unvaccinated and no vaccine is 100% effective.”
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For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false
because the piece concludes that the evidence shows vaccines are ineffective, which is false and an inappropriate use of the data.