There is evidence vaccines reduce risk of Covid-19 illness

26 February 2021
What was claimed

Vaccines don’t stop you getting Covid-19 or spreading it.

Our verdict

The Pfizer and AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines reduce your chances of getting sick with Covid-19. There’s some limited evidence the Pfizer vaccine may stop you being infected with Covid-19 at all.

A post on Facebook has claimed that the Covid-19 vaccine “doesn't stop you getting [Covid-19] or spreading it”. 

The Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines, which have been approved for use in the UK, have both been shown in multiple rounds of studies to reduce your chances of getting severely ill with Covid-19.

The Facebook post is accompanied by a screenshot from the government website which says: “We do not yet know whether [getting vaccinated] will stop you from catching and passing on the virus.”

This is referring to the fact that it is not yet clear whether being vaccinated can stop you getting infected with the Covid-19 virus, and then passing it on. This is different to getting ill from Covid-19. For example, you can become infected with the virus but not show any symptoms, or get particularly sick.

However, some data from the initial roll-out of the Pfizer vaccine in the UK shows that one dose reduces the risk of becoming infected by more than 70%, rising to 85% after the second dose. This data looked at results of the tests given to healthcare workers every two weeks, whether or not they have symptoms. 

These results show the vaccine may be able to stop transmission, as you cannot pass on the virus if you are not infected with it.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as missing context because the vaccines do reduce the chance of you getting sick with Covid-19, although it’s not proven that they can stop you getting infected at all.

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