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Fact Check Library

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The COVID-19 vaccine doubles your chances of catching the virus.

Claims that the vaccine weakens the immune system are based on a misrepresentation of the available data.

An article from The Exposé (formerly The Daily Expose) claims that the 'COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report' from the U.K. Health Security Agency (HSA) published on January 13 shows that COVID-19 mRNA vaccines double the likelihood of someone catching the virus. This is false, and a misreading of the data published in the report.

The Exposé article takes the difference in percentage between the HSA's reported rates of infection in vaccinated and unvaccinated people as indicative of a causal relationship between the vaccine and the rates of infection. It claims that this difference suggests that the vaccine has a detrimental impact on the immune system of those who receive it. This claim is false, and has no basis in medical research.

The Exposé article also misrepresents the HSA data by taking it out of context. Given the high rate of vaccine uptake in the U.K., with 72.5 percent of the country being fully vaccinated, the fact that vaccinated individuals make up a larger proportion of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths than unvaccinated individuals ought to be expected as a matter of statistical inevitability.

The U.K. government report explicitly reminds readers that "Comparing case rates among vaccinated and unvaccinated populations should not be used to estimate vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 infection ... The case rates in the vaccinated and unvaccinated populations are unadjusted crude rates that do not take into account underlying statistical biases in the data and there are likely to be systematic differences between these two population groups."

These statistical biases include circumstantial factors. For instance, fully vaccinated people may be more health-conscious and, therefore, more likely to get tested for COVID-19. It may also be the case that fully vaccinated people exhibit different social behaviors than the unvaccinated, such as being less cautious when going out and socializing because they feel confident in the vaccine's protection, leading to an increased possibility of breakthrough infection. Vaccinated individuals are also much more likely to be from populations that are at higher risk from severe illness, such as the immunocompromised or older people, as they were prioritized during the vaccine rollout.

The Exposé is a known has repeatedly been shown to be an unreliable source of information, and has consistently published articles that misrepresent official data by taking it out of context in order to support conspiratorial narratives. In previous articles, they have claimed that the vaccines underwent no official safety testing before being distributed to the public, and that the vaccines have led to mass deaths. Both of these claims, among numerous others, have been proven false.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.

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