A tweet on July 23 claimed that among the hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the U.K., 60% of them had developed serious or critical conditions “due to vaccination.”
The Twitter account is associated with News Insight, an Epoch Times video program featuring opinions on current affairs.
The tweet included a video of Tucker Carlson Tonight, the Fox News current affairs program in the United States.
In the clip, the host, Tucker Carlson, commented on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines and said Patrick Vallance, the U.K. government’s chief scientific adviser, supposedly admitted 60% of the country’s COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized have been vaccinated.
The same content was also posted by another Twitter user and together, the claim had at least 600 likes and 470 retweets as of this writing.
But the claim is false.
Annie Lab found the original footage of this video in which Vallance did say 60% of the hospitalized COVID-19 patients were fully vaccinated in a press conference on July 19; however, he made a correction immediately on the same day including this tweet stating he meant 60% of the hospitalized COVID-19 patients were unvaccinated.
While this correction is acknowledged by Carlson’s show, it is not reflected in the tweet in question.
The accompanying TV show footage has added subtitles both in English and Chinese but Annie Lab found that Carlson’s speech has been wrongly transcribed with misspellings and grammatical errors in English.
The Chinese subtitles, meanwhile, are not exact translations. They even call the COVID-19 virus “the Chinese Communist Party virus” (「因此，在英國醫院住院的患者中有60%嚴重危及生命的中共病毒的案例，而原因在於已完全接種疫苗」).
The subtitles of dubious accuracy imply that the false claim could have been made deliberately. The Chinese tweet was posted after similar claims in English have already been fact-checked by Politifact and Health Feedback, besides Vallance’s correction.
In the U.K., four COVID-19 vaccines have been approved to date; Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech have been available for a while and Janssen will be made available later this year.
However, vaccine efficacy rates can drop as variants of the COVID-19 virus emerge.
In June, Moderna said its jab has shown a “modest reduction in neutralizing titers” against the delta variant, for example. Titers refer to the “detection of antibodies in the blood in a laboratory test,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States.
According to this study, the protection against COVID-19 symptomatic disease of two doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is 74.5% with the alpha variant, and 67% with the delta variant.
In the same study, Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is reported to have 88% effectiveness against the delta variant, compared to 93.7% against the alpha variant.
However, the lower effectiveness does not mean that the vaccines are not working.
Jamie Hartmann Boyce from the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford said in an article, “COVID is also growing among the vaccinated because the number of people in the U.K. who have had both doses is continuing to rise.”
On July 29, Jamie Lopez Bernal, a consultant epidemiologist at Public Health England (PHE), also stated, “it remains vital that everyone gets 2 doses of the vaccine, to protect you and those around you from COVID-19.”
The PHE said the vaccination program has prevented 60,000 deaths and 22 million infections as of July 23.
The U.K. has reported more than 5.9 million COVID-19 cases, with more than 129,000 deaths. To date, the country has given more than 46 million first doses of COVID-19 vaccines. There are approximately 6,000 patients hospitalized at the moment.