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Fact-check: Vaccinated people are not more likely to die of COVID-19

Published on Wed 27 Apr 2022 at 07:28

A tweet claiming that “Government of Canada data shows the triple vaccinated are over 5x more likely to die of COVID-19 than the unvaccinated” is based on inaccurate data and unscientific methodology.  

By Tej Kumar

A viral tweet claims that “Government of Canada data shows the triple vaccinated are over 5x more likely to die of COVID-19 than the unvaccinated”. The tweet is based on an article from The Exposé, supposedly “run by extremely ordinary, hardworking people who are sick and tired of the fear-mongering, lies and propaganda perpetuated by the mainstream media”.

This is not the first time that the website has made misleading claims about COVID-19 vaccines. The article misrepresents the Government of Canada data on deaths caused by COVID-19 and overlooks the context of high vaccine coverage.

When an article fails to mention the data source, or uses anonymous and unauthorised data, there’s every reason to be wary. In this case, the data is clearly inaccurate. As per government records, the number of vaccinated people in Canada (at least one dose) as on February 20, 2022, is 84.52%. In other words, 15.48% of Canadians are unvaccinated. Given that the total population of the country is 38 million, the number of unvaccinated people comes to 5.88 million. However, the article claims that 13.11 million people in Canada are unvaccinated.

Also, the formula used for calculating immune system performance (%), which the article quotes as evidence for its misleading claim, is rather deceptive. “There are many factors that contribute to immune system performance, such as genetics and human lymphocyte antigen (HLA), to name some. Calculating it solely on the basis of the death rate among vaccinated and unvaccinated peoples is scientifically incorrect and invalid,” says Dr Sunil K. Arora, Professor of Immunology at the Department of Immunopathology and Head of Department of Translational & Regenerative Medicine at PGIMER Chandigarh, President of Indian Immunology Society. 

Incidentally, a recent study published by CDC finds that unvaccinated people are 14 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than individuals, across age groups, who were vaccinated. Vaccination works. There’s sufficient data to prove that. 

Stay safe and stay informed with First Check.

(This article has been updated)