Original article (in Croatian) was published on 07/01/2022
The marginal website Epoha is spreading an inaccurate claim that the UK Health Security Agency acknowledges that vaccinated people have reduced immunity against the omicron strain of the new coronavirus.
“Vaccinated people have no protection against the virus, and Covid certificates allow them to spread the virus without hindrance” – this is the title of a misleading article published on the website Epoha, which recently has been spreading misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic (archived here).
The article incorrectly claims that the UK Health Security Agency, in its report from 31 December, acknowledged that “a permanent decline in immunity has been observed in people who have received two doses of the vaccine, and in the long run those people will be far more vulnerable to further mutations”.
“So, apart from the fact that a much higher percentage of vaccinated people end up in hospitals, 72% of them (25.3%) compared to unvaccinated people, it is clear that protection against infection of the so-called Omicron in people who were vaccinated twice, is literally zero, as for those with three doses received, it is about 40% with a further tendency to fall”, claims the website Epoha and concludes that “unvaccinated people who left the fight against this virus to their own immunity are now in a much better position than their vaccinated citizens, and the number of those who die or end up in a hospital is much lower”.
What does the report really say
These allegations are not true, nor is it true that anything like this can be read from the relevant report of the UK Health Security Agency.
Moreover, the report cites two studies that showed that vaccination protects against omicron, especially against hospitalization and death. They note that these studies are based on small samples whose results have yet to be replicated. However, the report emphasizes that the rate of omicron spread can lead to a large number of hospitalizations.
The UK Health Security Agency encourages citizens to receive a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, stating that people who are vaccinated with three doses have a 68 percent lower risk of ending up in the hospital than unvaccinated.
Part of the report is also a table showing that most patients with omicron in hospitals in England are vaccinated. While 25.3 percent were not vaccinated, 43.2 percent were vaccinated with two doses, and 23.3 percent were vaccinated with three doses. However, in the article, the website Epoha fails to note that the Agency clarified how these figures should be interpreted in the report.
“When we interpret Table 3, it should be clear that in a population with a high proportion of vaccinated people, most of the reported cases will also be among those vaccinated. If we take into account the level of vaccination in England, it shows that among unvaccinated people there is a higher share of cases compared to their share in the population, while this share is lower among people who received the third dose or booster. Vaccine efficacy data cannot be read from this table”.
In the UK, 76 percent of the population received at least one dose of the vaccine (Our World in Data). This roughly corresponds to the share of vaccinated in England, where more than 43 million people received at least one dose.
Efficacy against omicron
The efficacy of the omicron vaccine is therefore discussed in detail below. It is stated that the effectiveness against symptomatic disease after two received doses decreases sharply, and after five months, it is around zero. It is also stated that the effectiveness of the omicron vaccine after the third dose is about 60 percent. The bad news is that there is also a noticeable drop in protection over time (as illustrated by the attached graph).
In other words, the UK Health Security Agency continues to recommend vaccination to citizens. It is not true that the Agency said that vaccinated people are more vulnerable to mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 virus, nor that hospitalization data show that vaccination adversely affects immunity against omicron.
It should also be noted that the Croatian Institute of Public Health data clearly show that the majority of hospitalizations and deaths are still recorded among unvaccinated patients.
We remind you that we have written about similar disinformation based on the previous misinterpretation of this agency’s report. In December, we thus exposed the claim that Britain had recognized that the vaccine was damaging the immune system as inaccurate.