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    Correcting this week’s misinformation: week of January 4, 2024

    Do vaccines start a five month countdown to death?

    The Claim:

    A noted conspiracy theorist who believes the British royal family to be lizard people now claims that 52,500 British people have died from the COVID vaccine and that once you receive the vaccine, you have five months left to live. Which is a surprise to those of us who were vaccinated three years ago and are still alive.

    The Facts:

    The Office of National Statistics (ONS), where this data originated, shows that since COVID boosters became available in September 2021, monthly mortality rates for COVID-19 have consistently been lower for individuals who received a third dose or booster in the last 21 days compared to those who are unvaccinated or have only received one or two doses. Similar trends are seen for those who received a fourth dose or an extra booster in the spring 2022.

    The claimant falls into the trap of the base-rate fallacy: when a person ignores the probability that someone is vaccinated in the first place. For example, by the end of August 2022, over 93.6% of all people 12 years and up have had at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. The vaccination rate was even higher among those who are both older and more likely to die from COVID infection.

    Comparing the raw numbers of COVID cases rather than the rate of COVID infection by vaccine status, it seems there are more cases in the vaccinated population than in the unvaccinated population. But that is one way to make the numbers lie. The rate of infection, or what proportion of people died from COVID,  shows that you are much more likely to catch (and die) from COVID if you are unvaccinated.

    Disclaimer: Science is always evolving and our understanding of these topics may have evolved since it was originally posted. Browse the latest information posted in Just the Facts Topics.

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