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Andy Nguyen
By Andy Nguyen June 22, 2021

Unvaccinated people haven’t ‘escaped’ COVID-19 variants

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  • Unvaccinated people are more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, including the virus’s more transmissible variants.
  • Mutations of the coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms among unvaccinated people.  

A social media post claims that COVID-19 vaccination is unnecessary since unvaccinated people have "escaped every single strain" of the coronavirus.

"When the vaccinated start getting sick and they blame the new variant, how will they explain how the unvaccinated have escaped every single strain or ‘variant’?" said a May 15 Facebook post.

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

People who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 are more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Mutations of the virus have also become more easily transmissible and can cause more severe symptoms among unvaccinated people. A surge in Oregon among the state's unvaccinated population is a result of the Alpha variant, while Colorado has seen the Delta variant account for 40% of the state’s new infections in populations with low vaccination rates.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a June 8 briefing it was vital that people in the United States get vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent a surge of the Delta variant similar to the one being experienced in the United Kingdom. The U.K. surge is due to its unvaccinated population, particularly children and young adults, according to him.

"In the UK, the Delta variant is rapidly emerging as the dominant variant — greater than 60%," Fauci said. "The transmission is peaking in the younger group of 12- to 20-year-olds — mainly that group that we’re concerned about here, about making sure they get vaccinated."

Around 45% of people in the United States have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and about 53% of the population has received their first dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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While the number of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths related to COVID-19 has been on a steady decline on a national level since mass vaccinations began earlier this year, the same can’t be said if vaccinated people were completely out of the equation. A study by the Washington Post found that among unvaccinated people, the national death rate has remained the same since April, and the hospitalization rate is still just as high as it was in March.

On a state-by-state level, places like Florida and New Jersey have a 50% higher death rate for unvaccinated people, according to the Post. In Washington, D.C. and Michigan, unvaccinated people are twice as likely to be hospitalized because of the virus.

Although no vaccine is 100% effective, the protection provided by the three vaccines currently being used in the United States significantly reduces the risk of serious infection from the virus. 

There have been some instances where people got COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated. These "breakthrough" cases are expected, the CDC said, "especially before population immunity reaches sufficient levels to further decrease transmission."

However, despite these breakthrough infections, the CDC has said the vaccines still "offer protection against most variants currently spreading in the United States."

Our ruling

A Facebook post claims, "the unvaccinated have escaped every single strain or 'variant’" of the coronavirus.

Unvaccinated people are highly susceptible to contracting COVID-19, including from emerging variants. 

We rate this claim False.

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Unvaccinated people haven’t ‘escaped’ COVID-19 variants

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