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People queue up for COVID-19 booster shots outside a vaccination centre at St. Thomas Hospital in London on December 15, 2021. (AP) People queue up for COVID-19 booster shots outside a vaccination centre at St. Thomas Hospital in London on December 15, 2021. (AP)

People queue up for COVID-19 booster shots outside a vaccination centre at St. Thomas Hospital in London on December 15, 2021. (AP)

Monique Curet
By Monique Curet February 1, 2022

Data does not show COVID-19 vaccine failure in England

If Your Time is short

The data cited is only from England, not all of the United Kingdom.

The data shows the rate of hospitalization and death is “substantially greater” in unvaccinated people compared with vaccinated people, according to the U.K. Health Security Agency.

• In England, the rate of a positive COVID-19 test is higher in vaccinated people aged 30 and older, compared with unvaccinated people. However, that is expected in a country with very high vaccine coverage. 

 

A doctor known for funding and spreading vaccine misinformation says evidence from overseas proves COVID-19 vaccines are failing — a claim that has been repeatedly debunked.

"British data show the COVID shots are an abysmal failure, as COVID infection rates in the U.K. are higher among the ‘fully vaccinated’ in all adult cohorts," read an article by Dr. Joseph Mercola. 

The article, published Jan. 25 on Mercola’s website, was shared on Facebook and flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Overall, COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide robust protection against hospitalization and death, in England and elsewhere.

Origin of the data cited by Mercola

Mercola made a few errors when referencing what he calls "British data." He cites a Jan. 13 report from the U.K. Health Security Agency, "National Flu and COVID-19 Surveillance Report." He says it "shows COVID infection rates in the U.K. are higher among the ‘fully vaccinated’ in all adult cohorts."

But the data Mercola cited is only from England, not all of the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Also, that report does not contain data about COVID-19 cases by vaccination status. Information about cases, deaths and hospitalization by vaccination status is in a separate weekly government report called "COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report."

Data from England shows the rate of hospitalization and death is "substantially greater" in unvaccinated people compared with vaccinated people, according to the U.K. Health Security Agency.

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The rate of positive tests in England is higher in vaccinated people aged 30 and older, according to the U.K. Health Security Agency. However, that is expected in a country with very high vaccine coverage, the agency said.

Rate of infection, hospitalization and death

The rate of hospitalization and death remains much higher among the unvaccinated than the vaccinated.

For example, among people ages 40 to 49 who were diagnosed with COVID-19, about 11 per 100,000 who were vaccinated were admitted to the hospital, compared with about 33 per 100,000 who were unvaccinated.

The difference becomes more pronounced as age increases. The data on deaths shows similar disparities.

PolitiFact has debunked several similar claims that vaccinated people in England are dying at a higher rate than the unvaccinated.

Our ruling

An article that’s being shared on Facebook says, "British data show the COVID shots are an abysmal failure, as COVID infection rates in the U.K. are higher among the ‘fully vaccinated’ in all adult cohorts."

The data cited is only from England, not all of the United Kingdom. It also does not prove the vaccines are a failure.

Data from England shows the rate of hospitalization and death is "substantially greater" in unvaccinated people compared with vaccinated people. The rate of positive tests in England is higher in vaccinated people aged 30 and older, but health officials say that is expected in a country with very high vaccine coverage.

We rate this claim False.

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Data does not show COVID-19 vaccine failure in England

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