PolitiFact “fact-checks” accurate reporting about study showing vaccines provide less immunity than prior infections

PolitiFact declared as “half true” a headline that accurately summarized the findings of a new study from Israel, showing higher likelihood of infections amongst recipients of COVID-19 vaccines than reinfections of people previously infected with the virus.

 

Summary

  • The Gateway Pundit reported on a new study by Maccabi Healthcare and Tel Aviv University.
  • The results of the Israeli study state “SARS-CoV-2-naïve vaccinees had a 13.06-fold (95% CI, 8.08 to 21.11) increased risk for breakthrough infection with the Delta variant compared to those previously infected.”
  • The Gateway Pundit accurately summarized the findings of the study in a headline that read “New Israeli Study Finds Fully Vaccinated People are at “Greater Risk of Hospitalization” and 13 TIMES MORE LIKELY to Catch Covid-19 Than Those Who Have Recovered and Have Natural Immunity.”
  • PolitiFact, in fact-checking the headline claim said the Gateway Pundit was “half true.”
  • In its reasoning, PolitiFact argued that because the study has not been peer-reviewed, concluding the statement is only “partially accurate” but “leaves out important details.”

PolitiFact has rated as “half true” a headline by the Gateway Pundit that accurately summarizes the findings of a study by Maccabi Healthcare and Tel Aviv University, showing those vaccinated against COVID-19 were 13 times more likely to still be infected than those not vaccinated. The study states “SARS-CoV-2-naïve vaccinees had a 13.06-fold (95% CI, 8.08 to 21.11) increased risk for breakthrough infection with the Delta variant compared to those previously infected.”

The Gateway Pundit reported accurately on the Israeli study, saying “”New Israeli Study Finds Fully Vaccinated People are at “Greater Risk of Hospitalization” and 13 TIMES MORE LIKELY to Catch Covid-19 Than Those Who Have Recovered and Have Natural Immunity.”

PolitiFact stated, in its reasoning for marking the Gateway Pundit down on an accurate headline summary, that the Israeli study has not been peer-reviewed. The Gateway Pundit never claimed in their article that the study was peer-reviewed and they emphasized that it is a “new” study. Rather than issuing demerits on a study lacking peer-review, a peer review process should take place to establish the credibility of the study. Nevertheless, Gateway Pundit reported accurately.

Of note, PolitiFact referenced this same study in a separate story this week. In their article, they note, “The study has been well received by some experts as an indicator of the strength of natural immunity.”

In their second article, PolitiFact still chided Alvin Moss, director of the West Virginia University Center for Health Ethics and Law, for citing the study in a discussion about the university’s vaccination policy and whether to make the vaccine mandatort.

In both articles, PolitiFact repeats the claim that citing the study, “suggests that people are better off going unvaccinated” and “ignores the fact that peer-reviewed studies repeatedly have found that vaccinated people are more likely to avoid hospitalization or death if they become infected.”

The problem with this above claim is that in their article, the Gateway Pundit never specifically argued that people are better going unvaccinated. The GP article simply pointed to an accurate study. Further, knowing that natural immunity may be superior to vaccine-based immunity is a relevant point of discussion for a university considering whether it can mandate its students, faculty and staff take the COVID-19 vaccines.

PolitiFact falsely labeled accurate reporting as “half true.”

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