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COVID vaccines lower hospitalizations across the board, not just in the US

January 26, 2022 GMT

CLAIM: Vaccines only reduce hospitalizations in the U.S., not in other countries.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: FALSE. COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to reduce rates of hospitalization in several countries.

THE FACTS: Social media users are sharing video clips of a COVID-19 discussion panel held on Monday by Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican representing Wisconsin, leading to the spread of false information about vaccines.

Dr. Peter McCullough, a Dallas cardiologist and outspoken critic of COVID-19 vaccines, was one of the speakers at the conference, along with other health professionals.

At the conference, McCullough said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conducting academic fraud and that COVID-19 vaccines are not effective at preventing hospitalization from COVID-19. He also falsely claimed that the U.S. is the only country reporting a decline in hospitalizations from the vaccines while South Africa, the United Kingdom and Israel are not.

One post sharing the clip of McCullough read, “CDC data purporting to show a reduction in hospitalization following Covid vaccination is fraudulent.”

Publicly available data does not back up McCullough’s claims. McCullough did not immediately respond to a request for comment via email.

Dr. David Dowdy, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said people who are vaccinated have lower rates of hospitalization.

When comparing vaccinated vs. unvaccinated people, he said, “consistently across all countries” that report data, vaccinated people have lower hospitalization rates than those who are not immunized.

On Friday, the CDC published a report finding that COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are preventing hospitalizations. The report detailed how the third jab provided 90% protection against hospitalization.

The U.S. is not the only country seeing these results. Israel, South Africa and England have shown similar results on preventing hospitalizations.

Vaccine effectiveness has been shown in multiple countries, said Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, director of ICAP, a global health center at Columbia University.

“We have data from the U.K., Switzerland, Canada, Ireland, Chile, from Israel, from South Africa all of them show the effectiveness of vaccination in terms of decreasing hospitalization and some of them show effectiveness in the omicron period as well,” she said.

The Associated Press reported on an analysis from South Africa in December that found that those who had two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine had 70% protection against hospitalization from COVID-19 during the country’s omicron surge.

The UK Health Security Agency released data earlier this month that found that after three months of receiving the third dose, those 65 and older had 90 percent protection against hospitalization. Those with two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had 70 percent protection from hospitalization after three months of receiving the vaccine and 50 percent at six months.

According to the World Health Organization, evidence shows that the COVID-19 vaccines remain effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalization and death against all variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus, including omicron, although data on omicron is still early.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.