Debate sparks over COVID-19 vaccine efficacy following California prison study

Several social media posts are referencing a study to argue that COVID-19 vaccines are ineffective in providing protection against the virus. The study, which examined California's prison system, showed that incarcerated people who had received the COVID-19 vaccine had a slightly higher infection rate than those who had not received the vaccine. However, no differences were found when examining only those 65 and older. Additionally, the researchers note that there were historically low levels of circulating COVID-19 at the time of the study, which may explain the similarities in infection rates between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. The study's authors continue to advocate for vaccination to control the spread of COVID-19.

Risk level: Medium

Recommendation: Cherry-picking data is a common tactic used to distort information. Claims that COVID-19 vaccines are ineffective are especially concerning right now, as patients are considering the newly available updated COVID-19 vaccine. Messaging may emphasize that even if patients contract COVID-19 after getting vaccinated, staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations substantially reduces the risk of dying from COVID-19, of COVID-19-related hospitalization, and of long COVID.