COVID-19 Fact Checks

FALSE: Vaccines found to make you less immune to COVID-19

Rappler.com
FALSE: Vaccines found to make you less immune to COVID-19
Lower N-antibodies found in vaccinated groups in the UK report do not mean that vaccines cannot protect against COVID-19. Vaccines remain safe and effective.
At a glance
  • Claim: Vaccines were found to make you less immune to COVID-19. 
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: Lower N-antibodies found in vaccinated groups in a report from the United Kingdom do not mean that vaccines cannot protect against COVID-19. Vaccines remain safe and effective.
  • Why we fact-checked this: The video with the claim, posted on February 15, 2022, has 361,000 views, 1,900 comments, and 11,000 reactions on Facebook as of writing.
Complete details

A video posted by the Facebook page “Maharlika TV 2” features a clip of a woman claiming that it is better to stay unvaccinated, as those who remain unvaccinated have higher antibodies and therefore less likely to get sick with COVID-19. 

In the same video, she also makes claims that the COVID-19 vaccine can lead to death and miscarriages in pregnant women. 

The video cites as proof of the alleged benefits of remaining unvaccinated the United Kingdom’s COVID-19 Weekly Surveillance Report: Week 42. The report cited data from the UK’s Health Security Agency, which found that “N-antibody levels appear to be lower in individuals who acquire infection following 2 doses of vaccination.”

These claims are false.

The report has been misinterpreted to mean that the vaccine somehow interferes with the body’s ability to produce antibodies against COVID-19, and therefore leaves those unvaccinated at better odds against COVID-19. 

The COVID-19 vaccine is able to impart to the vaccinated S-antibodies, which are those that can identify the spike protein of the COVID-19 virus. In contrast, “N-antibodies” (where the N stands for nucleocapsid) are typically acquired through getting sick with COVID-19. 

According to an article published by Reuters, medical experts do not find that one form of antibody provides better immunity against COVID-19 than the other nor does evidence exists that the two combined offer more protection. In addition, the ZOE COVID study found that one in five people infected with the novel coronavirus did not develop N-antibodies after infection, suggesting that getting infected and relying on the production of N-antibodies from infection may not be an option for 20% of the population. 

In terms of those pregnant and lactating, the benefits outweigh the possible risks, which is why the Department of Health, the World Health Organization, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to recommend vaccination of pregnant women after the first trimester.

In addition, a study published in the JAMA Network found that spontaneous abortion was not increased in women vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine.

A study published in The Lancet on the real-world vaccine effectiveness of the mRNA-1273 (Moderna Vaccine) found that there were more than 80% fewer COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths in the study group that was vaccinated when compared to the unvaccinated group. – Renzo Arceta/Rappler.com

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