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Do the COVID Vaccines Offer 100 Percent Protection From Infection?
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Do the COVID Vaccines Offer 100 Percent Protection From Infection?


At a town hall on July 21, in Cincinnati, President Joe Biden, in stressing the importance of COVID-19 vaccines, made the following statement: “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in an ICU unit, and you’re not going to die.” 

The statement is false. 

Although the COVID-19 vaccines are effective, no single vaccine is 100% effective at preventing infection. 

Per the Centers for Disease Control, both mRNA vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer, are over 90 percent effective at preventing COVID-19. Based on data from clinical trials, Moderna is 94.1% effective and Pfizer is 95% effective, according to the CDC. The Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is 66.3% effective based on data from clinical trials. 

While it’s true that the vaccines are highly effective, breakthrough cases are possible, and expected, per the CDC: “COVID-19 vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. However, no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people. There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19.”

According to the CDC, as of July 12, there have been 159 million people in the United States who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and 5,492 reported cases of COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough infections that require hospitalization or resulted in death. While this is a small percentage, it’s inaccurate to claim that there have been no fatal breakthrough cases.

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Khaya Himmelman is a fact checker for The Dispatch. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and Barnard College.