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Coronavirus. In the United States, “most COVID-19 deaths are vaccinated.” This is not the whole picture

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“American research confirms: most deaths from COVID-19 are vaccinated people” – says the billboard, which was supposed to hang somewhere in Poland. We explain why the missing context is crucial in understanding the current situation regarding the number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States.

A lively discussion among Internet users was sparked by a photo of a billboard with the following text: “American research confirms: most deaths from COVID-19 are vaccinated.” This one was to be erected in one of the Polish cities. “There is growing fear in these circles” – he wrote On January 12, the Facebook user who posted the photo (original spelling of all posts). The post was shared by over 210 Facebook users and over 150 reacted.

“3rd booster, 4th infective, and 5th only for people with strong nerves – depressing”; “That’s what we know even without American research”; “I can’t believe there really is such a billboard. Photomontage?” – netizens wrote in reaction to the photo.

In early January, the photo appeared on Twitter.

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Misleading post from January 12, 2023Facebook.com

Does the source on the billboard confirm the information presented on it? Is there such a billboard in Poland and where?

What’s not on the billboard?

The link visible on the billboard directs to the article published on November 23, 2022 on the website of the American daily “The Washington Post”. Its title reads: “Covid is no longer primarily a pandemic of the unvaccinated. Here’s why.” This is material from the seriesThe Health 202“, a special bulletin (newsletter) devoted to topics related to health policy in the United States.

The article’s author, health policy researcher McKenzie Beard, notes that for the first time, most Americans dying from the coronavirus have received at least the first round of the vaccine. In August 2022, 58 percent. of people who died from COVID-19 were vaccinated, according to an analysis conducted for “The Health 202” and “The Washington Post”. Its author is Cynthia Cox, vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), which is an organization that specializes in public health. Cox conducted the assessment on the basis of publicly available dataset Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) titled “Covid-19 Cases or Deaths by Age Group, Vaccine Status, and Number of Boosters.”

The Polish billboard stated that “American research confirms”. Meanwhile, it turns out that the content of the billboard refers not to (scientific) research, but to an analysis of publicly available CDC data, which was prepared for the newsletter of an American newspaper. The Washington Post notes that a worrying increase in the number of deaths among those vaccinated against COVID-19 has occurred in the United States over the past year. In September 2021, vaccinated people accounted for 23 percent. COVID-19 fatalities. This share increased with the increase in the number of vaccinations and the emergence of new COVID-19 variants. By January 11, 2023, 69.08 percent. of US residents received all doses prescribed in the primary vaccination protocol (not including booster doses). On November 9, 2022 (data closest to the date of publication of the text by “The Washington Post”), it was 68.61 percent. – results from data collected on the Our World in Data website.

Cynthia Cox gives three reasons for the change in this ratio. “At this stage of the pandemic, the vast majority of Americans have received at least a basic series of coronavirus vaccines, so it makes sense that vaccinated people account for the majority of the death toll,” he states at the outset. He also points out that people most at risk of dying from coronavirus infection (the elderly, belonging to the so-called risk groups) were also more likely to be vaccinated against COVID-19. As a third reason, Cox cites the fact that vaccines lose their effectiveness over time, and at the same time there are variants of the virus that are more resistant to the preparation.

It is still true that the risk of death from COVID-19 infection in vaccinated people is lower than in unvaccinated people when the data is adjusted for age. Refers to CDC analysis published on November 16, 2022. The authors describe data on COVID-19 mortality in the United States, emphasize the importance of protection provided by the COVID-19 vaccination and additional booster vaccinations.

“COVID-19 vaccines continued to reduce the risk of death in all age groups, including the elderly, with the greatest protection was seen among those who received more than two boosters” – we read in the CDC material (emphasis in bold).

Billboard in Łęczna. Anti-vaccine material was already hanging in this place

We checked where the photo of the billboard was taken. Using Google’s image search, we also got to two next pictures of billboards with the same content. Thanks to them, we determined the location of the billboard from a popular photo. This one was supposed to hang on one of the housing estates in Łęczna (Lubelskie Voivodeship). The billboard is located at the stonemason’s workshop and is visible from ul. Cardinal Wyszyński. Photos available on Google Street View prove that in April 2021, another anti-vaccine material promoting the book “Fake Pandemic” was hung there.

A second billboard with the same content was to be hung on a private property on the road in Dominów villagewhich borders Lublin.

It turns out that billboards about vaccinated deaths are part of a “grassroots initiative” called “Lublin Banner Campaign”, whose goal is “to use banners to debunk what is false in public space”.

All photos of the billboard were originally published on the initiative’s Facebook profile. The billboards are funded by fundraisers maintained on the Zrzutka.pl website. In its description we read: “The huge commitment and generous support of the collection by the local community from Łęczna resulted in another billboard, which appeared in Łęczna at the beginning of December. Its theme is related to the problem of vaccinations.”

Author:Gabriela Sieczkowska

Main photo source: facebook.com



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