Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant, Fox News has been relentlessly undermining the vaccination effort, including by recklessly misinterpreting a Danish study on vaccine efficacy against the latest variant.
The study, circulated by professional COVID-19 “contrarian” Alex Berenson and mentioned in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, was originally published on medRxiv, a website for preliminary studies that have not been peer-reviewed. A warning on the website states the studies “should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information.”
This warning did not stop Fox hosts and personalities from citing the study and cherry-picking data to claim that vaccination makes it more likely for an individual to contract COVID-19. The study found that 90 days post “vaccine protection,” or the date 14 days post-second dose, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine had negative vaccine efficacy. The authors of the study, however, explained the unusual result as “different behavior and/or exposure patterns in the vaccinated and unvaccinated cohorts causing underestimation of the vaccine efficacy.”
In an email to PolitiFact, one of the authors of the study also suggested that the negative efficacy could be explained by the fact that vaccinated people may test more than unvaccinated people and an overrepresentation of vaccinated people in the studied cohort. Furthermore, Fox hosts and personalities failed to convey the authors’ conclusion that “booster vaccination offer[s] a significant increase in protection” and that their “findings highlight the need for massive rollout of vaccinations and booster vaccinations.”
Article reprinted with permission from Media Matters