A headline that has been shared on social media claiming the British government has suggested that COVID-19 vaccines are “basically pointless” is wrong.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

The headline, The UK Govt Admits That COVID Injections Are Basically Pointless Since They Offer No Protection Against Reinfection (example: (here) comes from an article on a website that features other reports containing COVID-19 conspiracy theories (here).

The relevant part of the article begins: “Hancock said the first vaccine doesn’t protect anyone. He said it takes three weeks and a second dose before the body learns how to build immunity to coronavirus spike proteins.

“But he said masks will be required even after the second dose because ‘we still don’t know whether you will be able to pass coronavirus on to someone else,’ he said.

The only result for that quote attributed to Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock on the gov.uk website is a speech given earlier in the week that the article was published (here).

While Hancock did warn that “your body’s immune is only fully trained up around three weeks after your jab”, the published speech does not mention anything about second doses. Since early January The UK government’s policy has been to delay giving a second dose of vaccines so that more people can receive an initial jab (here) which they said would provide some protection (here). This was proven correct in the case of the AstraZeneca vaccine (here).

The article continues: “The UK government is essentially admitting that covid-19 vaccines are pointless and offer zero protection.

“If a person can still get sick with covid-19 after vaccination and spread live viral particles through their sputum and aerosols, then the vaccines do not work.”

The vaccines have been shown to offer significant protection to the virus. This protection is not absolute and it is possible to still get sick with COVID-19 after vaccination; however, vaccinated people are much less likely to get sick than unvaccinated people. In a trial, for about every 17 people who got sick in the group which did not receive vaccines, only one person in the group that received the Moderna vaccine got sick. In the trial for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, this ratio was about twenty to one.

While these vaccines have been proven to reduce sickness, they have not been proven to stop people from being infected with COVID-19 and transmitting it to other people. However, research into this is ongoing and some early studies indicate that they do (here and here and here Timestamp 1.10.25).

VERDICT

False. Matt Hancock did not say vaccines do not offer protection until after a second dose. Vaccines have been shown to provide significant protection from COVID-19. Whether vaccines prevent recipients from being infected with or spreading the virus has not yet been established.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work here .



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