COVID vaccines are effective in combating severe infections, even in cases of the Delta variant, medical data shows—contrary to comments made by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene this week.
Her message, which has been flagged as “misleading” by Twitter, pointed to COVID infections among vaccinated people, also known as breakthrough cases.
The post is still visible on the social media platform, but users are unable to retweet, like or reply to it. Twitter told Newsweek on Tuesday that Greene’s account would be on “read only” mode for a week.
Breakthrough cases have made headlines recently, amid reports that some people are getting sick with COVID despite being fully vaccinated.
Breakthrough cases do not mean the vaccines are ineffective, however. As infectious disease specialists such as Dr. Anthony Fauci have pointed out, no vaccine is 100 percent effective in preventing disease.
“It is absolutely expected that there are breakthrough cases with any vaccine,” Ankoor Shah, head of Washington D.C.’s vaccine program, told The Washington Post in July. “No vaccine is 100 percent effective, and we [knew] this coming in.”
When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization to the COVID vaccines currently available in the U.S., it based these decisions on scientific evidence gained from large-scale studies conducted by the vaccine developers. These studies showed that the vaccines do work.
The Pfizer vaccine trials, for example, enrolled 44,000 people in a randomized way to prove the vaccine worked compared to a control sample, and FDA analysis confirmed it was 95 percent effective in preventing COVID a week after the second dose.
The Moderna vaccine displayed similar effectiveness in a trial that also involved tens of thousands of people.
The highly infectious Delta variant has given rise to concerns that the vaccines may no longer be as effective and some studies have suggested that Delta is indeed less susceptible to neutralization than the original strain.
But this difference in effectiveness does not mean the vaccines don’t work at all. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in late July evaluated the effectiveness of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines against the Delta and Alpha variants.
It found “high levels of vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease with the Delta variant after the receipt of two doses” and this effectiveness was only slightly lower than with Alpha.
The estimated effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine in particular against symptomatic disease with Delta was approximately 88 percent after two doses, the study concluded.
In the U.K., Public Health England said in June that the Pfizer vaccine was 96% effective against hospitalization after two doses, based on 14,019 cases of the Delta variant recorded between April and June this year.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that even in people who experience breakthrough infections, vaccines provide “strong protection against serious illness and death.”
Newsweek has contacted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for comment.