Explainer: Who should get the COVID-19 booster shot?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have authorized a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, which were initially two-dose vaccines. They also authorized a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 
Both federal agencies said that people who are over the age of 65, have weakened immune systems, or have a chronic illness (such as obesity or high blood pressure) should receive a booster shot. The FDA also recommended that people who work in jobs where they interact with the public also get a booster shot: teachers, health care workers, or grocery store workers, among other jobs.

Do COVID-19 breakthrough infections mean the vaccines are no longer effective?

Claim: Due to the increased spread of the Delta variant, people who have been vaccinated have become infected with COVID-19, leading some to think that the vaccines are no longer effective against the virus.
Rating: This claim is FALSE. No vaccine is 100% effective at preventing infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 infections among the fully vaccinated (also called “breakthrough infections”) are to be expected. The more important fact is that the COVID-19 vaccines are still largely effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths. Getting vaccinated and wearing a mask in public are still the most effective ways to prevent becoming infected with COVID-19

Are young people safe from the effects of COVID-19?

Claim: Many young people are choosing to not get vaccinated because they believe they will not get sick from COVID-19.  
Rating: This claim is MOSTLY FALSE. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and from the American Academy of Pediatrics show that COVID-19 hospitalizations among children and young adults have been steadily rising over the summer, because of the Delta variant. The majority of new hospitalizations are unvaccinated individuals. Medical professionals are encouraging young people to get vaccinated, so they do not become severely sick from COVID-19 and spread it to vulnerable populations.

Explainer: What is the COVID-19 Delta variant?

The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus is nearly twice as infectious as the original COVID-19 virus and leads to higher likelihood of hospitalization and death. Delta currently accounts for 83% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. To protect against the Delta variant, infectious disease experts around the country are encouraging U.S. residents to be vaccinated.

Do unvaccinated people make up most of the current deaths from COVID-19?

Claim: An Associated Press article claims that 99% of new U.S. COVID-19 hospitalizations/deaths are occurring among the unvaccinated.
Rating: This claim is MOSTLY TRUE. It is impossible to know the exact percentages of hospitalizations/deaths occurring in the unvaccinated and fully vaccinated because the data is not complete. However, all existing data overwhelmingly suggest that nearly all of the current hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 are among the unvaccinated. Multiple government officials, both Democrat and Republican, have also concurred with this assessment and have encouraged people to get vaccinated.

Explainer: How Facebook Spreads Misinformation

Billions of people around the world use social media services like Facebook to stay in touch with friends and family. Yet on July 20, 2021, President Joe Biden blamed the hesitancy around the COVID-19 vaccine on Facebook, saying that Facebook was allowing misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine to spread on its platform.

Biden’s statements about Facebook becoming a hub of COVID-19 misinformation is TRUE. Facebook has even admitted that misinformation is common on its platform. 

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