FACT CHECK: Do Unvaccinated People Not Spread COVID-19?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus is being spread through individuals who are vaccinated against COVID-19, while unvaccinated people aren’t spreading the virus.

Verdict: Misleading

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can spread COVID-19, but vaccines can reduce the risk of transmission and severe illness.

Fact Check:

The Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was originally found in India in late 2020 and is the most contagious known variant of the virus, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. The variant was responsible for over 90 percent of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. from July 18 to 31, data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows.

The Aug. 4 Facebook post claims unvaccinated people are not spreading the coronavirus, while vaccinated people are. “Hmmmm fully Vaccinated people are Spreading the new Variant covid and The unvaccinated are not spreading anything!!!” the post states. “It would seem they gave you the VIRUS to spread to more people!! I see what you did there government!”

While vaccinated people can experience breakthrough infections and can spread the virus, unvaccinated people are at a greater risk of being infected and spreading the virus, according to the CDC. The agency also states that the quantity of coronavirus created in breakthrough infections of the Delta variant and other variants in a fully vaccinated person decreases more quickly than in unvaccinated people. In other words, fully vaccinated people are likely contagious for a shorter amount of time.

Lisa Maragakis, the Johns Hopkins Health System senior director of infection prevention, confirmed in an email to Check Your Fact that the claim unvaccinated people do not spread COVID-19 is inaccurate.

“Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can get and spread the virus that causes COVID-19,” Maragakis siad. “Unvaccinated people are much more susceptible and at much higher risk for severe infection and death.”

CDC data as of Aug. 2 shows that of the over 164 million Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, only 7,525 people were hospitalized or died from breakthrough infections. (RELATED: Image Claims California Is Sending Mail-In Ballots To Voters For Gavin Newsom’s Recall Election Due To The Delta Variant)

An analysis published on July 31 by Kaiser Family Foundation showed that 24 states and the District of Columbia had collected over a month’s worth of data on breakthrough COVID-19 cases. According to that data, more than 94 percent of recorded COVID-19 cases in each of those jurisdictions occurred in unvaccinated people, those who hadn’t been fully vaccinated yet or individuals of uncertain vaccination status.

Furthermore, the COVID-19 vaccines do not inject people with the virus. The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the emergency use of three COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-Biotech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. None of the vaccines contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and therefore do not cause COVID-19, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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