Fact Check: It's NOT True That Americans Don't Need COVID-19 Vaccine Because Of 1% Fatality Rate

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: It's NOT True That Americans Don't Need COVID-19 Vaccine Because Of 1% Fatality Rate Fact Check: It's NOT True That Americans Don't Need COVID-19 Vaccine Because Of 1% Fatality Rate Misleading

Do people not need a COVID-19 vaccine because the immune systems of 99% of people who came down with it fought it off without one? No, that's missing context: A 1% fatality rate is not low for an infectious disease, public health experts point out, especially if the disease is as transmissible as COVID.

In addition, some groups of people had a much lower survival rate. The number of people who died in the United States from the coronavirus was 609,793 as of June 1, 2021, which is 10 times as high as the estimated 60,000 people who died in the 2017-18 flu season.

The claim appeared as a Facebook post (archived here) on May 30, 2021. It opened:

Why does the government think our immune systems can't fight the coronavirus without a vaccine, but the immune systems of 99% of people who came down with it managed to recover without the vaccine?

Social media users saw this:

image (22).png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Tue Jun 1 12:55:16 2021 UTC)

The caption on the post read:

Covid survivor here and I'd like to thank my immune system for doing what it is supposed to do without a vaxeen πŸ˜ŽπŸ€—πŸ™πŸΌπŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»

The number of deaths from COVID-19 has significantly dropped since many people in the United States have received the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Interpretive Summary for May 28, 2021:

COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States have dropped to their lowest levels in nearly a year, and the number of people vaccinated continues to grow. As of May 27, 2021, nearly 133 million people in the U.S. are fully vaccinated, and the national percentage of COVID-19 tests that came back positive over the last 7 days was less than 3%. This is one of the lowest rates the United States has seen since widespread testing began. These encouraging trends come as many people are making plans to travel, gather with friends and family, and resume other activities they had avoided since the start of the pandemic.

Public health officials have repeatedly explained that the problem with cherry-picking one statistic about infectious diseases is that their threat lies in the combination of lethality, transmission and mode of transmission, among other factors. COVID-19 is transmitted through the air, it turns out to be a highly infectious disease and some of the effects of infection are long-lasting. Those factors are, in part, why it has been far more lethal than flu.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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