Canadian doctor falsely claims that COVID-19 vaccines are ineffective

By: Toibah
June 5 2023

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Canadian doctor falsely claims that COVID-19 vaccines are ineffective


The Verdict False

COVID-19 vaccines are effective in preventing serious disease and even deaths. The doctor has previously been criticised for spreading misinformation.

Claim ID b95b8f5e

A Facebook user claimed in a video that COVID-19 vaccines were released without being tested and that data has revealed that COVID-19 vaccines are ineffective and unsafe. The user also shared a video of a speech given by a doctor making the same claims. The doctor’s speech has the text “Breaking news: Canadian doctor testifies under oath that the vaccinated are more likely to get COVID and die from COVID and all other causes compared”. In the speech, the doctor claims that vaccines make individuals more vulnerable to the coronavirus rather than providing protection from it. He also claimed that vaccinated people are at a higher risk of getting COVID-19. However, the doctor has misrepresented data to spread misleading information about vaccines.

In Fact
The doctor in the video is Dr. Charles Hoffe, who describes himself as a family practitioner and claims to be a trained emergency room physician. He is based in Lytton and Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. Our search revealed that Dr. Hoffe has been called out previously for spreading misinformation about COVID-19.

This video of Dr. Hoffe was captured when he gave a testimony at the National Citizen’s Inquiry (NCI) in Canada in early May 2023. The NCI describes itself as a ‘citizen-led and citizen-funded public inquiry into the COVID-19 health-protection measures’. The doctor first claims in the video that the COVID-19 vaccine is an “anti-vaccine” that causes COVID-19 instead of preventing it. However, this claim is unfounded.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) have clarified that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and help prevent severe disease. The CDC states, “COVID 19-vaccines are effective at preventing severe illness from COVID-19 and limiting the spread of the virus that causes it” and that “COVID-19 vaccines are monitored by the most intense safety monitoring efforts in U.S. history.” The CDC also adds, “COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and meet the FDA's rigorous scientific standards for emergency use authorization (EUA) after evaluation in extensive clinical trials.”

The WHO has said that “while COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against serious illness, hospitalization, and death, no vaccine is 100 percent effective,” and there may be some vaccinated people who are also getting infected with the coronavirus. “This is known as a ‘breakthrough infection’ or ‘breakthrough case.’” Breakthrough infections can happen with every vaccine and do not mean that the vaccine does not work. According to data from the U.S. CDC, unvaccinated people are at 11 times the risk of death from COVID-19 than vaccinated people. People who get COVID-19 after being vaccinated are much more likely to only experience mild symptoms; efficacy against serious illness and death remains high.”

Johns Hopkins University, as well, under its ‘Facts vs Myths’ section, has clarified, “The vaccine for COVID-19 cannot and will not give you COVID-19. The two authorized mRNA vaccines instruct your cells to reproduce a protein that is part of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which helps your body recognize and fight the virus if it comes along. The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain the SARS-Co-2 virus, so you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The protein that helps your immune system recognize and fight the virus does not cause infection of any sort.”

In the video, Dr. Hoffe also shared a line graph, which used to claim that vaccinated people are at a higher risk of getting COVID-19. The graph originated from a study titled "Effectiveness of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Bivalent Vaccine," which was published on the preprint server medRxiv on December 19, 2022, and then on Oxford Academic on April 19, 2023. The study aimed to assess the protective effects of a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine. The study concluded that the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine provided modest protection (30%) against the virus strains dominant in the community, but recognized that the study had several limitations and that the findings needed more study.

Logically Facts had earlier reached out to the authors of the study in January 2023 to fact-check a claim that cited the study to say that receiving COVID vaccines increases the risk of contracting coronavirus. The authors then informed us that their research focused on a specific group of younger, relatively healthy healthcare employees, with a limited representation of children, older individuals, and those with weakened immune systems. As a result, the researchers cautioned against generalizing the findings to the broader population. They also acknowledged the need for further research to verify or dispute the observed link between the number of vaccine doses and the risk of COVID-19.

Additionally, Dr. Hoffe also shared two bar graphs showing data of hospital admissions in New South Wales in Australia for the last six weeks of 2022 — one to show that there were more people who were admitted to the hospitals were vaccinated, and another graph to show that most numbers of people admitted to the ICUs were vaccinated. However, this claim is misleading, as there is no evidence that these hospital admissions had any link to vaccinations, or were caused by COVID-19 vaccinations. There is no mention of what treatment these patients were getting at the hospitals or in the ICU. It's crucial to consider that a high percentage of eligible Australians (86.6%) had received at least one vaccine dose by December 22, 2022, as per the vaccine tracker on Financial Times. It is natural that if most of the population in Australia is vaccinated, the number of patients who happen to be vaccinated will also increase. However, this alone cannot mean that the vaccine caused the hospitalization.

It is to be noted Dr. Charles Hoffe has been pulled up for spreading medical misinformation before. He has been issued a citation by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. for publishing misleading and incorrect statements about vaccinations, treatments, and COVID-19 public measures. These actions cast doubt on the credibility of the information he presents. It's crucial to rely on reputable sources and scientific consensus when assessing the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.

The Verdict
The claim made by Dr. Charles Hoffe in the video that vaccinated people are more likely to contract and die from COVID-19 compared to the unvaccinated is false. Dr. Hoffe has been pulled up for spreading COVID-19 misinformation before as well. COVID-19 vaccines protect individuals from severe symptoms and even death, and experts have insisted that people get vaccinated. Therefore, we mark this claim false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before