By: Ilma Hasan
January 13 2022
The Daily Expose is known to spread COVID-19-related misinformation. This article has misrepresented the conclusions of all three studies cited.
An article published on the U.K.-focused conspiracy site the Daily Expose quotes Dr. Nina Pierpont, a New York pediatrician who has previously advocated against wind turbines. Pierpont's paper, "Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates Are Now Pointless" is flawed. Nevertheless, it has been used by several conspiracy sites to spread anti-vaccine narratives, including the Daily Expose. The Daily Expose article claims that an analysis of various studies published in August 2021 proves that COVID-19 vaccines are ineffective against the Delta variant and that they do not prevent infection or transmission. However, even though the data quoted by the Daily Expose is accurate, the information has been taken significantly out of context. The study in question, published by the Centre for Disease Control, followed 469 COVID-19 cases in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, many of which were the Delta variant. The paper recommended expanded prevention strategies, including universal masking in indoor public settings, but does not allude to COVID-19 vaccines being ineffective. The paper also details the limitations of this particular study: "Data from this report are insufficient to conclude the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, including the Delta variant, during this outbreak. As population-level vaccination coverage increases, vaccinated persons are likely to represent a larger proportion of COVID-19 cases." Furthermore, the paper states asymptomatic breakthrough infections might be underrepresented because of detection bias. The Daily Expose has also misinterpreted a preprint paper by the Oxford University Clinical Research Group, which was published on August 10 in The Lancet. Pierpont claimed the study – which examined 900 hospital staff members in Vietnam – showed peak viral loads among the fully vaccinated infected group were 251 times higher than peak viral loads found among the staff when they were not vaccinated. However, the study has not undergone peer review and did not compare vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant to their unvaccinated counterparts. Rather, it compared the viral loads of vaccinated hospital workers with the viral loads from early in the pandemic. An AP fact check found the study was designed to compare how different strains of coronavirus impacted viral load, not vaccination status. The third study (funded by the U.K.'s Department of Health and Social Care) concluded that protection from either of the two most commonly used COVID-19 vaccines against the Delta variant of the coronavirus weakens within three months. Although Pierpoint points to some of the study's conclusions, the paper also clearly suggested that the efficacy of the two vaccines studied would converge within 4-5 months after the second shot. The findings of some of these studies are in line with several governments and organizations outlining plans to make COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. Contrary to Pierpont's conclusion that vaccine mandates are a "potentially harmful, damaging act," experts have agreed that while vaccines will not stop everyone from becoming infected, they do help reduce the severity.