COVID-19 treatments can improve a patient’s survival and recovery, but don’t replace the individual and community benefits of vaccination

Treatments are intended to reduce the severity and accelerate the recovery of patients that are already sick. While they complement vaccines and other public health measures to reduce the threat from a disease, they don’t replace the benefits provided by vaccination. Unlike vaccines, treatments cannot prevent disease. Apart from protecting an individual from disease, vaccines help to reduce transmission, thereby protecting others around the vaccinated individual and benefiting the wider community.

Video shared by Sebastian Gorka Facebook page shows nurse making false and unsubstantiated claims about ivermectin, COVID-19 PCR tests, and COVID-19 vaccine safety

Data from clinical trials and ongoing monitoring of vaccination campaigns show that COVID-19 vaccines are very safe and effective. Their benefits outweigh their risks, as they are highly effective at reducing a person’s risk of infection and severe illness. There is no reliable scientific evidence demonstrating that ivermectin is an effective COVID-19 treatment, although research is currently underway to resolve this question.

COVID-19 vaccines are a much safer way of acquiring immunity than infection, which requires exposing the person to risks from the disease

The spread of the Delta variant has caused new COVID-19 surges in many countries, including Israel. Data from Israel indicates that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has a lower effectiveness (64%) against infection and symptomatic illness with this variant, but the vaccine remains highly effective at preventing 93% of serious illnesses. Hence, Israel is now seeing fewer COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths compared to previous waves. This shows that COVID-19 vaccines are a safer way of acquiring immunity than infection and effectively protect people from illness and death.

COVID-19 itself can cause heart inflammation, in addition to other problems like long COVID; benefits of COVID-19 vaccines outweigh their risks

Myocarditis is a condition in which the heart muscle becomes inflamed. Viral infections are a leading cause of myocarditis, and COVID-19 itself is known to cause heart inflammation. Data from clinical trials and ongoing monitoring of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns show that the benefits of the COVID-19 RNA vaccines outweigh their risks. Health authorities recommend that everyone aged 12 and above get vaccinated, because the risks posed by COVID-19, such as health complications and death, are greater than that posed by the vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccines received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA after clinical trials demonstrated that they are safe and effective; COVID-19 vaccines aren’t experimental

Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is a fast-track process for approving vaccines and drugs when their benefits outweigh the potential risks to a population. EUA is well-suited for addressing ongoing global health threats, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Three COVID-19 vaccines received EAU from the FDA, after clinical data showed they were effective at protecting vaccinated individuals against the disease and had few risks for the general population. Continued monitoring of vaccinated populations is a standard procedure to increase our knowledge about a vaccine’s benefits and risk in a real world setting.

Data from Israel showed that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reduces the likelihood of dying from COVID-19; analysis in a forum post claiming the opposite is flawed

Clinical trials showed that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has an efficacy of about 95%. The vaccine requires two doses to achieve full efficacy. It can also take several weeks for immunity to develop, during which people still remain vulnerable to COVID-19. Safety data from trials and monitoring of ongoing vaccination campaigns don’t show that vaccinated people are more likely to die from COVID-19. In fact, data from Israel indicates that the vaccine is effective at reducing the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

COVID-19 vaccines protect individuals from developing the disease and are necessary tools to end the pandemic along with physical distancing measures

Authorized COVID-19 vaccines stimulate COVID-19 immunity in vaccinated individuals and significantly reduce the number of symptomatic COVID-19 cases. Preliminary data indicate that the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use may also reduce the risk of person-to-person transmission of the virus that causes the disease, however, the degree of this effect has not been determined by scientific studies yet. Therefore health authorities recommend that vaccinated people still wear masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

People who received the COVID-19 vaccine aren’t more likely to develop facial paralysis than people who didn’t receive the vaccine

Incidental illnesses are expected to occur at a certain rate in the general population, even among people who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 or any other disease. The incidence of Bell’s palsy, a transient form of facial paralysis, is not higher among people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Israel than in the unvaccinated general population. There is no data to support claims that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine causes Bell’s palsy.

Dozens of clinical trials ongoing to investigate whether vitamin D prevents COVID-19; no firm evidence yet

Several studies reported lower levels of vitamin D in COVID-19 patients. However, it remains unclear whether low vitamin D levels increase the risk of infection and severe outcomes, is a consequence of the disease, or is simply more common in patients who are already in ill health. Several of the studies that found an association between vitamin D levels and COVID-19 infection or severity did not account for confounding factors such as ethnicity, body mass index, or underlying health condition, which are known risk factors for the disease. Further research is needed to determine whether vitamin D might play a role in the prevention of and treatment of COVID-19.