This is another Reuters' "Fact-Check" that I happened to run across while researching something else:
"Social media posts have claimed that those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine are more [sic] six times more likely to die from being infected by variants than those who have not been inoculated. While the data was indeed taken from a Public Health England (PHE) briefing held in June, it was taken out of context."
Reuters then links to several blog posts that make the claim. (Follow the links provided in Reuters' fact-check if you want to read the original claims -- two are provided in the last section of this post below.)
Unlike the last Reuters fact-check reviewed in this blog, this time Reuters fairly characterized the "six times" claim in the blog posts.
However, like the last fact-check reviewed, Reuters, again, confirmed all the salient data in the blog posts. In particular ...
"Referring to data compiled by Public Health England (PHE) in a technical briefing released on June 18 regarding the SARS-CoV-2 variants (here), the authors of the blogs make several calculations.
"On page 12 of the briefing, it shows that 26 people have died since February 1 after testing positive for the Delta variant of the virus, having also been fully vaccinated for more than two weeks. In total, 4,087 tested positive more than two weeks after their second dose. Meanwhile, 35,521 people who were unvaccinated tested positive for the Delta variant and 34 people died.
"The authors then divide the number of deaths by the total number of people who tested positive for the Delta variant and found the rate of death to be 0.000957 for unvaccinated individuals and 0.00636 for those who have been inoculated."
Reuters does not claim that the source data is wrong. Nor does it claim that the mathematical calculations are wrong. You can check the math yourself. Nothing is wrong with it.
A DELTA VARIANT DEATH RATE OF 0.00636 FOR VACCINATED PEOPLE IS INDEED BETWEEN 6 AND 7 TIMES THE DELTA VARIANT DEATH RATE OF 0.000957 FOR UNVACCINATED PEOPLE.
Math is a form of logic. (Some call it "critical thinking.") Since the math is correct, and the data is correct, then the conclusion reached (as restated above) based upon that data has to be both logical and correct.
What does Reuters say?
"The logic is flawed, however, and PHE told Reuters that two doses of the vaccine has shown “high levels” of protection against the Delta variant....
"“The analysis presented is very misleading and ignores the fact that deaths predominantly occur in older age groups who have had much higher vaccination coverage,” Prof Paul Hunter, Professor in Medicine at Norwich Medical School told Reuters over email . . .
""The figures in the blog posts lack context, Dr Muge Cevik, clinical lecturer in infectious diseases and medical virology at the University of St Andrews, told Reuters by email. . . .
"“When most people are vaccinated, most infections and deaths are expected to be among those vaccinated,” she added.
"The vaccination program also prioritised [sic]“clinically vulnerable” individuals, and thus the majority of those vaccinated will “disproportionately represent elderly and those with underlying comorbidities, who are already at significant risk of hospitalisation and death,” Dr Cevik, said. ...
"The overall rate of infection is much less in vaccinated populations, which “indicates that vaccination is working,” Dr Shamaila Anwar, science communicator with Team Halo, told Reuters ..."
"Missing context. Vaccinated people are not at higher risk of dying from the Delta variant than those who are unvaccinated . . ."
If you read all the statements Reuters presents to make its case, NONE of them state that "Vaccinated people are not at a higher risk of dying from the Delta variant than those who are unvaccinated."
Fault Line's Verdict on the Reuters Fact-Check: FALSE.
Basically Reuters is trying to compare Apples to Oranges and does not really address the issue. Although Reuters implies that older ages of the persons in the study could have lead to a faulty conclusion, Reuters failed to present any alternative data and/or calculations to demonstrate that a different conclusion on the risk of death for vaccinated vs unvaccinated could be reached.
Reuters entirely failed to present any evidence to support the factual assertion made in its so-called "verdict."
Since Reuters cited no flaw in the Bloggers' math, nor any flaw in the data cited, and since Reuters failed to produce its own evidence to directly refute the Bloggers' calculations, Reuters statement that the Bloggers were "Missing Context" is false.
Why is this important?
The two main blog posts cited and archived by Reuters, "DC Clothesline," and "Lifesite" both raise a question whether or not the higher risk of death for vaccinated persons for the Delta variant is evidence that Antibody Dependent Enhancement (ADE) is occurring. Per Lifesite, "ADE blighted previous attempts at coronavirus vaccines and frequently resulted in enhanced lung disease among vaccinated lab animals" and "led researchers in 2012 to advise scientists to proceed with “caution” for any human coronavirus vaccines which could lead to enhanced lung disease." Lifesite also indicated that ADE could "activate other sleeping infections in the vaccinated person such as herpes virus, creating symptoms of Bell’s palsy or shingles" and might even "accelerate the rate at which the vaccine-resistant mutant strains become dominant among all the SARS-Co-V2 [coronavirus] strains.”