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In late December 2021, various anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists and websites spread a false claim online that “Over 95% of” the COVID-19 variant “Omicron Cases are in Vaccinated People.”
Here is one example, which was posted to Twitter:
The post above was published on Twitter on Dec. 30, 2021, by the conspiratorial network Disclose TV. It reads:
“JUST IN – Robert Koch Institute report released today states that 95.58% of the #Omicron cases in Germany are fully vaccinated (28% of those had a “booster”), 4.42% are unvaccinated.”
In other examples, English-language websites and social media personalities made social media posts that left out the disclosure that the figure was from a German source and pertained to Germans, giving the impression that more than 95% of those with the omicron variant were vaccinated Americans.
“REPORT: Over 95% of Omicron Cases are in Vaccinated People,” one post read, for example.
The original source of the “95.58%” figure, as Disclose TV pointed out in another post, was German journalist Tim Röhn, who was himself sourcing a weekly report provided by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), a German government agency responsible for disease control and prevention.
The “95.58%” figure was calculated by Röhn, not RKI, in the following tweet:
– 4020, ergo 95,58 % vollständig Geimpfte (1137 davon geboostert)
– 186 Ungeimpfte (4,42 %) @welt
— Tim Röhn (@Tim_Roehn) December 30, 2021
But as Röhn noted, the calculation was the result of an error made by RKI that was later corrected.
Update: Das RKI hat 4 Tage nach Veröffentlichung eine maßgebliche Änderung im Wochenbericht vorgenommen (siehe unten). Nun sind es statt 186 Ungeimpften 1097, ergo ist der Anteil der Geimpften deutlich niedriger. // @welt https://t.co/MyWbhtfnRy pic.twitter.com/1X5s23mREV
— Tim Röhn (@Tim_Roehn) January 3, 2022
“Update: The RKI made a significant change in the weekly report 4 days after publication,” the above tweet states, translated into English. “Now there are 1097 instead of 186 unvaccinated people, so the proportion of those who have been vaccinated is significantly lower.” Disclose TV also acknowledged the updated figure.
The omicron variant is notable in that it evades immunity conferred by COVID-19 vaccines currently in public use. Importantly, however, research indicates that being vaccinated offers protection against becoming severely ill or hospitalized if one does become infected.
But the bottom line in regards to the claim in question is that the “95.58%” figure pertaining to omicron cases among vaccinated people in Germany was never accurate to begin with and based on an error in a weekly report issued by the German government’s health agency.
Nolen, Stephanie. “Most of the World’s Vaccines Likely Won’t Prevent Infection From Omicron.” The New York Times, 19 Dec. 2021. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/19/health/omicron-vaccines-efficacy.html.
“Wöchentlicher Lagebericht des RKI zur Coronavirus-Krankheit-2019.” 30 Dec. 2021, https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Situationsberichte/Wochenbericht/Wochenbericht_2021-12-30.pdf?__blob=publicationFile