The image does not show the authentic Global News article on the Covid vaccine

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An image shared tens of thousands of times on social media purports to show a Global News article that says the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine is only 12% effective. It’s wrong; the Canadian press agency did not publish the article and clinical trial data from Pfizer showed the vaccine to be 95% effective.

“Aaaaand finally some honesty,” said a May 20, 2022 Tweeter of the Olympic champion in pair figure skating Jamie Sale.

The tweet includes an image that resembles an article from the Global News website with the headline: “Pfizer clinical trial data reveals company’s COVID vaccine has 12% efficacy rate.”

AFP asked Sale for a link to the supposed article but she did not respond. She posted a series of tweet oppose Canada’s strict Covid-19 vaccine requirements for traveling.

Screenshot of a tweet taken on June 2, 2022

The same image can be found in Facebook posts, including here and here.

Contacted by AFP, a spokesperson for Global News said: “We can confirm that the headline and caption in question have never been published on our site and are falsely associated with the Global News brand. “

A look for for the headline on the Global News website did not find the article – instead it revealed a story as of 2020, reporting that the Pfizer vaccine was 95% effective.

A google search for the headline also couldn’t find a Global News article. Instead, it surfaced fact-checking articles from Complete Fact and the Reuters news agency.

Canada’s CTV News has also been the target of posts sharing altered images designed to look like real news coverage.

12 percent efficiency

As AFP has previously reported, 12% is not a exact measurement of the effectiveness of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, according to information published by the company and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Claims that the vaccine is only 12% effective can be traced to an April 3, 2022 subpile article published by Sonia Elijah, who writes for Trial Site News — a website who promoted unproven Covid-19 treatments.

In his blog post, Elijah argues that vaccine effectiveness should be calculated with numbers on page 42 from a December 2020 document that includes data that Pfizer shared with the FDA. It says: “Of 3,410 total cases of suspected but unconfirmed Covid-19 in the overall study population, 1,594 occurred in the vaccine group versus 1,816 in the placebo group.”

However, these people did not have a confirmed case of Covid-19. CPR test.

Pfizer’s clinical trial protocols clarify that participants were asked to make an appointment for a PCR test if they had recognized symptoms, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat or loss of taste/smell.

How the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine uses genetic information from SARS-CoV-2 to boost the body’s immune response ( AFP / John SAEKI, Laurence CHU)

jeffrey morrisdirector of biostatistics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, explained on his website that the 3,410 “suspected but unconfirmed” cases were people who had “any symptom mentioned in the list, which of course could be from many causes, not just Covid-19 infections”.

He said: “Obviously the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine was not intended to prevent all coughs, fevers, chills, sore throats, muscle aches, shortness of breath, vomiting, etc. the cause, it would be ridiculous to include all reports of common symptoms such as Covid-19 cases for the purpose of calculating vaccine effectiveness.”

Although these social media posts attribute the 12% figure to “clinical trial data” from Pfizer, others posts have referenced a preprint study from the New York State Department of Health than the American media covered.

The study found that the lowest dose of the Pfizer vaccine – given to children aged 5 to 11 – was only 12% effective against infection during the Omicron wave that hit the state in December 2021 and January 2022. Despite this finding, the researchers concluded, “Vaccination of children 5-11 years of age protects against serious disease and is recommended.”

Other AFP reporting on inaccurate claims about vaccines can be found here.