Fact Check: Do COVID vaccinated people carry more viral load than unvaccinated?

Quick Take

A lot of media platforms reported that Covid-19 vaccinated people carry more viral load than regular, unvaccinated people. This lead to many social media users post the same claim. We fact-checked and found that the claim is mostly false.

The Claim

“Oxford University Study shows vaccinated healthcare workers carry 251 times viral load compared to unvaccinated,” writes a social media user. Another media platform that reported the issue, called vaccinated people ‘superspreaders’.

Such posts can be seen here, here, and here.

A screenshot is given below.

Fact Check

Did scientists say that vaccinated people carry 251 times more viral load that unvaccinated people?

No. The claim is wrongly derived from recent study findings.

The media reports and social media users referred to a recently published study on Lancet. The study DID NOT compare vaccinated and unvaccinated people or their viral loads. In fact, researchers did not study unvaccinated people at all in the research.

The mentioned study looked only at the ‘infections among healthcare workers in Vietnam who were inoculated with the Pfizer vaccine and the viral load in them when they are tested positive with the Delta variant of Covid-19. The findings of the study mention, viral loads of Delta variant infection cases were 251 times higher than those of cases infected with old strains of the virus.

The comparison was between the viral load of the old strain of the virus and the new Delta variant of the virus in vaccinated people. Unvaccinated people were not even included in the study. So, it is wrong to compare the viral load between vaccinated and unvaccinated referring to this study.

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