Right Said Fred

Right Said Fred wrong about vaccine impact on ‘long Covid’ symptoms

Ferret Fact Service | Scotland's impartial fact check project GERS

A study into vaccines’ effectiveness in preventing enduring long term symptoms of Covid-19, known as ‘long Covid’, was misrepresented by novelty nineties pop band, Right Said Fred.

Published in the Lancet journal, the study looked at the different risk factors for those infected with Covid-19. 

A tweet about a Sky News report on the study, headlined: “Adults who are fully vaccinated are 47 per cent less likely to have long Covid should they contract Covid-19, a new study says” was shared by the band’s Twitter account, with the comment “So 53 per cent more likely? That’s not impressive”. 

The band’s account has tweeted anti-vaccine comments and promoted unproven Covid-19 treatments.

Right Said Fred long covid tweet

Ferret Fact Service looked at this claim and found it FFS!

Evidence

Long Covid is when symptoms continue after a Covid-19 infection is gone. A wide array of longer term symptoms have been associated include shortness of breath, fatigue, memory of concentration problems (known as ‘brain fog), dizziness and joint pain. There are many other issues which are being investigated as potentially linked to long Covid. 

Evidence and treatment options for long Covid are still emerging, but the recent study in the Lancet provides some evidence that the vaccine could help to reduce long Covid cases. 

It appears that whoever is in charge of the Right Said Fred Twitter account has got their numbers a bit wrong in the now-deleted tweet.

As the Sky News report stated, those who were double vaccinated were 47 per cent less likely to have long Covid. 

This means, when compared to those who are not fully jabbed, vaccinated people in the study had their chance of long Covid effectively halved. It does not mean that 47 per cent of people who are double jabbed are less likely to get long-term symptoms, while the remaining 53 per cent are more likely to.

It is simply a percentage measure of the comparative number of fully vaccinated and not fully vaccinated people getting long Covid in their analysed data. 

The study, led by King’s College London, which was reported by many news outlets, looked at data from the UK Zoe Covid Study app. 

It found that “the odds of having symptoms for 28 days or more after post-vaccination infection were approximately halved by having two vaccine doses”. 

“This result suggests that the risk of long Covid is reduced in individuals who have received double vaccination, when additionally considering the already documented reduced risk of infection overall,” the report continued. 

Ferret Fact Service verdict: FFS (For Facts’ Sake)

Right Said Fred is wrong. A report of fully vaccinated people being 47 per cent less likely to suffer from long Covid does not mean 53 per cent are more likely. They are not connected just because they add up to 100. The study found that, in the data they analysed, double vaccination approximately halved the odds of getting long term Covid-19 symptoms.

Ferret Fact Service (FFS) is a non-partisan fact checker, and a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers’ code of principles. All the sources used in our checks are publicly available and the FFS fact-checking methodology can be viewed here. Want to suggest a fact check? Go to ideas.theferret.scot, email us at factcheck@theferret.scot or join our Facebook group.

Photo thanks to Sven Mandel, CC BY-SA 3.0

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