Claim: Five COVID-19 vaccines have lower efficacy than previously announced

Source: Facebook post

Verdict: FALSE

Researched Gifty Tracy Aminu

A widely shared Facebook post is claiming the effectiveness of five COVID-19 vaccines in protecting recipients from getting severely ill, even if they are infected with the coronavirus, is lower than previously announced.

The Facebook post that has generated about 4,700 interactions is alleging that the public was deceived about the efficacy of some of the COVID-19 vaccines.

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“We have been lied to, again! The effectiveness is not 70-90% like they claimed it to be, but much lower.” The post said and further claimed that some vaccines had less than 2% efficacy. They include: “1.3% for the AstraZeneca, 1.2% for the Moderna, 1.2% for the J&J, 0.93% for the Gamaleya, and 0.84% for the Pfizer.”





70% overall


Moderna 94.1%
Johnson & Johnson




Gamaley or Sputnik V 91.6%
Pfizer 95%


“Based on evidence from clinical trials, the Moderna vaccine was 94.1% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people who received two doses who had no evidence of being previously infected.” The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has said.

The vaccine appears to have high effectiveness in clinical trials (efficacy) among people of diverse age, sex, race, and ethnicity categories and among persons with underlying medical conditions.

In the case of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC stated that “based on evidence from clinical trials in people aged 16 years and older, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 95% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people without evidence of previous infection.”

The Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, which is just a single dose shot, has 66.3% effectiveness in clinical trials (efficacy) at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people who had no evidence of prior infection. People had the most protection 2 weeks after getting vaccinated.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drugs Administration said “the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine is recommended for people aged 18 years and older, however, women younger than 50 years old should especially be aware of the rare risk of blood clots with low platelets after vaccination.”

The AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers gave a breakdown of the performance of the vaccine in an update on March 25, 2021. “76% vaccine efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19, 100% efficacy against severe or critical disease and hospitalization and 85% efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 in participants aged 65 years and over.”

Despite the rare occurrence of reports of blood clots among some recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the World Health Organization  maintains that the “AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and effective at protecting people from the extremely serious risks of COVID-19, including death, hospitalization, and severe disease.”

The Gamaaleya COVID-19 vaccine is the same as the Sputnik V. “Sputnik V is one of the three vaccines in the world with efficacy of over 90%. The Vaccine’s efficacy is confirmed at 91.6% based on the analysis of data on 19,866 volunteers, who received both the first and second doses of the Sputnik V vaccine or placebo at the final control point of 78 confirmed COVID-19 cases,” the manufacturers said.

They further highlighted that “analysis of data from 3.8 million vaccinated persons in Russia Sputnik V demonstrates 97.6% efficacy.”

PolitiFact, a non-partisan fact-checking project by Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, has flagged a similar claim on Instagram to be FALSE.



The claim that some COVID-19 vaccines are less effective than previously advertised is FALSE.