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Cruise COVID Cases Are Not Indicative of Vaccine Efficacy

Rebecca Bowen Rebecca Bowen
18th June 2021
Cruise COVID Cases Are Not Indicative of Vaccine Efficacy
No vaccine is ever 100% effective (Getty Images).

The Claim

Two positive cases of COVID-19 on a fully vaccinated cruise ship means vaccines don’t work.

Emerging story

In early June, news began to circulate about two positive COVID-19 passengers on a cruise ship that had only allowed fully vaccinated passengers to board. This raised questions among already vaccine hesitant readers. The news began to circulate with comments such as, “[it’s] almost like vaccines don’t work,” to claims of a “Scamdemic.”

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A supporting image within the article body
A supporting image within the article body

Misbar’s Analysis

It is false to assume that these positive cases are proof that COVID-19 vaccines don’t work. No vaccine is ever 100% effective, but extensive studies show that COVID-19 vaccines greatly reduce a person’s chances of infection, and they are important in the fight against the pandemic. 

The cruise line involved, Celebrity Millenium, issued a press release detailing the circumstances of the event: all guests showed proof of vaccination and were tested both upon entry, and before leaving the ship. It was at this point that two passengers tested positive. They were asymptomatic and were quarantined. 

Dr. Matt Binniker, the Director of Clinical Virology and Vice-Chair of Practice in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the Mayo Clinic, told Forbes that a positive test in this case generally means that these passengers may have been infected prior to being vaccinated. He also notes that since the vaccine was first released medical professionals have seen vaccinated individuals screen positive. 

A spokesperson for Celebrity Cruises told USA Today that children under 12 cannot be vaccinated in the US yet, and 10 unvaccinated children were on board this cruise ship. The passengers’ identities have not been released, so we cannot know if one or two of those children are the passengers who tested positive. We also cannot yet know if someone faked vaccination and testing paperwork.

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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