AP FACT CHECK: Biden is off on his vaccine claims

Published 6:30 am Saturday, May 29, 2021

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden misstated the record Thursday when he asserted that half of his country has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and when he suggested that the U.S. leads the world in protecting its population with the shots.

BIDEN: “Now, 50% of all of America, more than in any other country, is fully vaccinated.” — remarks in Cleveland.

THE FACTS: No, half the U.S. population has not been fully vaccinated. What’s true is that half of the population has received at least one shot, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Also true: Just over half the population aged 18 and above is fully vaccinated.

But of the total population, only 40% have full immunity from the shots, not 50%.

As for how the U.S. stacks up internationally, he would have been right to say more people have been fully vaccinated in the U.S. than in any other country. The U.S. has fully vaccinated about 133 million people, well ahead of runners-up India (about 42 million) and Britain (about 24 million).

But with 40% immunity from the vaccines, the U.S. lags a half dozen other member states of the United Nations in protecting its people with shots.

Israel, for example, has fully vaccinated almost 60% of its population. Chile is just ahead of the United States on this front. The U.S. leads among world superpowers, but not worldwide.