Variant panic-porn has been turned up to 11 after a new study out of Israel found that the B.1.351 variant first identified in South Africa can “break through” the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Here’s a sample of the headlines flying around tonight:

Except, the tone of these headlines is all wrong. The study they’re reporting on is “actually excellent news” and there appears to be a misconception on what vaccine resistance really means.

From The Atlantic’s Zeynep Tufekci:

Here’s the summary from the study:

These results overall suggest that vaccine breakthrough infection is more frequent with both VOCs, yet a combination of mass-vaccination with two doses coupled with non-pharmaceutical interventions control and contain their spread.

But these bad headlines are everywhere:


These articles could just have as easily been titled, “Zero cases beyond 14 days after the second dose”:

Again for the national media accounts behind the “wildly misleading” headlines, “THAT STUDY WAS EXCELLENT NEWS OVERALL ON THAT ASPECT”:

Full thread from the researcher here: