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Yes, graphic showing vaccination status of Covid patients at South Africa’s Groote Schuur hospital is authentic

A graphic labelled “Total number of patients with Covid-19 at Groote Schuur Hospital” has gone viral on Twitter in South Africa. Groote Schuur is a government-funded teaching hospital in Cape Town, in the Western Cape province.

The graphic claims that on 6 September 2021, the hospital had 156 Covid-19 patients, with 66 in intensive or high care, and 32 on ventilators. Only two of the hospitalised people had been vaccinated. None of the patients in intensive or high care, or those on ventilators, had been vaccinated.

“That’s the proof of concept,” the user posting the graphic tweeted.

But some of the tweets responding to the graphic claim it is altered and include screenshots of what appears to be a similar infographic from 31 August with a logo for Sanford Health.

One user tweeted: “The same as Sanford health who is fooling who tsek.”

The graphic was also posted on Facebook, with the comment: “This shows that vaccinations are working!”

Groote Schuur was recently targeted by anti-vaccination protesters. 

Facebook’s fact-checking system has flagged the graphic as possibly false. Does it show figures from Groote Schuur hospital, or is it a fake using another hospital’s data? We checked. 


Graphic real, but data incomplete – Groote Schuur 

The graphic was first posted on Facebook by the University of Cape Town’s health sciences faculty, on 6 September.

The faculty’s comment on the graphic gives higher numbers, saying 254 people were hospitalised at Groote Schuur that day, that “99% (251/254) are #UNVACCINATED” and that “100% patients in High Care & ICU & on ventilators are #UNVACCINATED”.

Africa Check asked Alaric Jacobs, a spokesperson for Groote Schuur, about the graphic. He said it was authentic and produced using data from the hospital. 

But he added that the data was not complete.

“The data was unfortunately incomplete at the time of distribution. The province will distribute more detailed information later this week.” 

Visually similar Sanford Health graphic

The infographic bears striking visual similarities to the graphic published by US hospital group Sanford Health. The two graphics share the same format and colour scheme. 

But their data differs. The Sanford graphic says 136 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, 37 are in ICU, and 19 are on ventilators. While the Groote Schuur data indicates that no vaccinated patients were in ICU or on ventilators, the Sanford graphic shows that two vaccinated patients were in ICU and one was on a ventilator.

The graphic showing Covid-19 hospitalisations at Groote Schuur Hospital is authentic.

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