US data doesn’t prove increase in cancer following vaccine rollout

14 February 2022
What was claimed

US military data shows a huge increase in rates of cancer, as well as other medical conditions, following the Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

Our verdict

The data supporting this claim is flawed, and has been withdrawn by officials.

An article published by TCW (formerly The Conservative Woman) claims that US military data shows a huge increase in incidents of health conditions such as cancer, infertility and Bell’s Palsy following the Covid-19 vaccination rollout. This is not correct.

The article also includes testimonies from doctors who say they have seen a large increase in the number of cancer patients. While we can’t readily fact check these anecdotal claims, we can check the statistics that form the basis of the TCW article. 

The author states that data on military personnel showed that, compared to the five-year average, 2021 saw incidents of cancer in America increase from 38,700 to 114,645, while cases of miscarriage rose by almost 300% against the five-year average. 

As we have written before, the data used—sourced from the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database (DMED)—is not reliable, and has now been withdrawn. The DMED is a publicly-accessible resource containing both current and historical data on diseases and medical events experienced by members of the US military. 

Due to a glitch in the database, this data underreported the five year average so appears to show that various illnesses increased in 2021 when they did not.

The data had been cited by an Ohio lawyer, representing three “whistleblowers” during a panel discussion on Covid-19 vaccines on 24 January. 

Peter Graves, spokesperson for the Defense Health Agency’s Armed Forces Surveillance Division, told fact checking organisation PolitiFact that “in response to concerns mentioned in news reports" the division reviewed data in the DMED "and found that the data was incorrect for the years 2016-2020."

The error in the data was the result of the correct 2021 figures on the incidence of health conditions being compared to an inaccurate five-year average, which “represented only a small fraction of actual medical diagnoses” and so gave the false impression of a significant  increase in 2021.

Mr Graves told PolitiFact that the DMED system had been taken offline to “identify and correct the root-cause of the data corruption."

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because the figures that form the basis of the article are wrong, and have been withdrawn.

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