No evidence Covid-19 vaccines have killed thousands of children

27 March 2023
What was claimed

No “healthy” children have died of Covid-19.

Our verdict

This is not true. For example, one study found that in England up to February 2021, six children who did not have any pre-existing health conditions had died of Covid-19.

What was claimed

Thousands of children have died from the Covid-19 vaccine.

Our verdict

Official data in the UK shows a small number of people have died as a result of Covid-19 vaccination, and that includes at least one person aged 18 or younger. There’s no evidence that thousands of children have died from the vaccine, even globally.

An Instagram post claims: “[The Covid-19] Vax is still killing people! Conspiracy PROVED! They wanted to kill us! No healthy kids died of [Covid], but 1000s have died from their poison! [sic]” No location or time frame is given for the claim, but it was posted on 14 March 2023.

It is not true that no “healthy” children have died of Covid, and there is no evidence thousands of children have died from the Covid vaccines. UK death certificate data suggests that deaths from Covid vaccination do happen, but are extremely rare.

False information about Covid and the vaccines is common, and may lead to people making bad decisions about their health. We have written many times before on this issue.

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What the data says

The Instagram post includes a video with numerous news clips about young people who have died. The voiceover mentions Covid vaccinations in relation to some of them, but doesn’t seem to draw a direct link. The caption of the post, however, does.

Sadly, a small number of people have died from the Covid vaccines, but there is no evidence to suggest that thousands of children have died from them, even globally.

As of February 2023, mortality data for England and Wales from the Office for National Statistics shows that one person under the age of 19 years old has died with “Covid-19 vaccines causing adverse effects in therapeutic use” listed as the underlying cause of death on their death certificate, out of 52 in all ages. 

One death reported in Northern Ireland may have been a child, but has only been coded as a person aged between 15 and 34 years old. Another was registered there in the first quarter of 2021, but it involved someone older than 90. 

In Scotland there have been nine Covid vaccine deaths in all ages up to 12 February, but we’ve not been able to find the data broken down by age. At least one of these deaths was an adult. 

So the ONS data shows a maximum of 10 people under 19 may have died as a result of the vaccine, but the true number is almost certainly much lower than this—we just don’t have the full breakdown of the data by age available. We only know for sure that one person aged 18 or younger has died in England and Wales.

It is possible that these figures may rise, if there’s been a delay in registering some deaths due to the vaccines.

Global data is not as clearly reported, but we’ve not found any evidence to suggest that thousands of children worldwide have died from the vaccine, and the number of deaths in the UK and the proportion of overall vaccine doses given which we account for also suggests this is extremely unlikely. 

Over 13 billion doses of the vaccine have been given globally, with the UK’s 151 million doses making up 1 in 88 of these. Children in the UK have generally lower uptake of the vaccine than older people, but over 60% of older children have had at least one dose.

Covid deaths in children

Sadly, a number of “healthy” children have also died of Covid-19. 

For example, a Nature review of deaths in England among under 18s between March 2020 and February 2021 found 25 due to Covid infection, with six of the children having no comorbidities. 

The total now could be higher. For instance, a separate analysis of deaths due to Covid in people in England under 20 years old identified 81 deaths as of the end of 2021. The researchers found that 20 of these individuals did not have underlying conditions. 

The NHS is still offering vaccination against Covid to most children, saying it offers “the best protection against Covid-19”.


Image courtesy of Kalman Slater

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