No evidence the media is covering up vaccine deaths with stories about heart issues

26 August 2022
What was claimed

Vaccines have led to a significant rise in mortality and journalists are writing cover-up stories to explain away deaths.

Our verdict

There’s no evidence vaccines have led to a rise in mortality, and they have actually prevented deaths from Covid-19. The stories referenced refer to scientific papers that have linked various activities, foods or environmental factors to heart problems and other issues.

A video on Facebook using clips from the TV crime drama Murder, She Wrote has claimed that “big pharma’s vaccines have led to a significant rise in mortality”.

The video features screenshots of 20 headlines about heart attacks, sudden deaths and more taken from online publications. The video then says: “In a stupendous effort to conceal the truth [big pharma’s] paid off media accomplices have written the most absurd cover up headlines in press history”.

This isn’t true, and the headlines don’t show that there’s a cover-up either.

Honesty in public debate matters

You can help us take action – and get our regular free email

One headline pre-dates the pandemic, and the others have nothing to do with Covid-19

The first headline that appears says “Climate change ‘will increase heart deaths’” and was published by the BBC in 2010, long before the pandemic or Covid-19 vaccines.

The other 19 headlines were published in 2021 or 2022 and discuss how various things can cause heart attacks, sudden or early deaths, cardiac arrest, heart-related death, dementia, heart disease and strokes.

Most of the stories are about studies that have linked baking soda, energy drinks, shovelling snow, living under a flight path and solar storms with various heart conditions or death. Most of the papers referenced only show possible links between these things, and don’t prove the factors actually cause the conditions.

We’ve checked claims that link headlines about what might cause heart attacks to vaccines before. But stories in newspapers about various day-to-day items or activities causing heart issues long predate the pandemic.

We’ve checked several claims previously linking heart attacks with the Covid-19 vaccines. There is no known link between the vaccines and heart attacks. 

Myocarditis and pericarditis, which are not heart attacks, but different forms of inflammation of the heart, have been identified as a possible side effect of vaccination with the mRNA Covid vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna). Up to 27 July 2022, the Medicines and Healthcare product Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has received 816 reports of myocarditis and 553 reports of pericarditis following use of the Pfizer vaccine, and 227 reports of myocarditis and 135 reports of pericarditis following the Moderna vaccine.

Few cases following vaccination so far have been severe. As the MHRA says: “Most of these cases are mild and recover in a short time period with standard treatment.”

The British Heart Foundation states the vaccine is safe for people with heart and circulatory conditions, and adds: “No vaccine is approved unless it is considered safe for people with long-term conditions, including heart and circulatory conditions, and including older people.”

Vaccination protects against Covid-19 deaths and serious illness

The video also claims that “Big pharma’s jabs have led to a significant rise in mortality”. It doesn’t mention Covid-19 specifically, but we assume this is what it’s referring to.

There is no evidence that Covid-19 vaccinations have led to a rise in mortality. In fact, we have evidence to the contrary. 

We know that the Covid-19 mortality rate in England was over ten times higher in unvaccinated people than vaccinated people between January 2021 and May 2022. Plenty of other data shows that the vaccines protect against hospitalisation, admittance to critical care, severe Covid-19 outcomes in older people and death from Covid-19, at least for a period.

We have previously fact checked claims that more vaccinated people are dying. As the Office for National Statistics says: “Changes in non-COVID-19 mortality by vaccination status are largely driven by the changing composition of the vaccination status groups; this is because of the prioritisation of people who are clinically extremely vulnerable or have underlying health conditions, and differences in timing of vaccination among eligible people.”

Essentially, because so many people have now been vaccinated, and the elderly and unwell were prioritised for vaccination, a high level of deaths from all causes are now expected in the vaccinated group.

There are higher than expected excess deaths at the moment, but these are not linked to vaccination

There have been reports of an increased number of excess deaths compared to the average over the last five years, even when Covid-19 deaths are accounted for. 

There are several theories about why this might be. An ageing population, being more likely to get ill following a Covid-19 infection, not getting treated for other problems during lockdowns, and high temperatures have all been suggested.

There is no evidence these deaths are linked to Covid-19 vaccination. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency monitors vaccines in the UK and has found no such link between the vaccine and large numbers of deaths. It has found a link between the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and a specific type of blood clot following which there have been 80 deaths as of 27 July. 

Image courtesy of Bank Phrom

Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.