Facebook post misinterprets BBC report on a ‘spike’ in neonatal deaths

23 November 2022
What was claimed

A BBC News article reported that spike protein had been “found in dead babies”.

Our verdict

Incorrect. The article reported that there had been two spikes in the rate of neonatal deaths.

A post on Facebook claims that the BBC reported that “there is spike protein found in dead babies”.

This is false. The BBC article referred to in the post reported that there have been “spikes”—meaning sudden rises—in the death rate among newborn babies in Scotland.

It does not mention spike proteins, which appear to refer to the proteins found on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes Covid-19.

Covid vaccines work by instructing the body to generate these spike proteins, inducing an immune response. Unevidenced claims that these spike proteins may be harmful have been common since the start of the vaccine roll-out. 

An earlier BBC report into the second spike in newborn baby deaths in Scotland included expert opinion that the vaccine was “not a factor”.

The NHS strongly recommends the Covid vaccine to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. You can read more of our work debunking misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines and pregnancy here.

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Spike in baby deaths in Scotland

The rate of neonatal deaths in Scotland, meaning deaths in the first four weeks of life, has twice exceeded Public Health Scotland’s (PHS) “control limits” recently, in September 2021 and March 2022.

PHS says: “Control and warning limits take into consideration the random variation between months that would be expected by chance, and help us decide when values are unexpectedly low or high and require further investigation.”

As a result, investigations were announced into both spikes.

The Facebook post shared a screenshot of and a link to a BBC News article from 30 September, which said: “The Scottish government has ordered the review of neonatal death rates after two spikes over a six-month period. Both increases were larger than what would normally be expected.”

This review was announced by the Scottish Government the same day.

The review was expected to be completed within six to nine months of the review team being formed.

Image courtesy of Kelly Sikkema 

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