No evidence deaths from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome are really caused by Covid-19 vaccines

27 June 2022
What was claimed

Deaths from Covid-19 vaccines are being miscategorised as deaths from “Sudden Adult Death Syndrome”.

Our verdict

There is no evidence for this. The designation of SADS significantly predates the pandemic.

A post on Instagram suggests that the deaths of people from “Sudden Adult Death Syndrome” are really deaths caused by the Covid-19 vaccines.

An image in the post says: “Sudden Adult Death Syndrome = new name for The Vaccine Deaths.” A label attached to the image reads: “We all know it!”

Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) is a real cause of death, but there’s no evidence vaccine deaths are being miscategorised as such. 

What is SADS?

Although commonly referred to as Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS), it is also known by the term Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome. The condition is most common in those under the age of 40 but affects younger age groups as well. 

According to the British Heart Foundation, the term is used to describe deaths from cardiac arrest where the cause cannot be determined. It says: “The rhythm of your heart (which controls your heartbeat) is controlled by electrical impulses. If the electrical impulses go wrong, it can cause an abnormal heart rhythm known as an arrhythmia. 

“Some arrhythmias can be dangerous if they’re left untreated, they can cause a cardiac arrest. Your heart’s rhythm and electrical impulses are no longer there after death, this means an abnormal heart rhythm can’t be found and the heart’s structure will appear normal. This is why the cause of the cardiac arrest can’t be found and SADS might be diagnosed.”

SADS is believed to be the result of a range of rare genetic conditions that predispose individuals to suffer cardiac arrests, even if they have had no symptoms and have previously been fit and healthy and even taking part in competitive sports. 

Studies suggest SADS may be responsible for more than 500 deaths per year in England alone. 

SADS and Covid-19 vaccines

There is no evidence to suggest that deaths caused by the Covid-19 vaccines are being misreported as SADS deaths.

Furthermore it’s difficult right now to say whether SADS deaths have even increased since the start of the vaccine roll-out, as detailed data on causes of deaths is only available for the UK and the USA up to 2020, prior to the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out. 

All death certificates feature a code from the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) to identify the cause. 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says that “deaths where "Sudden Adult Death Syndrome" or "Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome" are mentioned on the death certificate are recorded with an ICD-10 code of R96 or I49.9 respectively.”

In England and Wales in 2020, these codes were listed as the underlying cause in 95 and 197 deaths respectively. 

For deaths from Covid-19 vaccines,  given the ICD-10 code U12.9, the ONS does publish more timely monthly data. 

According to the May 2022 edition of its monthly mortality analysis, there have been 43 deaths registered in England and Wales featuring this code since March 2020.

Of these cases, the Covid-19 vaccine was recorded as the underlying cause of death in 37 instances. 

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

The MHRA has recorded 81 deaths from a type of blood clot that it has said may be linked with the AstraZeneca vaccine, but we can’t say how many of these were caused by the vaccine.

SADS isn’t new

SADS predates the Covid-19 vaccines, and is not a newly invented category of deaths.

The founder of the US-based charity, the SADS Foundation, first began to study genetic disorders causing the sudden deaths of young people in the early 1970s. He established the foundation in 1991. 

The SADS Foundation has said it “recommends that all SADS patients receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

Although those with a genetic disposition to SADS and other cardiac issues are likely to be unaware that they have it, the British Heart Foundation says Covid-19 vaccines are safe for people with heart conditions and notes: “No vaccine is approved unless it is considered safe for people with long-term conditions, including heart and circulatory conditions, and including older people.”

Cardiac arrest deaths more generally

Analysis conducted by the ONS found no evidence of a change in the number of cardiac-related deaths, or deaths from any cause, in those aged between 12 and 29 following a Covid-19 vaccination. It said: ”This analysis therefore does not indicate any increased risk of cardiac-related deaths or deaths owing to any cause following vaccination.”

This followed reports that older children and young adults were at an increased risk of heart inflammation following vaccination with an mRNA vaccine. 

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