Funeral director’s viral claims about vaccinated people not based in fact

21 December 2021
What was claimed

There are many more deaths from heart attacks, strokes and aneurysms than usually seen, as a direct result of thrombosis embolisms. Clots used to be rare but now they’re common.

Our verdict

The latest data for England and Wales shows that diseases to do with blood flow in the brain, such as strokes and aneurysms caused by clots are actually down compared to the five year average.

What was claimed

Having the Covid-19 vaccine eats away at your immune system, and people vaccinated six or eight months ago are dying from the common cold.

Our verdict

There’s no evidence this is the case. The vaccines are effective at preventing severe disease from Covid-19.

What was claimed

What the government has labelled the Omicron variant is actually cases of the common cold.

Our verdict

The Omicron variant of the virus has been sequenced, and over 45,000 cases of it have been confirmed in the UK so far.

A video of a man who runs a funeral home in Milton Keynes talking about the pandemic has gone viral on social media.

The man does operate a funeral home, and we have fact checked him before. He makes a number of claims in the video, namely that he’s seen an “unnaturally large number” of heart attacks, strokes and aneurysms caused by “thrombosis, embolisms”, and an increase in blood clots.

We can’t speak for what this funeral director may or may not have seen, but we can look at what is happening in the country as a whole.

The latest data from England and Wales shows that, in October 2021, rates of death from “cerebrovascular diseases”, which includes strokes, aneurysms and some of the other clot-causing issues he describes, were slightly lower than the five year average, so definitely not an “unnaturally large number”. It’s been close to the five year average every month since December of 2020 when the Covid-19 vaccination roll out began in the UK.

Heart attacks are harder to measure because they can be caused by several things. One of the most common general causes of death that includes heart attacks is coronary heart disease. Another name for coronary heart disease is ‘ischaemic heart diseases’, which is what the Office for National Statistics calls this kind of cause of death, which has also been stable against the five year average.

There is likely evidence of a link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and a certain type of blood clot together with low platelets. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency had received 428 reports of cases following a vaccine as of 8 December 2021, although we don’t know that all of those happened as a result of the vaccine, they were just reported afterwards. Of those there were 74 deaths. Those under 40 are therefore now recommended to have an alternative vaccine.

It’s also worth remembering that funeral directors aren’t the same as coroners, who are doctors or lawyers who investigate why somebody has died. Funeral directors may have some information about how the person died, from forms from the registar after the death is registered, and from talking to the deceased person’s family, but they don’t need the death certificate to perform a funeral.

The man in the video goes on to claim that people are dying because the Covid-19 vaccine that they’ve had “maybe six, eight months ago…it’s been eating away at their immune system and now they’re struggling to fight off things like the common cold.”

There is no evidence that any of the Covid-19 vaccines harm the immune system. In contrast, there is lots of data from studies, and also from people who have now had the vaccine outside of studies, that shows being recently vaccinated generally decreases your chances of getting Covid-19.

As for his claim that the Covid-19 Omicron variant is actually just the common cold, this is not the case. The Omicron variant has been sequenced, and genetic differences between it and other variants identified. In England, many cases of the Omicron variant have been identified through either sequencing the entire genome of the virus or sequencing the parts that identify certain variants, known as genotyping.

And we can tell the difference between cases of the Omicron variant and the common cold by performing PCR or lateral flow tests. There have been 45,145 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the UK, as of 19 December.

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