Some people have died after Covid-19 vaccination—not because of it
5 February 2021
What was claimed
Covid-19 vaccines are killing many people according to data on the VAERS system.
Incorrect. Reports on VAERS are not evidence that the vaccine caused these deaths. Data collected so far suggests that Covid vaccines are safe.
We’ve seen severalpostson Facebook using the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) in the US to claim that Covid-19 vaccines have caused many deaths.
This is not what the VAERS data means. It is a list of reported incidents that took place after vaccination, not necessarily because of it.
At the moment, thousands of people around the world are being given Covid vaccines every day. If someone gets ill or dies shortly after being vaccinated, this does not mean the vaccine caused it. We have written about this issuebefore.
The UK has so far received 143 reports of death following vaccination—none of which were caused by it. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) says: “The majority of these reports were in elderly people or people with underlying illness. Review of individual reports and patterns of reporting does not suggest the vaccine played a role in the death.”
What is VAERS?
VAERS was established in 1990 by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the US. It collects reports of problems after vaccination, to act as an early-warning system in case some of those problems are being caused by vaccines. The UK has a similar system called the Yellow Card Scheme.
Anyone can report an event on VAERS, and these are subsequently published on its database.
As the website explains, “VAERS is a passive reporting system, meaning it relies on individuals to send in reports of their experiences to CDC and [the Food and Drug Administration]. VAERS is not designed to determine if a vaccine caused a health problem, but is especially useful for detecting unusual or unexpected patterns of adverse event reporting that might indicate a possible safety problem with a vaccine.”
It also says, “The report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event.”
The Facebook posts we’ve seen show people using the VAERS database to find a list of deaths that took place after a Covid vaccination, then falsely suggesting that the vaccine caused them. This is wrong.
The UK’s follow-up monitoring of the Covid vaccines has found that “the vast majority of reported side effects are mild and all are in line with most types of vaccine, including the seasonal flu vaccine”. These include things like a sore arm and fatigue.
This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here.
For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false
because these are reports of death after vaccination, not because of it.
You’ve probably seen a surge in misleading and unsubstantiated medical advice since the Covid-19 outbreak. If followed, it can put lives at serious risk. We need your help to protect us all from false and harmful information.
We’ve seen people claiming to be health professionals, family members, and even the government – offering dangerous tips like drinking warm water or gargling to prevent infection. Neither of these will work.
The longer claims like these go unchecked, the more they are repeated and believed. It can put people’s health at serious risk, when our services are already under pressure.
Today, you have the opportunity to help save lives. Good information about Covid-19 could be the difference between someone taking the right precautions to protect themselves and their families, or not. Could you help protect us all from false and harmful information today?