Fact check: Misleading meme suggests deaths following COVID-19 vaccination are due to vaccine

The claim: Deaths following COVID-19 vaccination are because of the Deaths vaccine

As the U.S. reaches an unlucky lDeaths andmark in coronavirus deaths — over 500,000 on Tuesday, a number of unsurpassed through another country — one meme on social media is drawing interest to deaths following COVID-19 vaccination.

“What’s your mind? Have you heard these testimonies?” asks one Feb. 19 Instagram post depicting the “I Guess I’ll Die” meme – an picture of a man in a purple turtleneck shrugging – surrounded via 9 distinctive headlines from diverse news retailers reporting publish-vaccination deaths. 

Three of the headlines contain deaths in Portugal, Brazil and Norway; the opposite six containmedical experts in California, a Florida doctor, a Virginia girl in her 40s and New York guy in his 70s. 

While not explicit in its messaging, the juxtaposition of the headlines across the significant meme, often used to Deaths convey resignation to dying, indicates the vaccine can be the offender. Many of the put up’s feedback echo the sentiment, likening the vaccine to the infamously unethical Tuskegee syphilis study on Black guys, which falsely marketed treatment for “awful blood,” a term generally used for a lawn style of ailments. 

“If people get (the vaccine) they’re insane: Tuskegee Experiment with a twist,” wrote one commentator. 

“Hard skip … I urge you all to research the Tuskegee experiment if you haven’t already,” any other wrote. “We are guinea pigs. Don’t play your self.”      

USA TODAY became unable to attain the Instagram consumer for in addition comment. 

More:Fact test: CDC is not inflating the COVID-19 demise count number

Deaths among aged in Norway ruled unrelated to vaccine

One of the nine headlines is a Jan. 15 article published within the New York Post that details the deaths of 23 people in Norway — all over age seventy five and thirteen of whom had been nursing home citizens — within every week of vaccination with Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine.

On social media, information of those deaths quick morphed into the declare that Pfizer’s vaccine turned into singularly responsible. This allegation was similarly compounded through the dying of 86-12 months-antique former Atlanta Braves athlete Hank Aaron almost three weeks after his first vaccine dose on Jan. 22. 

Aaron’s death isn’t believed related to the vaccine. Similarly, an ongoing research by using the Norwegian Medicines Agency and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has no longer observed any proof to signify the deaths a number of the 23 significantly frail and elderly people were associated with the vaccine.

“So a ways, there aren’t any statistical analyses that indicate that coronavirus vaccination has had an improved danger of death amongst those vaccinated,” said Dr. Sara Viksmoen Watle of the NIPH in a Jan. 18 statement.    

The World Health Organization also carried out its personal evaluate and did now not discover “any unexpected or untoward boom in fatalities in frail, elderly individuals or uncommon traits of detrimental events following administration of BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine).”         

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Deaths in Portugal and Brazil

On Jan. four, the British Daily Mail mentioned 41-12 months-antique Portuguese medical examiner Sonia Acevedo had died on Jan. 1, ” days after getting the Pfizer covid vaccine.” The article turned into among many others suggesting a correlation among the timing of her dying and the vaccine.      

In a Jan. 5 press launch, the Portuguese Ministry of Justice said preliminary post-mortem findings did now not suggest “proof of a causal relationship among (Acevedo’s) death and the vaccine she obtained.” No cause of dying changed into supplied, the ministry citing the “secrecy of justice” as the cause why. USA TODAY used Google Translate and other translation offerings to interpret Portuguese into English.

Prior to Acevedo’s dying, a volunteer inside the Deaths AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial in Brazil died, CNN stated in October. Because AstraZeneca had now not discontinued or paused the trial, as it had carried out within the past because of an “unexplained illness” among one in every of its U.K. Phase III trial volunteers, it seemed the volunteer’s demise turned into no longer vaccine related. 

“All significant medical incidents, whether individuals are inside the manage organization or the Covid-19 vaccine organization, are independently reviewed. Following careful assessment of this example in Brazil, there have been no concerns approximately protection of the clinical trial and the independent review further to the Brazilian regulator have recommended that the trial must keep,” said the University of Oxford, AstraZeneca’s collaborator, in an emailed announcement to CNN. 

While no extra details on the demise had been launched because of “clinical confidentiality and clinical trial regulations,” an AstraZeneca spokesperson informed CNN, Bloomberg stated the volunteer who died changed into not many of the vaccine arm, in keeping with an insider supply.    

More:Fact check: Long-time period face masks use will not cause lung cancer

Deaths of 2 California medical experts

Three of the 9 headlines inside the Instagram publish consult with deaths in Orange and Placer counties in California.

Tim Zook, an X-ray technologist at South Coast Global Medical Center in Santa Ana, obtained his 2nd coronavirus vaccine dose on Jan. 5, according to each local FOX and CBS News affiliates. He became hospitalized after experiencing abdominal ache and problem breathing hours later, subsequently placed in a medically brought about coma on Jan. 7 and died on Jan. nine.

Zook’s loss of life has been reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, a countrywide monitoring system co-controlled via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

No Deaths motive of loss of life has been diagnosed; similarly research is underway.

“The Orange County Coroner has an open dying investigation into Zook’s demise and may be carrying out additional exams within its post-mortem protocol … it’s going to use those findings, in conjunction with post-mortem findings, to make a final determination into the cause and way of dying so as to no longer in all likelihood arise for three-4 months,” stated the Orange County Coroner’s office in an e mail to USA TODAY.

If the dying is ruled vaccine-related, the workplace stated it would right now notify the Orange County Health Care Agency.

In Placer County, an unnamed health worker died on Jan. 21 several hours after being vaccinated, NBC News Wisconsin affiliate said. 

The 64-year-vintage male had examined wonderful for the novel coronavirus in overdue December; on the time of his dying, fitness officers did now not indicate whether this factored into his fitness or demise. 

The Placer County Sheriff-Coroner Division dominated out the vaccine as a cause of death in an updated statement launched Jan. 30 on its Facebook page. 

“Through our research, we have discovered more details about the man or woman. We have found out that now not simplest had he these days been identified with COVID-19, he additionally had underlying health troubles, and have been showing symptoms of infection at the time the vaccine became administered. Clinical examination and lab consequences have decided the COVID-19 vaccine has been ruled out as a contributing aspect inside the character’s dying.”

More:Fact take a look at: Post distorts WHO’s COVID-19 PCR checking out pointers

Florida physician’s death still below investigation

Obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Gregory Michael died from complications of immune thrombocytopenia, or ITP – poor blood clotting because of a loss of platelets – in early January. 

The fifty six-year-antique received Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 18 at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, wherein he practiced, and died sixteen days later from a mind hemorrhage after a couple of remedies for his ITP failed, The New York Times pronounced. 

Pfizer told the Times it turned into “actively investigating” the doctor’s death “but we do not trust presently that there is any direct connection to the vaccine.” 

Thirty-six different comparable cases of ITP had been reported to VAERS, the Times mentioned in early February, but it’s far unknown whether or not those activities are causally related to the vaccine.

It is well worth noting ITP become not discovered in either Moderna or Pfizer’s big scientific trials of mixed over 70,000 members. 

More:Fact take a look at: Amish communities were laid low with COVID-19 pandemic

Death of Virginia lady believed now not due to vaccine, investigation underway for death of New York man

Earlier in February, Drene Keyes of Gloucester, Virginia, and an unnamed New York City resident in his 70s have been stated to have died rapidly after vaccination.

NBC information pronounced Keyes, fifty eight, became vaccinated with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 5. She remained in the hospital for the encouraged 15-minute observation period to monitor for any allergic reaction earlier than being discharged. Keyes later back with complaints of vomiting and problem respiratory, at which point she changed into rushed to Virginia Commonwealth University Health Tappahannock Hospital. She died day after today. 

According to Dr. M. Norman Oliver, Virginia kingdom fitness commissioner, Keyes’ demise did not seem linked to any vaccine-related hypersensitive reaction. 

“Preliminary findings suggest that the motive of demise was no longer anaphylaxis, however it’ll take numerous weeks for additional statistics to turn out to be to be had,” he said in a assertion on Feb. 5. “We can affirm that the demise happened within hours of getting received the vaccine, but that isn’t evidence of it being associated. We are currently investigating and do not yet realize the reason of death.”

The unnamed New York City man died on Feb. 7 after collapsing outdoor of Manhattan’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, in which he obtained his vaccine 25 mins earlier, the New York Post suggested. 

In a declaration, New York country health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said the person “exhibited no adverse reactions or any misery” throughout the 15-minute remark period.

No legitimate motive of death has been concluded however a clinical research is underway, suggested local CBS News affiliate CBS 2.

More:Fact test: Merck discontinues COVID-19 vaccine work over vulnerable immune response

Correlation isn’t always causation 

While reviews of deaths following COVID-19 vaccination can also sound alarming, health care experts are reminding the public there may be no conclusive association among the 2.

“These vaccines have had extremely good protection profiles in the trials and put up-authorization. So a ways, there has been not anything to affirm those awful activities,” stated Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, to ABC News in February. 

“These scientific events occur every single day, which include unexplained illnesses,” said Dr. William Schaffner, professor of medicine within the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, additionally to ABC News. “The question genuinely is, do they occur at a more price within the vaccinated populace than they do in the standard populace?”

So a ways in step with a latest CDC document, nearly 90% of VAERS reviews have been “nonserious activities and worried nearby and systemic signs and symptoms.” The CDC predicted out of a million human beings, allergic reactions befell in more or less 5, a number inside range of what has been stated with other vaccines for the flu, meningitis and shingles.

The information analyzed become accrued among Dec. 14, 2020, and Jan. 13, a time period that noticed thirteen.8 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines administered.

A overall of 113 deaths had been suggested, inclusive of from loss of life certificates and autopsy reports, however no causal link among coronavirus vaccination and loss of life become observed, consistent with the CDC.  

Our ruling: Missing context

We rate this claim MISSING CONTEXT because without extra context it might be misleading. The deaths of diverse individuals throughout the U.S. and elsewhere following COVID-19 vaccination did arise, however the vaccine has not been identified as a cause of demise. A latest CDC document discovered that of the 113 loss of life reviews to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System among Dec. 14 and Jan. thirteen — a time period which saw 13.8 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines administered — no causal link among vaccination and loss of life became determined. 

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