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

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

As the U.S. reaches an unfortunate landmark in coronavirus deaths — over 500,000 on Tuesday, a number unsurpassed by another nation — one meme on social media is drawing attention to deaths following COVID-19 vaccination.

“What’s your mind? Have you heard those tales?” asks one Feb. 19 Instagram submit depicting the “I Guess I’ll Die” meme – an photograph of a person in a purple turtleneck shrugging – surrounded by using nine distinct headlines from diverse news retailers reporting submit-vaccination deaths. 

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

While no longer explicit in its messaging, the juxtaposition of the headlines around the critical meme, often used to convey Deaths resignation to loss of life, suggests the vaccine can be the perpetrator. Many of the post’s remarks echo the sentiment, likening the vaccine to the infamously unethical Tuskegee syphilis study on Black men, which falsely advertised remedy for “bad blood,” a term generally used for a lawn sort of illnesses. 

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

“Hard pass … I urge you all to analyze the Tuskegee test if you haven’t already,” another wrote. “We are guinea pigs. Don’t play yourself.”      

USA TODAY turned into unable to reach the Instagram consumer for in addition comment. 

More:Fact check: CDC isn’t always inflating the COVID-19 demise depend

Deaths among aged in Norway ruled unrelated to vaccine

One of the nine headlines is a Jan. 15 article posted within the New York Post that details the deaths of 23 people in Norway — all over age 75 and thirteen of whom were nursing domestic residents — within every week of vaccination with Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine.

On social media, news of those deaths quick morphed into the declare that Pfizer’s vaccine became singularly accountable. This allegation changed into in addition compounded via the dying of 86-yr-vintage former Atlanta Braves athlete Hank Aaron nearly three weeks after his first vaccine dose on Jan. 22. 

Aaron’s dying isn’t always believed related to the vaccine. Similarly, an ongoing research through the Norwegian Medicines Agency and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has not observed any proof to indicate the deaths a few of the 23 critically frail and elderly people were related to the vaccine.

“So some distance, there are no statistical analyses that suggest that coronavirus vaccination has had an accelerated danger of death among the ones vaccinated,” said Dr. Sara Viksmoen Watle of the NIPH in a Jan. 18 declaration.    

The World Health Organization also conducted its own evaluate and did no longer find “any surprising or untoward growth in fatalities in frail, elderly people or unusual 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 stated forty one-yr-antique Portuguese health worker Sonia Acevedo had died on Jan. 1, “two days upon getting the Pfizer covid vaccine.” The article became among many others suggesting a correlation among the timing of her dying and the vaccine.      

In a Jan. five press launch, the Portuguese Ministry of Justice stated preliminary post-mortem findings did now not imply “evidence of a causal dating among (Acevedo’s) death and the vaccine she received.” No motive of death turned into provided, the ministry citing the “secrecy of justice” as the motive why. USA TODAY used Google Translate and different translation offerings to interpret Portuguese into English.

Prior to Acevedo’s dying, a volunteer in the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial in Brazil died, CNN reported in October. Because AstraZeneca had not discontinued or paused the trial, because it had executed within the past because of an “unexplained infection” among one among its U.K. Phase III trial volunteers, it seemed the volunteer’s demise became now not vaccine related. 

“All full-size clinical incidents, whether or not members are in the manipulate group or the Covid-19 vaccine institution, are independently reviewed. Following cautious assessment of this situation in Brazil, there had been no worries about safety of the scientific trial and the independent overview similarly to the Brazilian regulator have encouraged that the trial should continue,” said the University of Oxford, AstraZeneca’s collaborator, in an emailed assertion to CNN. 

While no additional info at the demise were launched due to “medical confidentiality and medical trial regulations,” an AstraZeneca spokesperson advised CNN, Bloomberg mentioned the volunteer who died changed into not the various vaccine arm, in step with an insider source.    

More:Fact test: Long-term face mask use will now not purpose lung most cancers

Deaths of 2 California medical experts

Three of the 9 headlines within the Instagram put up confer 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. five, consistent with each neighborhood FOX and CBS News associates. He become hospitalized after experiencing abdominal ache and issue breathing hours later, sooner or later placed in a medically prompted coma on Jan. 7 and died on Jan. 9.

Zook’s demise has been stated to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, a country wide monitoring device co-controlled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

No purpose of death has been identified; further research is underway.

“The Orange County Deaths Coroner has an open dying research into Zook’s dying and can be engaging in additional assessments inside its autopsy protocol … it’ll use the ones findings, along side post-mortem findings, to make a final determination into the motive and way of dying as a way to now not probably occur for three-4 months,” stated the Orange County Coroner’s workplace in an e mail to USA TODAY.

If the demise is dominated vaccine-related, the workplace stated it might at once notify the Orange County Health Care Agency.

In Placer County, an unnamed medical examiner died on Jan. 21 numerous hours after being vaccinated, NBC News Wisconsin associate reported. 

The sixty four-yr-antique male had examined high quality for the unconventional coronavirus in late December; at the time of his dying, health officers did no longer indicate whether this factored into his fitness or demise. 

The Placer County Sheriff-Coroner Division dominated out the vaccine as a reason of loss of life in an updated declaration released Jan. 30 on its Facebook page. 

“Through our research, we’ve discovered more information about the man or woman. We have learned that no longer simplest had he currently been recognized with COVID-19, he also had underlying health issues, and had been exhibiting signs of infection on the time the vaccine changed into administered. Clinical examination and lab outcomes have determined the COVID-19 vaccine has been dominated out as a contributing element in the character’s demise.”

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

Florida doctor’s loss of life nonetheless under research

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

The 56-12 months-vintage received Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 18 at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, in which he practiced, and died 16 days later from a brain hemorrhage after multiple remeDeaths dies for his ITP failed, The New York Times said. 

Pfizer instructed the Times it was “actively investigating” the medical doctor’s death “but we do not consider at the moment that there may be any direct connection to the vaccine.” 

Thirty-six different similar instances of ITP were reported to VAERS, the Times reported in early February, but it’s far unknown whether these activities are causally associated with the vaccine.

It is really worth noting ITP changed into now not determined in either Moderna or Pfizer’s large scientific trials of mixed over 70,000 members. 

More:Fact test: Amish groups were laid low with COVID-19 pandemic

Death of Virginia woman believed now not due to vaccine, investigation underway for dying of New York guy

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

NBC news stated Keyes, fifty eight, was vaccinated with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. five. She remained within the health facility for the encouraged 15-minute statement length to display for any hypersensitive reaction earlier than being discharged. Keyes later again with proceedings of vomiting and hassle respiration, at which point she changed into rushed to Virginia Commonwealth University Health Tappahannock Hospital. She died the next day. 

According to Dr. M. Norman Oliver, Virginia state fitness commissioner, Keyes’ dying did no longer appear connected to any vaccine-associated hypersensitivity. 

“Preliminary findings indicate that the purpose of demise became now not anaphylaxis, however it will take several weeks for additional information to emerge as to be had,” he stated in a statement on Feb. 5. “We can verify that the dying occurred inside hours of having obtained the vaccine, but that is not evidence of it being related. We are currently investigating and do now not but know the purpose of death.”

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

In a statement, New York state health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker stated the person “exhibited no unfavourable reactions or any misery” all through the 15-minute statement duration.

No legitimate cause of dying has been concluded however a clinical investigation is underway, pronounced local CBS News associate CBS 2.

More:Fact check: Merck discontinues COVID-19 vaccine paintings over susceptible immune response

Correlation isn’t causation 

While reports of deaths following COVID-19 vaccination may additionally sound alarming, health care experts are reminding the general public there may be no conclusive affiliation between the 2.

“These vaccines have had first rate safety profiles in the trials and submit-authorization. So some distance, there was nothing to affirm these lousy events,” stated Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, to ABC News in February. 

“These medical events occur every unmarried day, inclusive of unexplained illnesses,” stated Dr. William Schaffner, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, also to ABC News. “The query in reality is, do they occur at a more price within the vaccinated population than they do within the preferred populace?”

So a long way according to a current CDC record, almost 90% of VAERS reviews had been “nonserious activities and worried neighborhood and systemic signs.” The CDC envisioned out of 1,000,000 humans, hypersensitive reactions befell in more or less 5, a number of inside range of what has been reported with different vaccines for the flu, meningitis and shingles.

The information analyzed turned into gathered between Dec. 14, 2020, and Jan. thirteen, a term that noticed 13.eight million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines administered.

A overall of 113 deaths have been stated, consisting of from loss of life certificates and autopsy reviews, but no causal hyperlink among coronavirus vaccination and loss of life changed into found, consistent with the CDC.  

Our ruling: Missing context

We rate this declare MISSING CONTEXT because with out additional context it is probably deceptive. The deaths of numerous individuals throughout the U.S. and someplace else following COVID-19 vaccination did arise, however the vaccine has now not been identified as a reason of dying. A current CDC report discovered that of the 113 demise reports to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System among Dec. 14 and Jan. thirteen — a time period which saw 13.eight million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines administered — no causal link between vaccination and dying turned into located. 

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