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Correcting this week’s misinformation: December 1, 2022

Sudden deaths

The Claim:

A new documentary film is claiming that all the sudden deaths that have happened in the last two years are due to COVID vaccines.

The Facts:

We were curious about the term “died suddenly” before COVID-19, so we made a video (posted on facebook) showing that people did, in fact, die suddenly before 2019. One article we found, from 2008, discussed the problem of silent, undetected heart disease in young athletes.

The crux of the film is that COVID vaccines are due to undetected blood clots. Make no mistake, images of the blood clots are meant to invoke disgust that short-circuits our rational thoughts. It’s important to know that embalmers are not qualified to conduct autopsies. Furthermore, the blood clots showcased in the film may be due to refrigeration of the bodies or the presence of formaldehyde due to embalming.

But The Real Truther has been digging into many of these cases, one by one. They are not standing up to scrutiny:

  • The wife of one mortician interviewed in the film states that there is no truth to anything her husband says in the film
  • Several of the deaths highlighted in the film occurred before people were able to get the vaccines
    • A teenager who died in April 2021, before the vaccine had been approved for teens
    • A UK teenager died from myocarditis caused by COVID infection and had been scheduled to receive a vaccine she never had
    • A college basketball player who didn’t die after collapsing in a game in 2020, before any vaccine existed

This film relies on multiple layers of misinformation: the scary story, the false expert, and the appeal to disgust. There will be future misinformers who do the same thing, so it is important for us to educate the public about how misinformation works.

Menstrual Cycles

The Claim:

Some folks are taking research about lengthened menstrual cycles as proof that COVID vaccines are messing up female reproductive organs.

The Facts:

It may seem from the outside the scientists were deliberately turning a blind eye to COVID vaccination and its effect on menstruation. The facts paint a different portrait.

Variations in menstrual cycles aren’t often studied in vaccine clinical trials and follow-up studies. In this case, some people suggested a connection. The first studies showed that any changes in menstrual cycles were temporary.

What scientists usually do and also did in this case, however, is study the effect of vaccines on fertility. Studies do not show any correlation between the COVID vaccine and reduced fertility. Conversely, COVID infection itself might have negative effects on fertility in both males and females.

Let's talk about autism

The Claim:

The pandemic has dealt a blow to routine childhood vaccine uptake, but recent Midwestern measles outbreaks highlight that the old lie about autism being in some way connected to the MMR vaccine still has legs. So let’s talk about vaccines and autism.

The Facts:

Excessive alarm about the rate of autism diagnosis is one of the factors spurring this myth. The reasons for the rise in these rates are multi-faceted: changes in diagnostic criteria, increased awareness, educational changes, and lowered rates of intellectual disability (PDF) account for most of the rising rates. Biological risk factors such as a father’s age and premature birth could account for some of the rise in the incidence of autism.

Plenty of evidence tells us that vaccines do not cause autism. Not only do the studies done to date show vaccines are not in any way linked to autism, but studies indicate disorganization of the prefrontal cortex in the brains of autistic people. This finding links autism to development that takes place before birth. Of all the risk factors for developing autism, we know genetics looks the most likely and being vaccinated is not among them.

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