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Correcting this week’s misinformation: week of August 24, 2023

Did 120,000 children die after COVID vaccination?

The Claim:

Anti-vaxxers are circulating an article that claims that 120,000 “children” have died since 2020 and that vaccines are to blame. The source for this data is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and their table of excess deaths for people under the age of 45 from 2020-2023.

The Facts:

The overall claim is based on data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OEC), which tracks excess deaths. Note, the dataset doesn’t include the type of death let alone the supposed “suddenness” of the deaths.

Excess deaths refers to the difference between the expected number of deaths and the actual number of deaths in a specific time period and includes all deaths from all causes. The specific claim that almost 120,000 of these deaths are “sudden deaths” and due to the COVID vaccine are completely unfounded, and they offer no evidence to back up this claim. Rather, the CDC indicates that many of these excess deaths are due to COVID infection itself.

If this claim had any merit, one would expect a higher number of deaths in areas with higher vaccination rates. However, higher excess deaths were seen in areas with lower vaccination rates.

Are vaccines riskier than disease for healthy people?

The Claim:

U.S. Senator tweeted claims that COVID vaccines carry a 28 times higher risk for myocarditis than COVID itself does and that no young, healthy people have died from COVID.

The Facts:

COVID kills, even young, healthy people. And death isn’t even the only severe outcome of COVID. Long COVID, can impact between 4-25% of children and young adults as well.

Second, while one study did find that rates of myocarditis was higher in males under 40 after vaccination than after COVID infection, the authors of the paper pointed out that COVID-induced myocarditis had a much higher risk of heart failure or death than vaccine-induced myocarditis did.

CDC data shows that myocarditis is more common after infection than vaccination for teen and young adult males.

Should we worry about infertility?

The Claim:

former pharmaceutical employee is claiming that COVID vaccines were manufactured to cause infertility on purpose.

The Facts:

These claims are based on misconstrued data. Here’s how the data was collected: Scientists tested lipid nanoparticles on rats. These nanoparticles are like tiny packages that hold the mRNA used in the COVID vaccine. The scientists put a special label on these nanoparticles that allowed them to see where they went in the rats’ bodies and how long they stayed there.

It’s important to clear up a misunderstanding about why lipid nanoparticles were used. These lipid nanoparticles weren’t chosen to make the vaccine release medicine slowly. Instead, they carry a small piece of genetic material called mRNA into our cells. This purpose is different than the slow release of medication that we are used to with other medications.

When we look at the data, we see that most of the nanoparticles stayed where they were injected, and some went to the liver. Only very tiny amounts, less than 1%, went to other parts of the body, and in most places, it was even less than 0.1%. So, the claim that most of these nanoparticles spread throughout the body is not correct.

Also, in the ovaries, the highest amount of nanoparticles found was very, very small (only about 0.095% after 48 hours). It’s important to remember that this amount might be even tinier in human ovaries because the dose used in the COVID vaccine is much less than what they used in the rat study.

But here’s the most crucial part: There’s no proof that these tiny amounts of nanoparticles harm the ovaries in rats, let alone in humans. In fact, a study with 32 women found that neither getting COVID nor getting the vaccine had any bad effects on their ovaries. So, these worries about the vaccine affecting fertility are not supported by the evidence.

The conspiracy theory that vaccine manufacturers are purposely trying to depopulate humanity is not new and would not be sustainably secret, given the number of people who have worked on mRNA vaccination over the decades.

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