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Correcting this week’s misinformation: week of December 14, 2023

Are COVID vaccines causing deadly pneumonia?

The Claim:

A former radiologist is using the deaths of people worldwide to support the claim that COVID vaccines are people vulnerable to influenza and pneumonia.

The Facts:

This claim is essentially a list of 20 people from around the world who have been sick or have died from influenza or pneumonia. And it is important to note that while he is using this list as part of his #DiedSuddenly claims, a number of them are not dead.

Attributing these cases to COVID is incorrect since prior to COVID, half a million deaths annually occurred due to influenza, and over 2.5 million deaths were due to pneumonia around the world. Furthermore, not all of the people on the list have shared whether or not they received a COVID vaccine.

The heart of this claim is based on the idea that the COVID mRNA vaccines severely damage the immune system and leave people vulnerable to infections long term. While there is no evidence that this is true, there is plenty of evidence that COVID itself can make the immune system more vulnerable to infections.

Is the COVID vaccine everywhere in my body forever?

The Claim:

physician who falsely claims he invented mRNA vaccines is now claiming that the COVID vaccine is not safe and effective because it spreads throughout your body and stays there for a long time.

The Facts:

These concerns about mRNA in our bodies is taken completely out of proportion. Study after study shows that the mRNA COVID vaccines are safe and effective, and just because tiny amounts of mRNA may persist in the body (the vast majority usually degrades within days), doesn’t mean the vaccines are not safe nor effective. We have give billions of doses to humans, and we know they are safe and effective.

As for testing for transmission, there was no lie. No vaccine manufacturer or study ever claimed they studied rates of transmission because that is not something they tested for. Vaccines were tested and approved based on data for safety and efficacy: did they prevent disease, and are they safe? Preventing transmission is a happy unintended benefit and is often estimated after the vaccine is licensed and is not something that approvals depend on.

This study shows that even when infected with COVID, those who are fully vaccinated were contagious for about half as long and infected far fewer people (almost a quarter fewer) than those who were partially vaccinated or unvaccinated. And this newer study supports the idea that vaccinated people are less likely to transmit COVID.

Are vaccines correlated with SIDS?

The Claim:

story from 2011 about a baby who died after vaccination is again trending.

The Facts:

This story is about a baby, born at 35 weeks gestation, who ultimately died of SIDS around four months old. Before his death, he was hospitalized with RSV in February. On March 1, he was vaccinated and found dead during the night, March 4

It’s unlikely that the vaccine caused Mason’s death, as SIDS is a known cause of death, and vaccines are not correlated with SIDS.

SIDS often occurs in the age range when infants receive vaccines as part of their routine immunization schedule. Also, premature babies and babies who have recently had respiratory illnesses are at increased risk of SIDS.

The overwhelming consensus from multiple studies and medical organizations is that there is no evidence to support a causal relationship between vaccines and SIDS.  In fact, research has shown that infants receiving vaccines are at a lower risk of SIDS than those not vaccinated.

We also have the claim that the chance of death with pertussis is 0.00000625%. This claim is likely comparing the number of deaths from pertussis to that of the entire population. However, if you look at just babies who get pertussis in the first six months of life, half will end up in the hospital, 20% of them will end up with pneumonia, and 1 in 100 will die.

Also, prior to vaccination, the mortality rate of babies due to pertussis was 0.0045%. Because so many babies are now vaccinated against pertussis, it looks like vaccines have lowered that number significantly.

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