Australian vaccine death claims are a data fool

The statement

Several social media posts claim more than 400 deaths have been caused by COVID-19 vaccines in Australia, citing data from the country’s drug regulator as purported evidence.

A video shared on Facebook by an Australian user shows a man using the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Adverse Event Notification Database (DAEN). The footage shows the narrator looking for all reported adverse events for people who received the Comirnaty (Pfizer), Spikevax (Moderna), Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) or Janssen vaccines for COVID-19 from early 2021 to August 12.

Research results show 48,001 adverse events reported during this period and 456 deaths reported after vaccination.

“There have been 456 deaths in less than eight months from the vaccine … here is more than the deaths from COVID this year alone,” said the man (video tag 1min 59sec).

At the time of writing, the August 26 video has been viewed over 46,000 times and shared over 3,300 times.

A similar claim was broadcast as a meme listing the number of deaths from COVID-19 and the suspected number of “COVID-19 vaccine-related deaths” and adverse events in Australia between January 1 and August 24.

A video claims there have been 456 deaths in less than eight months from COVID-19 vaccines.


Figures included in the articles show post-vaccination deaths reported to TGA’s vaccine adverse events database, but only a small number of cases have been causally linked to COVID-19 vaccines, according to the regulator. medications. Naturally occurring deaths among those recently vaccinated are to be expected given the large number of people receiving the injections.

In addition, the TGA states that the most common adverse events reported after COVID-19 vaccination are mild and expected, such as pain at the injection site.

According to TGA COVID-19 Weekly Safety Report for September 2, 495 reports of deaths following vaccination have been received and reviewed since the start of vaccine deployment in Australia.

Of these, the TGA found that nine were linked to vaccination. All occurred after the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine – eight were cases of blood clots with low blood platelet count or thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), while one was a case of immune thrombocytopenia.

A TGA spokesperson said FactCheck AAP the drug regulator reviewed all reported deaths in people who had received the vaccines.

“Reporting and posting an adverse event report in the DAEN, including death, does not necessarily mean it is related to the drug or vaccine,” she said in an email. .

The spokesperson added that as the number of people vaccinated increased, the reporting of adverse events and deaths with a chance association with the vaccination also increased.

“This does not indicate a link between vaccination and reported deaths. Examination of individual reports and reporting templates does not suggest that vaccines played a role in these deaths, ”she said.

More than 19 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered as of August 29, according to the TGA report.

Professor Louisa Jorm, the director of the Center for Big Data Research in Health at UNSW, previously said FactCheck AAP that on average more than 450 people died in Australia every day before the pandemic, and that it was inevitable that some deaths would occur soon after the COVID-19 vaccination given the scale of the deployment – but it does not mean that the vaccinations caused the deaths.

The TGA report also noted that more than 55,016 reports of adverse events following vaccinations had been received. The most common of these were mild and short-lived, such as headaches, muscle aches, and injection site reactions, he said.

AusVaxSecurity, which monitors vaccine adverse events in collaboration with the TGA, also said adverse events after COVID-19 vaccinations were generally mild and short-lived.

Andrew McLean-Tooke, head of immunology at PathWest Laboratory Medicine, said FactCheck AAP ADN adverse event reports included mild adverse reactions well described in clinical studies, such as arm pain, fever, chills and muscle pain, as well as more serious reactions.

“For serious diagnoses such as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), the TGA tries to assess whether the reaction was truly associated with the vaccine, but for the majority, this causation is not assessed and in many cases, the vaccine may not be involved, ”he said in an email.

Dr McLean-Took said post-vaccination deaths from causes such as stroke or heart attack were still reported to the TGA even though they were assessed as unlikely to be vaccine-associated.

“People should be reassured that so much data is being collected, reviewed and made available in a transparent way for others to see,” he said.

Although reporting of adverse events is generally voluntary in Australia, the TGA says It is mandatory for vaccine suppliers to report all serious adverse events suspected of being related to their vaccines.

The TGA previously stated FactCheck AAP that anyone could report an adverse event, but about four in five cases were typically recorded by health professionals or state and territory health departments.

Similar false claims regarding a large number of deaths from COVID-19 vaccination have been disseminated based on misinterpretations of the US VAERS database and the The United Kingdom’s yellow card system.

A medical worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine.
A medical worker administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

The verdict

The publications falsely claim that COVID-19 vaccines have caused more than 400 deaths in Australia. Rather, the figures cited relate to all reported deaths after vaccination, the vast majority of which were assessed as unrelated to injections.

The drug regulator and experts say some natural deaths after vaccination are expected due to the scale of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout. Most of the adverse events reported after vaccination have been mild and transient.

False – Content that has no factual basis.

* AAP FactCheck is an accredited member of the International fact-checking network. To keep up with our latest fact checks, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Hector Hedgepeth

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