Fact Check-Reports to UK’s Yellow Card Scheme are not confirmed side effects of coronavirus vaccines

The false claim that reports to the British government’s Yellow Card scheme for adverse drug reactions are confirmed side effects of COVID-19 vaccines is circulating again on social media.

This is a common misinterpretation of how the scheme works, and has been covered repeatedly in previous Reuters fact checks (here , here , here , here).

Most recently, yet another social media post (here) has claimed to present the number of deaths from coronavirus vaccines which has been recorded by the UK’s Yellow Card Scheme.

According to the graphic shown in the post, there had been 1,517 deaths and 1,102,228 adverse reactions by August 2, 2021.

Alongside these figures, text on the graphic asks: “Why is this not being reported and the injections stopped.”

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) monitors vaccine safety by receiving reports of suspected side effects.

Any health professional or member of the public can report suspected side effects from the vaccines via the Yellow Card Scheme (

The latest Yellow Card report (here) includes data up to July 21 and recorded 1,517 deaths and 1,102,228 adverse reactions after vaccination.

However, as previously explained, reports to the Yellow Card scheme are not confirmed adverse reactions, but suspicions that might well be coincidental.

The MHRA explains that: “Many suspected ADRs [adverse reactions] reported on a Yellow Card do not have any relation to the vaccine or medicine and it is often coincidental that they both occurred around the same time” (here).

Due to the sheer scale of the vaccination program, it is accepted that some people will naturally experience a new illness after receiving the vaccine.

“It is therefore important that we carefully review these reports to distinguish possible side effects from illness that would have occurred irrespective of vaccination,” the agency says.


Missing context. These reports are not confirmed fatalities or adverse reactions to the coronavirus vaccines. Instead, they are suspicions that may be coincidental.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .