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Fact Check-Deaths reported under UK 'Yellow Card' scheme aren’t confirmed to be linked to COVID-19 vaccination

Social media posts have claimed that more than four hundred people have died soon after receiving the coronavirus vaccine. This claim needs context.

Examples can be seen (here) and (here).

“456 U.K. deaths so far immediately after having ‘vaccines’”, the posts read. “MHRA has received 212 UK reports of suspected ADRs to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in which the patient died shortly after vaccination, 244 reports for the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine.”

One role of the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is to monitor vaccine safety by receiving reports of suspected side effects.

Any health professional or member of the public can report suspected side effects through the Yellow Card scheme.

As the post correctly notes, there has been more than 400 reports of suspected adverse reactions to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccines in which the patient died shortly after vaccination (here).

For the purpose of monitoring, these reports (here) (here) document all the suspected adverse reactions that have happened after vaccination.

It is not, however, a list of those who died because of the vaccine.

“The nature of Yellow Card reporting means that reported events are not always proven side effects”, the MHRA says. “Some events may have happened anyway, regardless of vaccination.”

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 MHRA says.

Many of those who have been vaccinated so far are elderly or have pre-existing medical conditions, which further increases the likelihood of coincidental adverse events happening.

According to the MHRA, the number and nature of these adverse reactions is not usual compared to other routinely used vaccines.

The agency has investigated the reports, but to date has not found the vaccine responsible for the deaths.

VERDICT

Missing context. This number reflects adverse reactions that have happened after vaccination, but not necessarily caused by the vaccine.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here.

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