COVID-19 vaccines have not caused an 8,200% increase in child deaths between 2021 and 2022, as has been claimed in a video posted on social media. That figure “completely misrepresents data”, according to a UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) spokesperson.
The footage, posted on Facebook here, shows a man in military uniform addressing an audience outside a COVID-19 vaccination centre in Windsor that he and other protesters had attempted to close down on Oct. 11.
During a five-minute speech, he claimed (at 1:34): “There is an 8,200% death increase in our children this year. So, from 2021 to 2022 there was an 8,200% death increase in our children. Mine and yours. The vaccines are not safe, and they are not effective.”
Similar posts can be seen on Facebook (here and here), Instagram (here), Twitter (part one here and here, part two here), where the videos have together been shared more than 2,300 times, and in this online blog (here).
The individual in the clips told Reuters via Telegram that he saw the 8,200% figure in an article by The Exposé (here). But the publication made a different claim: that children’s risk of death increases between 8,100% and 32,000% after COVID-19 vaccination when compared to unvaccinated children, based on The Exposé’s own analysis of ONS data through March 2022 (here).
However, the claim in the video “completely misinterprets the data”, an ONS spokesperson told Reuters via email.
“There has not been an 8,200% increase in child deaths between 2021 and 2022,” based on weekly data through early October (here), the spokesperson said. Comparing total deaths over the same period across the last three years shows that “from week 1 to week 39 in 2020, there were 2,419 deaths registered for 0-14-year-olds. Based on weekly data, from week 1 to week 39 in 2021, there were 2,415 deaths registered for 0-14-year-olds. Based on weekly data, from week 1 to week 39, in 2022 there were 2,496 deaths registered for 0-14-year-olds.”
“So barely any change”, the spokesperson added.
Addressing the claim in The Exposé about an increase in the risk of death in children who are vaccinated, the spokesperson added that the ONS has “always said mortality rates should be interpreted carefully for children because of the way children at risk were prioritised in the vaccine rollout” and because “rates vary considerably due to the relatively low number of deaths in these age categories”.
Children with underlying health conditions who were most at risk from COVID-19 were first in line to be vaccinated in the UK beginning in late 2021 and early 2022 (here and here).
“Clinically vulnerable children and young people have higher mortality rates than those with no comorbidities, and this explains why vaccinated children have a higher rate of death than those who remained unvaccinated,” the spokesperson said.
However, “there is no evidence of the vaccine having an effect on death rates,” they added, citing tables 12 and 13 on the monthly spreadsheets available at this ONS webpage (here), which illustrate the rarity of deaths linked to COVID-19 vaccination at any age, and only one involving a child in the UK.
In the most recent spreadsheet tally of deaths between March 2020 and August 2022 (here), a total of 54 deaths in all age groups are attributed to “COVID-19 vaccines causing adverse effects in therapeutic use” (table 12), and of these, a single death occurred in the 10-19 age group while there were none among younger children (table 13).
Reuters addressed a separate claim regarding the closing of a vaccination centre in Bristol made by the man in the video in a previous fact-check (here).
He declined an opportunity to comment when approached by Reuters.
False. There has not been an 8,200% increase in child deaths between 2021 and 2022. Based on unchanging rates of total mortality among UK children, and low rates of death tied to vaccination in all age groups, an ONS spokesperson said there is no evidence of vaccination having any effect on children’s mortality rates or risk.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.
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