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Fact Check-No link between hepatitis cases in children and COVID-19 vaccines

Posts have been spreading online in response to an increase in cases of hepatitis (liver inflammation) among children in Britain, the U.S. and Europe, with users suggesting a link to COVID-19 vaccines. There is no established link between the condition and the shots, however, according to public health authorities.

In early April, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) announced spikes in cases of hepatitis among children where the viruses typically causing hepatitis were not detected (here and here).

With 10 cases initially reported in Scotland online, there have now been at least 74 total cases of acute hepatitis identified in children in Britain (here).

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) also issued a public alert on April 12 about severe acute hepatitis in children, warning about symptoms including jaundice, gastrointestinal symptoms and vomiting (here).

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also reportedly helping health officials investigate cases of hepatitis in children in Alabama (here, here).

However, social media users have baselessly suggested a link between the hepatitis cases and COVID-19 vaccination (here, here, here and here).

In one example, a user says (here) : “Am I the only one wondering if they got, you know, that thingie in their arm?”

A representative of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) told Reuters of the UK cases: “There is no link to the COVID-19 vaccine.

“None of the currently confirmed cases in the UK has been vaccinated.”

One of several potential causes is a group of viruses called adenoviruses, the UKHSA said (here).

The UKHSA is also investigating other possible causes, including COVID-19, other infections and environmental causes.

Of 13 cases reported by Scotland, three tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection; five tested positive for adenoviruses, with two test results still pending (here).

Scottish Health Minister Maree Todd also told Scottish Parliament on April 19 that there was no link between the hepatitis cases and COVID-19 vaccines because none of the children had been vaccinated, according to reports (here, here).

A handful of cases of hepatitis with unknown causes were also reported in Ireland and Spain with investigations ongoing, according to the WHO (here).

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control also confirmed on Apr. 19 additional cases in The Netherlands and Denmark (here).

The WHO told Reuters via email that it is aware through International Health Regulations mechanisms and media reports of suspect cases in Britain, Spain, Ireland, Denmark, the Netherlands and the U.S.

The organisation added that it is maintaining contact with member states to verify the reports and confirm further information.

VERDICT

False. There is no link between the COVID-19 vaccine and hepatitis among children in Britain. None of the children had received COVID-19 vaccines. Adenoviruses may be causing the illnesses, but no cause has yet been established for cases in Britain, Europe and the U.S.

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

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