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Fact check: Vaccine not linked to COVID-19 deaths in Gibraltar

The claim that coronavirus deaths in Gibraltar have been caused by the vaccine, not the virus, has been shared on social media. This claim is false.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

Examples can be seen (here , (here).

“Gibraltar is 2.6 square miles in size. On 6th January they had only 10 covid deaths in total. The vaccine arrived to the island on 10th January. By 20th of January there were 53 deaths. Today worldometer is showing that there are now 70 deaths. SEVENTY!! Why is no one talking about Gibraltar?”, the posts read.

The coronavirus vaccination programme began on Jan. 10 in Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula (here).

By that date, there had been a total of 16 COVID-19 deaths recorded by the government (here).

By the 20th, this had increased to 53 (here), and to 70 seven days later (here).

But there is no evidence whatsoever that these deaths are linked to the roll out of the vaccine.

The increase appears to be part of an upward trend that started before the first vaccine dose was administered.

On Jan. 27, the government said in a statement that out of the more than 11,000 people who had been vaccinated, six had died for unrelated reasons (here).

“The Gibraltar Health Authority can confirm that there is no evidence at all of any causal link between these six deaths and the inoculation with the Pfizer vaccine”, the press release said. “Statements to the contrary on social media are entirely untrue.”

According to the government, these six people appear to have caught COVID-19 before they were vaccinated.

“Despite testing for COVID-19 before vaccination, the infection had not been detected in them at the time they were vaccinated, but in the days immediately after.”

These people were all aged between 70 and 100, the government said.

Reuters fact check has debunked similar claims about COVID-19 vaccine safety (here , here) and (here).

VERDICT

False. There is no evidence that the increase in COVID-19 deaths in Gibraltar are in anyway linked to the vaccine.

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

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