Does official data show that more people have died from the vaccines than from COVID-19? No, that's not true: The claim misconstrues what the statistics show. It discounts the deaths of people with COVID-19 and pre-existing conditions and assumes that everyone who dies after getting the shot did so because of the vaccine.
As Lead Stories has reported previously, it's statistically inevitable that some people will get sick and die of unrelated causes after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, just because some -- indeed, most -- COVID-19 patients had pre-existing conditions, that doesn't mean the virus can't be the cause of their deaths.
The claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by The Daily Expose on June 12, 2021. The article was titled, "IT'S OFFICIAL - Official Data shows more people have died because of the Covid Vaccines in 6 months than people who have died of Covid-19 in 15 months", and opened:
We can officially confirm that the number of people to have died due to the Covid vaccines has surpassed the number of people who have died of Covid-19.
Users saw this on social media at the time of writing:
The article compares two figures -- the number of people who reportedly died within 28 days of getting a COVID-19 vaccine in Scotland and the number of people who reportedly died from COVID-19 in England -- and misconstrues the data on both.
On one side of the comparison, it dismisses the deaths of those COVID-19 patients who had a pre-existing condition. The article relies on statistics published by the National Health Service (NHS), which reported that 87,213 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 died in hospitals in England. Of that number, 83,624 had a pre-existing condition, while 3,589 did not.
The article twists that data to say that only the deaths of those without pre-existing conditions count. It states:
Thankfully the NHS data informs us that just 3,589 people have died OF Covid-19 within 28 days of a positive test result in England hospitals between March 2020 and June 2nd 2021. A number which does not justify 15 months of dictatorial tyranny and medical fascism.
But just because some -- indeed, most -- COVID-19 patients had pre-existing conditions, that doesn't mean the virus wasn't to blame for their deaths.
Lead Stories has previously written about COVID-19 and comorbidity, the simultaneous presence of multiple conditions or diseases in a patient. It's very common and people can live for years with certain comorbidities. If COVID-19 comes along and cuts a person's life short, regardless of whether that person had a pre-existing condition, the virus is responsible. See our earlier coverage here and here.
On the flip side of the comparison, the article assumes that everyone who died after getting the vaccine died because of the vaccine. That's not a valid assumption. As Lead Stories has reported previously, it's statistically inevitable that some people will get sick and die of unrelated causes after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Furthermore, the article links to this report from Public Health Scotland, which explains the data on deaths in great detail (jump to page 7). The report makes the same point as our previous debunk, that people will die after getting the vaccine for unrelated reasons, and goes on to say how researchers approached that inevitability. The report reads:
As the vaccination programme is being rolled out to the entire adult population, many people will experience an illness or death in the days following their vaccination by coincidence. This is particularly the case for those vaccinated early in the programme, when the programme prioritised the very elderly population and those with pre-existing underlying health conditions. In order to account for this, we have compared the total number of observed deaths per month to the number we would have expected, based on the average number of deaths that occurred per month (by age band and gender) for the same time-period between 2015 and 2019. This is called excess mortality.
Between 8 December 2020 and 28 May 2021, a total of 3,752 people died within 28 days of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in Scotland (number of days between vaccine and death is 0-27, where 0 is the day of vaccination, all age groups). A breakdown of these deaths by day and vaccine type is available in this spreadsheet. Using the 5-year average monthly death rate (by age band and gender) from 2015 to 2019 for comparison, 8,492 deaths would have been expected among the vaccinated population within 28 days of receiving their COVID-19 vaccination. This means the observed number of deaths is significantly lower than expected compared with mortality rates for the same time period in previous years.
In other words, the number of deaths reported after the vaccine is lower than expected. That's a far cry from the article's claim.
The article also alleged that "86% of children suffered an adverse reaction to the Pfizer vaccine ranging from mild to serious in the extremely short clinical trial." Lead Stories looked into that claim before and found it inflated the data. The 86% figure represents the percentage of adolescents who reported pain at the injection site after the first shot. Serious adverse events were extremely rare, according to health officials. See our story here.