Fact Check: COVID Shots Have NOT Increased 'Serious Injury' From Vaccines By Over 2000% In Germany

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: COVID Shots Have NOT Increased 'Serious Injury' From Vaccines By Over 2000% In Germany Needs Context

Have COVID-19 shots increased "serious injury" from vaccines by over 2,000% in Germany? No, that's not true: A press and public relations officer for DKG, the German Hospital Federation, says information was improperly analyzed by a conspiracy theorist. He added, "Millions of people had side effects after their vaccination. The vast majority of these side effects disappeared after a short while and [were] harmless." Typical complaints included low-grade fever, muscle pain and tiredness.

The claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by the en Volve website on February 6, 2022, under the headline "Startling New Data From Germany Shows Cases of Serious Injury From The Vax Have Increased Over 2000%." It opened:

Cases of serious jab injury have increased twenty-fold in Germany, according to new data coming out of German hospitals.

German data analyst Tom Lausen has been evaluating the figures from hospitals, the Robert Koch Institute and the DIVI intensive care register since the beginning of the pandemic. In an interview with Milena Preradovic, Lausen said he had calculated that based on the accounting data from German hospitals, the jabs have led to an alarming incidence of serious side effects that have required medical intervention.

This is what the article looked like on the en Volve website on February 14, 2022:

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(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Feb 14 18:55:48 2022 UTC)

The en Volve article uses figures from Germany's Institute for the Remuneration System in Hospitals GmbH (InEK), which were evaluated by Tom Lausen, described in the article as a data analyst. The InEK records data about hospitalizations in that country. As in the United States and other countries, International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes are assigned, depending on the details of each case. In a February 15, 2022, email to Lead Stories, Dr. Jรถrn Wegner, a press and public relations officer with DKG, said "Lausen's analysis is so simple that it went wrong":

The only thing he did was [count] the cases with the ICD Code U12.9 ('Unwanted side effects after Covid-19 vaccinations, not further classified'). But this does not mean, that every patient, who got the code U12.9, suffered under vaccination side effects. It means, that any patient treated in hospital and suffering under a symptome, that could be potentially a side effect of the vaccination, got this code. For example: A person, who was vaccinated some days ago and has to be treated in a hospital because of a strong headache, will be coded with U12.9 (and lots of other codes). Even when it comes out, that the headache is caused by a brain tumour, U12.9 will remain in the statistics. U12.9 also applies for much more hospital patients, who were recently vaccinated and who are suffering under symptomes like unspecified feeling of sickness, muscle pain and many more.

Wegner described Lausen and his work by saying:

This 'analysis' was done by Tom Lausen, who is not a data analyst but one of the better known German conspiracy theorists concerning hospitals and health care. Therefore his 'report' was published also in English on a website full of fakenews concerning Covid-19 and vaccinations.

In the same email, Wegner noted additional limitations of diagnostic code U12.9, saying it doesn't give any information about the severity of the side effects:

Millions of people had side effects after their vaccination. The vast majority of these side effects disappeared after a short while and [were] harmless. In Germany, Paul-Ehrlich-Institut is monitoring the side effects of the vaccinations: This report [is based] on scientific data and shows that the vaccines are very safe.

As Germany is liable for any serious side effects, people can apply for ... compensation in case they suffer from any lasting symptomes that could be connected to their vaccination. So far we count only 1600 applications, and the vast majority of them [were] not justified. More than 63 million people in Germany have received at least one dose.

The Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI), an agency of the German Federal Ministry of Health, reports on suspected cases of adverse reactions or vaccination complications from the mRNA vaccines by Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Moderna (Spikevax), and vector vaccines by AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) and Johnson & Johnson (COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen). According to the Safety Report 27 December 2020 to 31 December 2021 (click on link under Safety Reports), which comes from Germany's Robert Koch Institute (also part of the health ministry), more than 148.7 million vaccinations were carried out:

A total of 244,576 suspected adverse events were reported after Comirnaty, Spikevax, Vaxzevria and COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen. The reporting rate was 1.64 reports per 1,000 vaccine doses for all vaccines combined, and 0.20 reports per 1,000 vaccine doses for serious reactions.

Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System

Vaccine manufacturers are required to report adverse events to regulatory authorities, including U.K. and European health organizations, as well as the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) in the United States, which is run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Anyone with internet access can add a report to the VAERS list of reports. The public access link to it expressly warns against unwarranted conclusions based on VAERS material because the list only provides a tally of unverified notes about any health event people experience after they are vaccinated.

The list itself cannot be used to prove or quantify, since all it shows is a chronological correlation, not the causal link that would be more difficult to establish. It's the equivalent of a police precinct's running "blotter" of reports that may serve as a starting point for police work, not an endpoint.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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