Fact Check: England Did NOT Publish 'Horrific Figures On COVID Vaccine Deaths' -- Data Does NOT Link Deaths To Shots

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: England Did NOT Publish 'Horrific Figures On COVID Vaccine Deaths' -- Data Does NOT Link Deaths To Shots Age Is Factor

Did England publish "horrific figures on COVID Vaccine Deaths" that show 1 in 482 people died within a month of receiving their shot, 1 in 246 died within 60 days and 1 in 73 died by May 2022? No, that's not true: While the figures are correct, according to the U.K. Office of National Statistics, the statistics are missing crucial context that would tell the full story. In addition, the numbers don't establish a link between the vaccine and the deaths, only that the deaths happened in certain time frames after the shots were given.

The claims appeared in an article (archived here) published by The Exposé on September 11, 2022, under the title "Government publishes horrific figures on COVID Vaccine Deaths: 1 in 482 dead within a month, 1 in 246 dead within 60 days, & 1 in 73 dead by May 2022." It opened:

The UK Government has published official figures on deaths following Covid-19 vaccination and they reveal that 1 in every 482 Covid-19 vaccinated people in England sadly died within one month of Covid-19 vaccination, 1 in every 246 Covid-19 vaccinated people in England sadly died within 60 days of Covid-19 vaccination, and 1 in every 73 Covid-19 vaccinated people were dead by May 2022.

This is what the study looked like on The Exposé website at the time of writing:

The Expose.png

(Source: Exposé screenshot taken on Tue Sep 13 15:04:15 2022 UTC)

Accurate, but misleading

The Exposé article cites "Deaths by vaccination status" data from England released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in making its claims. In a September 14, 2022, email to Lead Stories, an ONS spokesperson said, "the headline numbers appear to be accurate," but the numbers are presented in a way that is "highly misleading." The spokesperson said:

For instance, most (>82%) of deaths in vaccinated people are in people >70 years old. This is the age group more likely to be in poorer health. When the highest vaccinated category has the highest natural death rate (oldest), most deaths will be in that category.

Furthermore, when most of the population is vaccinated, most deaths are in vaccinated people. People die all the time, of all causes, regardless of vaccination status of any kind.

In England, 76.2 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data. Additional details on vaccination in England are available on the country's coronavirus website.

In a September 13, 2022, email from the U.K. Health Security Agency, the government's public health agency echoed the ONS:

In the context of very high vaccine coverage in the population, even with a highly effective vaccine, it is expected that a large proportion of cases, hospitalisations and deaths would occur in vaccinated individuals, simply because a larger proportion of the population are vaccinated than unvaccinated and no vaccine is 100% effective. This is especially true because vaccination has been prioritised in individuals who are more susceptible or more at risk of severe disease. Individuals in risk groups may also be more at risk of hospitalisation or death due to non-COVID-19 causes, and thus may be hospitalised or die with COVID-19 rather than because of COVID-19.

When COVID vaccines were first approved in the United Kingdom in early January 2021, they were first given to those most at risk -- the elderly and the medically fragile -- before being expanded to more of the population over time.

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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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