STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.
Do people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 shorten their average lifespan by a quarter century? No, that's not true: There is no scientific evidence or credible research to support the idea that being fully vaccinated for COVID-19 shortens a person's life expectancy. Vaccinations, including COVID-19 vaccines, go through rigorous testing and evaluation processes to ensure their safety and efficacy.
The claim appeared in a video on Instagram (archived here) published on May 21, 2023, with the partial headline "Years of Life Expectancy, Study Shows" from a Slay News article. The description for the post says:
This is just so upsetting. Yeah I fckn know they got he shot they are our family friends. They mean the world to so many. They may have gotten the show that does not mean they deserve to suffer as so many already have and how many "died suddenly "?
Yes we tried to warn them, to save them. We couldn't because we can only save ourselves.
Now more than ever love and compassion are needed. Are we not our brothers keeper????!
This is what the post looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:
(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Mon May 22 16:29:18 2023 UTC)
An automated narrator in the video fully quotes an article that was published (archived here) on the Slay News website on April 2, 2023, with the headline "Fully Vaxxed Lose 25 Years of Life Expectancy, Study Shows." The article cites an Epoch Times interview (archived here) from January 24, 2023, with Josh Stirling, founder of the Insurance Collaboration to Save Lives.
The Slay News article cites no particular study for its conclusions despite what the headline says. In addition, the interview with Stirling never names any specific studies either, instead, he shows a series of unreferenced charts and tables on the screen. While he says some of the data is from the United Kingdom or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, Stirling fails to link the information to particular data, a period of time or any experts in health care.
Stirling isn't in the medical profession. He's an self-described "insurance guy," who has spent his career "looking at numbers."
The Slay News story opens its case by saying its conclusions were drawn from three major sources:
Those who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 with mRNA shots will lose 25 years of their life expectancy, a bombshell new study has revealed.
Researchers analyzed government data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Cleveland Clinic Data, and insurance company risk assessment data.
The analysis uncovered a disturbing trend showing life spans plummetting in those who had multiple doses of the shots.
Asked for a response to the claims in the story, Andrea Pacetti, director of public & media relations at the Cleveland Clinic, provided a statement from the medical center in a May 22, 2023, email to Lead Stories. It said:
There is no Cleveland Clinic data (or any scientific data that we are aware of) that shows loss of life expectancy due to the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is safe and has shown to be beneficial for preventing severe illness and death due to COVID-19.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
In a May 22, 2023, email, Belsie González, a senior public affairs specialist at the CDC supplied this answer to the claims from the public health agency's Immunization Safety Office. The response said:
Despite continued misinformation on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, the findings from one of the largest studies ever conducted on the safety of a vaccine have been released and show once again that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. The results of the CDC study clearly illustrate that COVID-19 vaccines are not contributing to non-COVID deaths - there is no increased risk of death from non-COVID causes after COVID vaccination. In fact, rates of death among those who received the vaccines were lower than those who did not receive them.
This study's findings should reassure every American that these vaccines are safe. The findings also counter unsubstantiated claims that COVID-19 vaccines have caused widespread deaths.
Food and Drug Administration
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is responsible for ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, also addressed the claims in the social media post and story. Press Officer Abby Capobianco provided the FDA's response to Lead Stories in a May 22, 2023, email. It said:
We stand firmly behind the safety and effectiveness of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, which are fully supported by the available scientific data. Staying up to date on vaccination is the best way to reduce the risks of death and serious illness or hospitalization from COVID-19.
The benefit-risk profile of available mRNA COVID-19 vaccines is well understood following the administration of about one billion doses. FDA's previous benefit-risk assessments based on real-world evidence clearly demonstrated that the benefits of available COVID-19 vaccines outweigh their risks.
Additional Lead Stories fact checks related to COVID vaccines can be found here.
2023-06-28T18:02:25Z 2023-06-28T18:02:25ZFixes spelling of Josh Stirling's name throughout