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Nine deaths of adults have been linked to a causal relationship between the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and TTS, a rare event that causes blood clots with low platelets. But there are no confirmed deaths involving children linked to the vaccines.
The latest tally of children who have died with COVID-19 is 771.
A man who promotes himself as an entrepreneur and technology expert claims that federal data led him to make this statement:
"They've now killed close to TWICE as many kids from the vaccine as have died from COVID."
We’ve rated a previous claim by the blog writer, Steve Kirsch — that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine "kills more people than it saves" — as Pants on Fire.
His new statement falls into the same category.
MIT Technology Review describes Kirsch as a tech millionaire who "went from COVID trial funder to misinformation superspreader," as he boosted unproven COVID-19 drugs and campaigned against vaccines.
Kirsch accurately cites federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on deaths involving COVID-19 among children (age 0 to 18).
The latest data, published Dec. 15, three days after Kirsch’s post, showed 771 deaths.
Then Kirsch’s analysis goes off the rails.
To calculate what he calls vaccine deaths, Kirsch says he uses data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, an open system for accepting unverified reports about possible vaccine side effects. It is run by the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration.
But the actual VAERS database requires users to agree to a disclaimer that says in part that "VAERS reports alone cannot be used to determine if a vaccine caused or contributed to an adverse event or illness."
Kirsch’s contortion alleges that based on a figure of "excess" children deaths, and his own claim that VAERS data is "41 times underreported," there are 1,312 children deaths "that are highly likely to be caused by the vaccine."
There is no confirmed evidence of a COVID-19 vaccine causing the death of even one child.
More than 485 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from Dec. 14, 2020, through Dec. 13, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 10,483 reports of death (0.0022%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine.
But reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem. Anyone can submit a report of an adverse event but the reports themselves are not verified.
The CDC says a review of reports indicates a causal relationship between the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and TTS, a rare event that causes blood clots with low platelets, with a total of nine deaths of adults causally associated with that vaccine. The youngest was 28.
"Nationally comprehensive vaccine safety monitoring systems administered by both FDA and CDC have found no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination is causing or contributing to deaths in children," a CDC spokesperson told PolitiFact. "Specifically, no deaths in children after COVID-19 vaccination have been reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System where conclusive evidence demonstrated COVID-19 vaccination caused the patient’s death."
The CDC said it is reviewing the deaths of two girls within days of vaccination, both of whom had "complicated medical conditions." They are a 5-year-old whose underlying conditions included spastic cerebral palsy and seizure disorder; and a 6-year-old whose conditions included hypoxic encephalopathy and spastic cerebral palsy.
In the wake of the news over the blood clots, the CDC on Dec. 16 recommended the Pfizer and Moderna shots over Johnson & Johnson’s, citing "the latest evidence on vaccine effectiveness, vaccine safety and rare adverse events."
Kirsch claimed: "They've now killed close to twice as many kids from the vaccine as have died from COVID."
Federal data show 771 deaths involving COVID-19 among children. Nine deaths have been associated with one of the COVID-19 vaccines, but none were children.
The claim of nearly twice as many children being killed by COVID-19 vaccines — 1,312, when none have been confirmed — is false and ridiculous. We rate it Pants on Fire.
Substack, "They've now killed close to TWICE as many kids from the vaccine as have died from COVID," Dec. 12, 2021
Email, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesperson Martha Sharan, Dec. 17, 2021
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Adverse events among children ages 5–11 years after COVID-19 vaccination: updates from v-safe and the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)," Dec. 13, 2021
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Provisional COVID-19 Deaths: Focus on Ages 0-18 Years," Dec. 15, 2021
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Selected Adverse Events Reported after COVID-19 Vaccination," Dec. 16, 2021
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "CDC Endorses ACIP’s Updated COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations," Dec. 16, 2021
PolitiFact, "CDC does not show higher death rate from vaccines than from COVID-19 among kids," Oct. 7, 2021
PolitiFact, "Kids ‘50 times more likely to be killed’ by COVID-19 vaccines? Pants on Fire," Nov. 15, 2021
PolitiFact, "No evidence that the Pfizer vaccine causes deaths," Sept. 22, 2021
PolitiFact, "There’s no basis to claim thousands have died from COVID-19 vaccines," Dec. 10, 2021
Washington Post, "CDC recommends Pfizer, Moderna vaccines over Johnson & Johnson, citing rare blood-clot issue," Dec. 16, 2021
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