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There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine is linked to an increase in child mortality.
One person younger than 20 has died because of an adverse reaction to the vaccine, according to the United Kingdom’s Office of National Statistics.
A blog took data out of context and omitted that most of the children in the data set who had received multiple COVID-19 vaccinations were at higher risk of death due to existing medical conditions.
A United Kingdom-based blog has taken COVID-19 data out of context to claim that vaccinated children are more at risk of death than unvaccinated children.
The headline of a July 27 blog post by The Daily Exposé claims: "SHOCKING: U.K. government admits COVID vaccinated children are 4,423% more likely to die of any cause & 13,633% more likely to die of COVID-19 than unvaccinated children."
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The data referenced in the blog post is from the Office of National Statistics, which reports directly to the U.K. Parliament. The office collects, analyzes and disseminates statistics about the U.K.'s economy, society and population.
This is not the first time The Daily Exposé has made such a claim. In January, the blog used Office of National Statistics data to falsely assert that the COVID-19 vaccine was causing an uptick in deaths among children.
There is no evidence in the ONS data to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines are linked to children’s deaths, agency spokesperson Glenn Garrett told PolitiFact in February.
The ONS reported that as of Aug. 23 there had been 45 deaths in England in which a COVID-19 vaccine was mentioned on a death certificate. In 39 of these cases, the vaccine was the underlying cause. Of the people who died, only one was younger than 20.
The ONS data for England covers Jan. 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022 and shows:
Total deaths related to COVID-19, by vaccination status, for people ages 10 to 19
Total deaths unrelated to COVID-19, by vaccination status, for people ages 10 to 19
The data set does not list the cause for non-COVID-19 deaths.
Of the 272 vaccinated children who died during this time, 10 had COVID-19. And of the 473 unvaccinated children who died, 33 had COVID-19.
The sample size of vaccinated children is much smaller than that of unvaccinated children because for most of 2021 in England, the COVID-19 vaccine was available only to children who had health conditions that could make them more vulnerable to a serious case of COVID-19. The vaccine became widely available to all children 12 to 17 years old in August 2021. Children younger than 12 became eligible for the vaccine in December 2021.
In England, children ages 16 and older are eligible to receive a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Some children ages 12-15 who have certain medical conditions are also eligible for a third COVID-19 vaccination.
The Daily Exposé attempted to do its own mortality rate and vaccine effectiveness calculations using the ONS data. It claimed children ages 10 to 14 who have received three COVID-19 vaccine doses are 13,633% (or about 137 times) more likely to die of COVID-19 than unvaccinated children.
The blog also claimed children ages 10 to 14 who have received three COVID-19 vaccine doses are 4,423% (or about 45 times) more likely to die of any cause than unvaccinated children.
However, this is misleading. The blog’s calculations found deceptively high mortality rates for triple-vaccinated children because of the overrepresentation of children with medical conditions.
The Office of National Statistics calculates the age-standardized mortality rates for adults in England. But the office did not do that for children because of the disparities in sample sizes of vaccinated and unvaccinated children, and because children with other health issues that put them at higher risk for severe illness were prioritized for the vaccine and booster shot.
In its data set, the ONS notes these disparities and cautions against comparing mortality rates and death counts between people in different vaccination statuses.
Garrett, the ONS spokesperson, also told PolitiFact in February that because of these factors, any mortality rate comparisons between vaccinated and unvaccinated children would not be meaningful.
Other factors can also influence mortality rates, regardless of vaccination status, including individual health conditions, changes in COVID-19 infection levels, the emergence of new dominant variants and differing levels of immunity from previous infection.
A blog post said that in England, "COVID-19 vaccinated children are 4,423% more likely to die of any cause and 13,633% more likely to die of COVID-19 than unvaccinated children."
There is no evidence that links the COVID-19 vaccine to an increase in deaths among children in England. Disparities in sample sizes of vaccinated and unvaccinated children, and prioritizations for vaccination prevent a valid comparison among the groups, said a spokesperson for a U.K. office that collects health data.
We rate this claim False.
PolitiFact, "No, the COVID-19 vaccine is not increasing child mortality in England," Feb. 11, 2022
Office of National Statistics, "Deaths involving COVID-19 by vaccination status, England: deaths occurring between 1 January 2021 and 31 May 2022," July 6, 2022
Office of National Statistics, "Covid vaccination injuries," Aug. 23, 2022
National Health Services, "How to get a booster dose of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine," July 25, 2022
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