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There is no clear evidence COVID-19 vaccines have caused any deaths.
Several hundred children have died from COVID-19.
A viral image about COVID-19 vaccines and kids makes this distressing — and spurious — claim:
"Children are 50 times more likely to be killed by the Covid vaccines than by the virus itself."
The words are presented as a quotation attributed to "Dr. Michael Yeadon, former Pfizer VP." Included are the Pfizer logo, a clown holding cash and two hands outstretched toward the money.
Child deaths from COVID-19 are rare, but several hundred kids in the United States have died from the virus. There is no clear evidence that COVID-19 vaccines have caused any deaths in the U.S.
The FDA on Oct. 29 granted emergency use authorization to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, after finding it to be safe and effective for that age group.
The claim stems from a June interview Yeadon gave to Steve Bannon, a podcast host who served as a White House aide and strategist to former President Donald Trump.
Yeadon, who hasn’t worked for Pfizer since 2011, said young people are not at risk of serious illness from COVID-19: "It’s a crazy thing then to vaccinate them with something that is actually 50 times more likely to kill them than the virus itself."
Bannon interrupted Yeadon, saying, "I want you to back this up."
Yeadon’s reply did not cite any evidence to back his claim regarding children.
Yeadon responded by discussing what he described as the large number of adverse events after COVID-19 vaccination, as compared to other vaccines, that have been reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a federal database run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration that is often used for misinformation.
VAERS helps researchers collect data on vaccine after-effects and to detect patterns that may warrant a closer look. It is designed as an open system, where anyone can submit a report, and the reports are widely accessible. The reports are not verified, and incomplete VAERS data is often cited as a basis for false claims about vaccine safety. The CDC cautions that VAERS results are not enough to determine whether a vaccine causes a particular adverse event.
Yeadon was formerly the chief scientific officer and vice president of allergy and respiratory research, his LinkedIn profile says. But his statements about COVID-19 vaccines have become fodder for a number of false social media claims.
The Spanish fact-checker Maldita.es rated Yeadon’s claim false.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association reported that as of Nov. 4, there were 614 COVID-19 deaths among children. That figure was based on reports from 45 states, New York City, Puerto Rico and Guam, and it amounted to 0.09% of the 673,301 total COVID-19 deaths in those areas.
Meanwhile, there is no clear evidence that COVID-19 vaccines have caused any deaths in the U.S. Researchers are still evaluating whether there is a connection between the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and rare types of blood clots that have led to deaths, but such cases are few.
In vaccine trials, zero deaths were reported among the 1,131 adolescents age 12 to 15 who received the Pfizer vaccine, according to an April 2021 FDA document. Zero deaths also were reported among 2,489 people ages 12 to 17 who received the Moderna vaccine, according to an August 2021 medical journal article.
In July 2021, the CDC reported there were 14 deaths among 8.9 million people age 12 to 17 who received Pfizer vaccinations. None of the deaths were determined to be related to the vaccines, said Dr. Sonja Rasmussen, professor in pediatrics and epidemiology at the University of Florida.
In total, more than 432 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from Dec. 14, 2020, through Nov. 8, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 9,549 reports of death (0.0022%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine.
A viral image claimed that "children are 50 times more likely to be killed by" COVID-19 vaccines than by the virus itself.
There is no clear evidence COVID-19 vaccines have caused any deaths. Several hundred children have died from COVID-19.
We rate the claim Pants on Fire.
Instagram, post, Nov. 5, 2021
Archive.is, Mike Yeadon interview, June 9, 2021
Listen.warroom.com, podcast (18:30), June 9, 2021
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Selected Adverse Events Reported after COVID-19 Vaccination," Nov. 10, 2021
American Academy of Pediatrics, "Children and COVID-19: State Data Report," Nov. 4, 2021
PolitiFact, "Former Pfizer employee wrong that coronavirus pandemic is ‘effectively over’ in UK," Dec. 2, 2020
PolitiFact, "Ask PolitiFact: Children are far less likely to die from COVID-19. Why do they need vaccination?", Oct. 27, 2021
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