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There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine is linked to an increase in child mortality.
No one under the age of 35 in England has died due to 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 vaccinated children included in the dataset 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 the vaccine is causing an uptick in deaths among children.
The headline of a Jan. 29 blog post by The Daily Exposé claims: "Official data shows children are up to 52 times more likely to die following COVID-19 vaccination than unvaccinated children & the (Office of National Statistics) is trying to hide it."
The 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 ONS, which reports directly to the U.K. Parliament, collects, analyzes and disseminates statistics about the U.K.'s economy, society and population.
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.
The ONS reported that as of Feb. 3 there had been 15 deaths in England where a COVID-19 vaccine was mentioned on a death certificate. In 10 of these cases, the vaccine was the underlying cause. None of the people who died were under the age of 35.
The ONS data for England covers Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, 2021 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
Of the 81 vaccinated children who died during this time, one had COVID-19. And of the 256 unvaccinated children who died, 20 had COVID-19. The dataset does not list the cause for non-COVID-19 deaths.
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 the disease. The vaccine became widely available to all children 12 to 17 years old in August 2021. Children under 12 became eligible for the vaccine in December 2021.
The Daily Exposé attempted to do its own mortality rate calculations and claimed children are up to 52 times more likely to die following COVID-19 vaccination than unvaccinated children.
However, this is misleading. The blog’s calculations found deceptively high mortality rates for vaccinated children because of the over-representation of children with medical conditions.
The ONS calculates the age-standardized mortality rates for adults in England. But the ONS did not do that for children because of the disparities in sample sizes of vaccinated and unvaccinated children, and due to how children who had other health issues that made them at higher risk for severe illness were prioritized for the vaccine.
Due to these factors, any mortality rate comparisons between vaccinated and unvaccinated children would not be meaningful, Garrett said.
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 prior infection.
A blog post said that in England, "official data shows children are up to 52 times more likely to die following COVID-19 vaccination than unvaccinated children."
There is no evidence that links the COVID-19 vaccine to an increase in deaths among children in England.
We rate this claim False.
Email interview with Glenn Garrett, spokesman for the Office of National Statistics, Feb. 7, 2022
PolitiFact, "Article misleads on dangers of omicron variant using UK virus and vaccination data," Dec. 7, 2021
USA Today, "Fact check: Pfizer, Moderna vaccines don’t pose ‘any obvious safety signals’ in pregnancy, study found," July 25, 2021
PolitiFact, "COVID-19 vaccines did not cause a 366% increase in miscarriages, as article claims," April 2, 2021
FullFact.org, "Many more than 3,000 people have died of Covid-19," Feb. 22, 2021
Office of National Statistics, Deaths by vaccination status, England: deaths occurring between 1 January and 31 October 2021, accessed Feb. 4, 2022
GOV.UK, "All young people aged 16 and 17 in England to be offered vaccine by next week," Aug. 15, 2021
Office of National Statistics, "Deaths involving COVID-19 by vaccination status, England: deaths occurring between 1 January and 31 December 2021," Feb. 4, 2022
Office of National Statistics, "Deaths caused by the COVID-19 vaccine up to January 2022," Feb. 3, 2022
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