U.K.'s ONS data has been misrepresented to show that COVID vaccines caused 600,000 deaths in the U.S.

By: Vivek J
May 2 2023

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U.K.'s ONS data has been misrepresented to show that COVID vaccines caused 600,000 deaths in the U.S.


The Verdict Misleading

The official number on COVID-19 vaccine-related deaths in the U.S. is nowhere near 600,000 as claimed.

Claim ID ffbc8c5c


Insurance research analyst, Josh Stirling, has claimed that the COVID-19 vaccines were responsible for the deaths of about 600,000 Americans in a year. He used the U.K.’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) data to compare it with that of the United States. He made these claims during a roundtable discussion with U.S. Senator Ron Johnson in December 2022. This was also published on the website of “vigilantfox,” a platform known for spreading misinformation on COVID-19 vaccinations. The same was also published by the Florida Times. 

The claims made by Stirling have gone viral on Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok and have been amplified by several anti-vaccine accounts and conspiracy theorists. However, the graphic representation of the ONS data by Sterling is incorrect, and the statistical data has been grossly misrepresented to show a considerable number of COVID vaccine-related deaths. 

In Fact

No official statistics show that around 600,000 Americans have died due to the adverse effects of COVID-19 vaccines. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the vaccine injury reporting platform VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) has recorded about 19,476 preliminary reports of deaths (0.0029 percent) among people who received COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC also noted that continued monitoring of such death reports on VAERS has identified nine deaths causally associated with the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. 

The CDC also highlighted that “reports of deaths after COVID-19 vaccination are rare.” It further stressed that “reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem.” However, the official number of deaths reported via VAERS or any other means of COVID-19 vaccine-related deaths is nowhere near 600,000, as claimed by Stirling. 

Furthermore, by closely going through the death statistics cited by Stirling using the U.K.’s ONS data, we found that he cited statistics from the “all-Cause Mortality rate” data and not explicitly that of deaths caused by COVID-19 vaccines. The document containing the complete data based on age has noted that it is of “age-standardized mortality rates by vaccination status for all-cause deaths, deaths involving COVID-19 and deaths not involving COVID-19, per 100,000 person-years.” Thus, it is clear that the deaths listed in this data could be due to many reasons — including COVID-19 infection, natural death, or of people with any other ailments. 

This is not the first time ONS data has been misrepresented by COVID deniers and anti-vaxxers. Logically Facts has previously debunked multiple such claims, 

Assessing such datasets requires considering the population size of the U.K. According to ONS, the U.K. population in 2021 was 67 million. Vaccination data shows that 53.8 million people have taken at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. This indicates that only a small fraction of people are unvaccinated. 

The Verdict

Insurance research analyst Josh Stirling cited data from the U.K.’s ONS and claimed that about 600,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 vaccines. However, he misrepresented ONS data to show deaths from all-cause mortality rate data, which includes all deaths, not just deaths related to vaccination. There is no evidence that 60,000 Americans died from vaccination. Therefore, we have marked this claim as misleading. 


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