The claim: A YouTube video said, “COVID-19 vaccines caused 26.6 million injuries, 1.36 million deaths, and cost the economy billions of dollars.”
The title of the video states that: “According to Analysis 26.6 Millions (sic) people were injured that can be attributed to Covid19 Vaccines!”
Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in a YouTube video posted by Lynn Agno, a notorious anti-vaxxer and COVID-19 fake news peddler. The video containing the claim has over 5,500 views and 292 comments as of writing.
Incorrect, inadequate, flawed: The full claim about the injuries, deaths, and economic loss allegedly caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was first found in an analysis entitled, “The Vaccine Damage Project” that was released in March 2023 by Phinance Technologies, a global macro alternative investment firm.
According to Health Feedback, claims made by Phinance Technologies were “inaccurate and based on a flawed analysis.” Health Feedback is a worldwide network of scientists who verify claims and correct disinformation about vaccine safety.
Health Feedback said Phinance Technologies’ analysis “showed no causal association, relying exclusively on detecting correlations.” Health Feedback also said that the datasets used by Phinance Technologies were unable to provide the necessary information to make conclusions about the relationship between COVID-19 vaccination and the health of the workforce.
The Public Health Communications Collaborative (PHCC) also debunked the validity of The Vaccine Damage Project, stating that the organization that published the data “has no expertise in medicine, public health, or etymology.” PHCC is formed by independent non-profit organizations to coordinate and amplify public health messaging on COVID-19.
The PHCC further goes on to say that the analysis is “not a real study and wasn’t peer reviewed.” The analysis also uses unverified data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, PHCC said.
Vaccines are safe: According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials, and met the rigorous standards of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The CDC further states that adverse events, or serious safety problems, are rare. An adverse event is described as an event that “can be caused by the vaccine or can be caused by a coincidental event not related to the vaccine, such as an unrelated fever, that happened following vaccination.”
Debunked by other organizations: Aside from Health Feedback, fact-checking organizations Politifact, Lead Stories, and The Paradise have also fact-checked claims made by Phinance Technologies regarding the effects of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Health disinformation peddler: Lynn Agno, the poster of the video, is a notorious COVID-19 and vaccination fake news peddler who has been fact-checked by Rappler 22 times as of February 16, 2023. Rappler previously reported that Agno’s Facebook was taken down by Meta, but she has since found other platforms such as YouTube to spread fake news.
For legitimate information and updates about COVID-19 and vaccines, visit the official websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. – Katarina Ruflo/Rappler.com
Katarina Ruflo is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.
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