COVID-19 Fact Checks

FALSE: UK, US underreport COVID-19 vaccine adverse effects

FALSE: UK, US underreport COVID-19 vaccine adverse effects
The study cited in the video has been previously debunked. The agencies monitoring the cases say that the actual number of cases may be lower than what is reported.
At a glance
  • Claim: The United Kingdom and the United States are underreporting cases of COVID-19 vaccine’s adverse effects, reporting only 1% of the actual number.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: The study cited in the video has been previously debunked. Both the UK and the US have monitoring systems for COVID-19 vaccine’s adverse effects. These use self-reporting methods in recording cases, which means reported events are not always proven side effects, and some events may have happened anyway, regardless of vaccination. The agencies in charge of these systems say that the actual number of cases may be lower than what is reported.
  • Why we fact-checked this: The video has over 967,000 views, 19,000 reactions, and 10,000 comments on Facebook, as of writing.
Complete details

In a video livestreamed on June 21, Facebook user Lynn Agno falsely claims that the United States and the United Kingdom are underreporting cases of adverse effects caused by COVID-19 vaccines, with 1% of the actual cases reported to the public.

The video is titled: “URGENT!!! Evidence-based Medicine Consultancy Groups sa UK nanawagan sa Department of Health ng ‘kompletong pagpapatigil’ ng COVID19 INJECTIONS sa tao!!!” (Evidence-based Medicine Consultancy Groups in the UK calls on the Department of Health for “complete cessation” of COVID-19 injections in humans!)

At the 9:14 mark of the video, Agno says, “Itong mga report dito, ayon sa pag-aaral, more or less one percent lang ang nairereport sa totoong mga namatay at mga nagkaroon ng adverse reaction.”

(The reports here, based on studies, only report more or less one percent of the real number of deaths and cases of adverse reaction.)

Agno also instructs her viewers on how to get the real number of cases. “Kung ano iyong amount dito ng mga tao na namatay, i-multiply ‘nyo iyon ng 100 (Whatever number you see in the reports, multiply it by 100),” she says, referring to the figures released by the Yellow Card Scheme of the UK and the Vaccine Adverse Reporting System (VAERS) of the US.

Claim Check, Facebook’s monitoring tool that identifies potentially dubious posts, flagged the video for verification. Data from social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle show that the video has over 967,000 views, 19,000 reactions, and 10,000 comments on Facebook, as of writing.

This is false.

The study from the “Evidence-based Medicine Consultancy” group used data from the UK’s Yellow Card scheme of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This study, however, has been debunked by Health Feedback, an arm of International Fact-Checking Network signatory, Science Feedback.

Data from Yellow Card and VAERS are updated regularly. Both systems use self-reporting methods in recording cases of COVID-19 adverse health effects in their respective countries. The data received by Yellow Card is available on the UK government website, while data from VAERS can be requested via the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s website.

Although both the Yellow Card and VAERS keep a record of adverse effects cases, both agencies clarify that the self-reported data are not sufficient proof to directly link the cases to the vaccines. In fact, both systems say that the actual number of cases of adverse effects may be lower than what is reported.

The MHRA explains: “The nature of Yellow Card reporting means that reported events are not always proven side effects. Some events may have happened anyway, regardless of vaccination. This is particularly the case when millions of people are vaccinated, and especially when most vaccines are being given to the most elderly people and people who have underlying illness.”

The CDC also says that the reports to VAERS “may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable” and that the events it recorded “do not imply causality.”

Adverse effects happen after a person is vaccinated, such as swelling and pain in the injection site, fever, headache, tiredness, muscle pain, chills, and nausea, according to the CDC.

There are also severe adverse effects such as severe allergic reactions, blood clots, and even death, but the CDC says that these are rare. Meanwhile, infections after a person is fully vaccinated are called breakthrough infections.

Must Read

COVID-19 breakthrough infections: What you need to know

COVID-19 breakthrough infections: What you need to know

Rappler has fact-checked several times two separate Facebook pages by Agno: “Lynn Channel” and “Lynn Channel Warriors of Truth.” She often posts false and misleading claims about COVID-19.  – Lorenz Dantes Pasion/Rappler.com

Lorenz Dantes Pasion is a Rappler intern. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s internship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

FALSE: UK, US underreport COVID-19 vaccine adverse effects

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