Social media users have also shared the blog and repeated its claims.

(Reuters) - An article widely shared on social media claims more than 150,000 people have died from COVID-19 vaccines. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told Reuters this claim is inaccurate and based on misinterpreted data.

The article, published on Sept. 22 on a website known for spreading misinformation, claims scientists concluded through an “in-depth analysis” that “at least 150,000 Americans have been killed”.

Social media users have also shared the blog and repeated its claims.

The website credits the findings to Jessica Rose, who was a postdoctoral researcher in biology at the Israel Institute of Technology from 2016-20, according to her resume posted online. She is now a self-described independent researcher.

The blog article cites a paper titled: “Estimating the number of COVID vaccine deaths in America”, which Rose co-authored alongside Mathew Crawford, a statistician. Both appear to be members of a group questioning COVID-19 vaccines.

The document itself states that it used a “simple analysis” of data from the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) – not an in-depth study as the article in question suggests.

VAERS, managed by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), documents suspected reactions to COVID-19 vaccines to detect possible safety issues.

Of more than 390 million doses of COVID-19 shots administered in the U.S. up to Sept. 27, VAERS received 8,164 reports of death (0.0021%) among people who were vaccinated. Healthcare providers are required to report any death after vaccination to VAERS even if there is no indication it was caused by the vaccine, and reported incidents are not evidence of a causal link, according to CDC guidance. It says reports of death after COVID-19 vaccination are rare.

Rose and Crawford’s paper calculates a so-called “underreporting rate” of adverse reactions by comparing data submitted to VAERS on anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) after vaccination with estimates of people vaccinated in the United States. They then subtract the average number of background deaths for previous years from the deaths after vaccination reported to VAERS before multiplying the resulting number by their estimated underreporting rate. They say these calculations produce an estimated total of more than 150,000 people who have died in the United States as a result of COVID-19 vaccines.

An FDA spokesperson told Reuters in an email that it “strongly disagrees” with the analysis put forth in the report.

VERDICT

False. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and there is no evidence to suggest they have caused more than 150,000 deaths. The claim is based on misinterpreted data.