Covid vaccines may have contributed to rise in excess deaths, researchers suggest

Scientists suspect that Covid vaccines may have contributed to a rise in excess mortality across the Western world since the pandemic, including in Australia.

This claim has previously been rejected by the Australian government, including the Department of Health and Aged Care and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), as well as independent bodies such as the Actuaries Institute, who claim there is “no credible evidence” of such a link.

Researchers from the Netherlands analyzed the increased overall mortality in 47 countries between 2020 and 2022. A total of almost 3.1 million additional deaths were recorded, and the trend continued “despite the implementation of containment measures and Covid-19 vaccines.”

Writing in a diary BMJ Public Health On Monday, the team from Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam found that the highest number of excess deaths, 1.26 million, were recorded in 2021, when both containment measures and vaccines were used to combat the virus, compared to 1.03 million in 2020 before the vaccine was introduced, and 808,400 in 2022, when most lockdown measures were lifted but vaccinations continued.

“This is unprecedented and a cause for serious concern,” they wrote.

“During the pandemic, politicians and the media emphasized daily that every Covid-19 death was important and that every life must be protected through containment measures and Covid-19 vaccines. After the pandemic, the same morality should apply. Every death must be recognized and accounted for, regardless of its cause. Transparency about potential fatal causes is appropriate.”

The authors noted that previous research “confirmed significant underreporting of adverse events, including deaths, following vaccination” and that there is no consensus in the medical community “regarding concerns that mRNA vaccines may cause more harm than initially thought.”

They cited a secondary analysis of data from vaccine trials by Pfizer and Moderna that had previously found an increased risk of serious side effects such as ischemic stroke, acute coronary syndrome and cerebral hemorrhage – all common clinical conditions.

“This commonality complicates clinical suspicion and, consequently, recognition as an adverse vaccine reaction,” they said.

“Both healthcare professionals and citizens have reported serious injuries and deaths following vaccinations to various official databases in the Western world, such as VAERS in the US, EudraVigilance in the European Union and Yellow Card Scheme in the UK. A study comparing adverse event reports to VAERS and EudraVigilance following mRNA Covid-19 vaccines with influenza vaccines found a higher risk of serious side effects with Covid-19 vaccines.”

These reactions included cardiovascular disease, blood clots, bleeding, gastrointestinal events and thrombosis.

“Numerous studies have reported that Covid-19 vaccination can trigger myocarditis, pericarditis and autoimmune diseases,” they said.

“In autopsies, myocarditis, encephalitis, immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia, intracranial hemorrhage, and diffuse thrombosis have also been attributed to Covid-19 vaccinations. The Food and Drug Administration determined in July 2021 that the following potentially serious adverse reactions to Pfizer vaccines require further monitoring and investigation: pulmonary embolism, acute myocardial infarction, immune thrombocytopenia, and disseminated intravascular coagulation.”

The Dutch researchers argued that “the simultaneous occurrence of excess mortality and Covid-19 vaccination in Germany represents a safety signal that warrants further investigation.”

“Despite these concerns, the clinical trial data needed to further investigate these associations are not made publicly available,” they said. “Autopsies to confirm the actual cause of death are rarely performed.”

The resulting “lack of detailed data on causes of death” for certain countries makes it difficult to determine “whether Covid-19 infection, indirect effects of containment measures, Covid-19 vaccines or other overlooked factors play an underlying role”.

“There is therefore a need to make cause-specific mortality data available to enable more detailed, direct and robust analyses to identify underlying causes,” they said.

“Autopsies must be facilitated to determine the exact cause of death. Government leaders and policy makers must thoroughly investigate the underlying causes of persistent excess mortality and review their responses to the health crisis.”

They also suggested that it was “likely” that containment measures such as lockdowns, curfews, school and business closures, travel restrictions and quarantines had contributed to the increase in excess mortality, mainly through delayed or interrupted medical treatment. However, they acknowledged that this would be difficult to prove.

Gordon Wishart, chief medical officer at Check4Cancer and visiting professor of cancer surgery at Anglia Ruskin University, told the British newspaper The Telegraph He had repeatedly warned that delaying cancer diagnosis would lead to death.

“Even at the beginning of the lockdown, it was predicted that limited access to healthcare for non-Covid conditions would lead to delays in the diagnosis and treatment of time-critical diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and dementia and that this would result in an excess number of deaths from these diseases,” he said.

When asked about the potential for vaccine harm suspected by the Dutch researchers, Prof. Wishart said the authors “rightly point out that many vaccine-related serious adverse events may have gone unreported and suggest that the simultaneous occurrence of excess mortality and Covid vaccination in Germany is in itself worth further investigation.”

“While the paper raises more questions than it answers, it is difficult to disagree with the conclusion that further analysis is needed to understand the underlying causes of increased mortality in order to better prepare for future pandemic response,” he said.

The Australian Senate launched an inquiry into excess mortality in March after repeated attempts by Senator Ralph Babet of the United Australia Party to get the inquiry underway. The inquiry, which is due to deliver its final report by August 31, has received detailed submissions from the Australian government rejecting any link between vaccines and excess mortality.

“There is no credible evidence that Covid-19 vaccines have contributed to excess deaths in Australia or overseas,” the Department of Health said in a statement.

“An independent analysis of Australian mortality data by the Actuaries Institute found that the timing and nature of excess mortality did not demonstrate a link to vaccination.”

It was pointed out that a study published in The Lancet A study commissioned by the ministry in November “confirmed that vaccines protected against death from Covid-19 and found no evidence that vaccines contributed to higher overall mortality.”

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) “rigorously tests all vaccines for safety, quality and effectiveness before they are made available,” the document continues.

“Rigid scientific studies have shown that the protective benefits of vaccination, including Covid-19 vaccination, far outweigh the potential risks, including serious but very rare side effects,” it says.

“Vaccination remains the most effective way to prevent severe disease, hospitalisation and death from infection and has saved many lives in Australia and around the world.”

The ABS stated in its report that Covid-related deaths were the main reason for the excess mortality.

“ABS data has recorded 16 deaths attributed to the Covid-19 vaccine during the pandemic,” it said. “To date, nearly 71 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered.”

The Actuaries Institute, which calculates excess mortality differently than the ABS, also concluded that the increase was due to deaths “from and with Covid-19”.

“The available evidence does not support the conclusion that side effects of Covid-19 vaccines represent a significant contribution to the increased mortality,” the statement said.

“In fact, the opposite is true – while each of these deaths is regrettable, it seems clear that the small number of deaths caused by the Covid-19 vaccines represent only a tiny fraction of the number of Covid-19 deaths they prevented.”

Coverse, a charity representing vaccine-harmed people in Australia, said in its application that while there is no “statistical evidence that Covid-19 vaccines definitively contributed to excess mortality in 2021-2023, we have evidence of widespread and significant underestimation of the harm caused by vaccines, which has worrying implications for current understanding of the causes of excess mortality in Australia.”

“Unfortunately, vaccines are rarely tested for their ‘non-specific effects’ (such as the possibility that they make patients more susceptible to other diseases),” Coverse said.

“Our government agencies and officials claim that current excess mortality statistics do not identify Covid-19 vaccines as an identifiable cause, yet no studies are being conducted on such non-specific effects. We imagine they simply do not want to even consider such studies as their reputation is very much tied to the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in Australia.”

frank.chung@news.com.au

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