No evidence that COVID-19 vaccinations caused deaths of senior citizens
Suggesting that coronavirus vaccinations killed 86-year-old Hank Aaron and elderly people in Gibraltar and Norway, an article widely shared on Facebook claims that “seniors” around the world died soon after getting vaccinated, and that their cause of death was listed as natural.
“Seniors dying after COVID vaccine labeled as natural causes,” reads the headline of the article by Dr. Joseph Mercola, a major funder of anti-vaccine efforts. Mercola’s work has come under criticism before from federal agencies and others within the medical community.
The full article, which requires a registration to view, begins: “Around the world, reports are pouring in of people dying shortly after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. … Ironically, when seniors die before vaccination, it’s due to COVID-19 and something must be done to prevent it, but when they die after vaccination, they die of natural causes and no preventive action is necessary.”
The article was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The article relies on evidentiary assertions that have been widely discredited before. Let’s look. Aaron’s death natural
The article says the death Jan. 22 of Aaron, the Hall of Fame baseball player, is notable because he died 17 days after he chose to be vaccinated publicly in hope that other Black people would get the shot.
But the Fulton County (Ga.) Medical Examiner’s office said Aaron’s cause of death was natural and not linked to the vaccine. We rated as False a claim that said otherwise.
Health Feedback rated as “misleading” a separate assertion that Aaron’s death “is part of a wave of suspicious deaths among elderly closely following administration of COVID vaccines.” The nonprofit fact-checker said there is no evidence to back the claim. Article admits Gibraltar doesn’t back its claim
Mercola’s article said a surge in deaths in Gibraltar after COVID-19 vaccinations began “raises questions.”
The article said Gibraltar, the British overseas territory on the southern coast of Spain, had only 10 COVID-related deaths by Jan. 6. But vaccinations began Jan. 9 and by Jan. 17, the article claimed, “the total death toll had suddenly skyrocketed to 45,” with most of the people who died during that period being in their 80s or 90s.
A Reuters fact-check said a claim that coronavirus deaths in Gibraltar have been caused by the vaccine and not the virus is false, saying there is no evidence linking the deaths to the vaccine. Full Fact reached the same conclusion.
The government said in a statement Jan. 27 that 11,073 people had received a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and none had died as a result of receiving it. Six people between the ages of 70 and 100 who died after receiving the vaccine apparently contracted COVID-19 before being vaccinated, but testing did not detect it, according to the statement.