Sudden deaths in young people have not increased with vaccinations

Sudden deaths in young people have not increased with vaccinations

Not a day goes by without the news of a death of a person under 50 being commented on social networks but not only, alluding to a "correlation" with the anti Covid-19 vaccines. Of course, if sudden deaths in young people had increased in a statistically significant way in the last two years, it would certainly be interesting to investigate the phenomenon more thoroughly, and in particular to evaluate whether and how the temporal concurrence with vaccination campaigns could have any relevance. However, it is the starting hypothesis itself that is fallacious, because - data in hand - there does not appear to be any increase in these sudden deaths. Yet we continue to talk a lot about it, because between disinformation, allusions and distorted data, the topic remains one of the pillars of anti-vaccine movements and theses, regardless of the number of times the topic has already been debunked.

The data

In order to be able to argue that the number of sudden deaths has increased, it would obviously be necessary to compare two data: that of deaths prior to the introduction of anti-Covid-19 vaccines and the corresponding number today. Let's go in order.

With regard to the historical series of data, the most widespread anti-vaccine thesis is that it was a rare or very rare event, not daily but which actually occurred only on exceptional occasions, to be literally counted on the fingers of one hand. This is not the case: the issue of sudden deaths has been a health problem that has been known for many years now, so much so that the automatic external defibrillators that we find today in most of our cities were distributed precisely in the wake of this phenomenon.

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To cite some of the available data relating to our country, already in 2013 the then Minister of Health Renato Balduzzi had answered a parliamentary question providing the figure of 50 thousand sudden deaths per year (up to 70 thousand in 2019, according to Il Messaggero ), of which 5 thousand related to young people under 35 years of age . Lower, but of the same order of magnitude, is the figure provided in 2011 by the Italian Society of Cardiology (Sic), according to which the under 35s struck suddenly and fatally every year were "over a thousand" . An estimate, the latter, which is also found in various publications of the following years.

In the United States there are more than 300,000 cases per year across all ages, of which, for example, in 2015 count about 7 thousand in children alone. The incidence of these episodes appears to have tripled in the first two months of the Covid-19 pandemic, obviously before vaccines were available. Finally, a 2009 paper calculated the number of young people who die of sudden death at 2 out of 100,000 each year. Given that there are over 20 million under 35s in Italy, this would mean more than 400 cases a year (obviously this is an underestimated figure, given that in other countries of the world monitoring is not carried out in a timely manner and therefore not all cases are included in the statistic). Net of the differences between one estimate and another, however, they all indicate that on average there has been more than one case of sudden death per day in Italy since time immemorial (let's say between 1 and 13), only among those under 35 years of age.

The current number of sudden deaths does not currently have an exact quantification. The anti-vaccine thesis is above all that the fact that there are reports of sudden deaths of young people every day would already represent an anomaly, when this is clearly not the case. Or we look at just one specific comparison, namely that among young people there would have been more deaths in 2021 than in 2020: this is actually true, but this excess mortality has as its main explanation the fact that in 2020 - staying longer in home – a number of causes of death have disappeared . Furthermore, data relating to the characteristics of these deaths is not yet available (for example, how many of these are sudden deaths?), which usually arrive a couple of years late and currently stop in December 2020. All that suspicion can be fueled at the moment are sensations, partial information or much broader and more general data than what is actually of interest.

Fallacious theses

Over the past two years a large number of articles and reports have accumulated, especially on pseudo-information sites and on social networks, regarding the phantom increase in sudden deaths. Fact-checking and debunking each of these would be tedious, repetitive, and basically useless, since these "reconstructions" clearly represent a Gish-esque galloping case. However, we will cite some of them by way of example.

Among the most talked about stories is that of as many as 118 thousand sudden deaths of young people in the United States which would have been "confirmed" also by the Centers for Disease Control (Cdc) as effect of mass vaccination. It was the CDC themselves, given the rampant disinformation on the subject, who intervened in the press explaining the true meaning of that data and its non-correlation with the vaccination against Covid-19. The same goes for sudden deaths in athletes: the same source of disinformation and similar unfounded arguments to support the thesis (here a complete debunking on the subject).

Again, there is a parliamentary question, presented in the European Union by the deputy Francesca Donato, in whose text the sudden deaths are on the rise (proposing it as a fact). All this to ask for the withdrawal of vaccines: however - we reiterate it - a premise not substantiated by the data, and the sources cited in support are only an article published by a notoriously anti-vaccine site, the chronicle of a single individual case and a Rai service then retracted. Finally, on the web there is a proposal for a scientific explanation of the physiological mechanism underlying the presumed sudden excess deaths: once again, however, it is the premise itself on the excess of sudden mortality in young people that is not reflected in the real data and therefore , making the subsequent considerations substantially irrelevant. Always assuming that one does not want to go to the next level of conspiracy, according to which even the official data itself would have been (for many years now, well before the arrival of the pandemic) ad hoc manipulated to hide the elusive spread of sudden juvenile deaths .

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