COVID-19 vaccines blamed for pre-pandemic cancer rates

A recent American Cancer Society projection of 2024 cancer statistics is being used to falsely claim that COVID-19 vaccines are responsible for rising cancer rates that were recorded before the vaccines existed. Some have accused the organization of manipulating data to mask the impact of COVID-19 vaccines on cancer deaths.

Risk level: High

Recommendation: The false claim that COVID-19 vaccines cause cancer has endured since the vaccines were first developed. Social media posts perpetuating this false claim may discourage patients from getting the updated COVID-19 vaccine. The widespread nature of these posts elevates the risk. Doctors may emphasize that while two recent studies have reported rising cancer rates in younger adults, this is a continuation of a decades-long trend that began before the emergence of COVID-19. These studies used pre-pandemic data, and neither study has found a link between COVID-19 vaccines and cancer. There is strong evidence to support that COVID-19 vaccines do not cause cancer or increase the risk of developing cancer. The benefits of vaccination outweigh any potential risks, because staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines helps prevent severe illness, death, and long COVID.