New study used to falsely link COVID-19 vaccines to excess deaths

A new study published in BMJ assessed data from 47 countries from Our World in Data between 2020 and 2022, finding a total of three million reported excess deaths, with 2021 having the highest number of reported deaths. The study concluded that “excess mortality has remained high in the Western World for three consecutive years, despite the implementation of COVID-19 containment measures and COVID-19 vaccines.” Vaccine opponents are misrepresenting the study to claim that COVID-19 vaccines caused excess deaths. 

Recommendation: Social media posts misrepresenting this study attempt to undermine the public’s perception of the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. If directly debunking false claims related to this study, explaining that the study provides no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines caused excess deaths in any country is recommended. Additional messaging may emphasize that the study did not analyze deaths by vaccination status, but federal data shows that about 80 percent of U.S. COVID-19 deaths in 2021 were of unvaccinated people. Numerous large-scale global studies have shown that higher COVID-19 vaccination rates correlate with lower excess mortality. The study also did not account for COVID-19 deaths, which were the leading driver of excess deaths during the study period. In the more than three years since COVID-19 vaccines were first administered, over 70 percent of the world has been vaccinated without any evidence of widespread safety concerns.