The European Commission is hiding fatal side effects after a corona vaccination – this is what Joachim Kuhs, Member of the European Parliament for the German right-wing populist party AfD, claims. He supports his statement with respectable sources that are right in themselves. However, his interpretation of them is wrong.
On October 5, 2021, AfD deputy Joachim Kuhs posted a video on his Facebook page, which should make all vaccine euphoric people think. It shows him in the EU Parliament, at the front desk. The content becomes what is already written in the accompanying text of his post, that has been deleted: According to the figures he researched, “more people died in 2021 from Corona vaccinations than in the past 20 years from all vaccinations combined.” The source for this is supposedly the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI). According to Kuhs, the Facebook community can read about severe side effects and deaths via the link to the website. He calls on the Commission to withdraw the vaccine from the market, as was the case with the Pandemrix vaccine against swine flu.
Institute communicates side effects regularly
More than 5,000 people (as of November 22nd, 2021) have spread his post about the PEI numbers. It can be assumed that some have not dealt with the linked source – the so-called security report of the PEI. The document is regularly published on the Institute’s website. The aim is to clarify all suspected cases of adverse reactions reported in Germany that have been recorded since the start date of vaccinations on December 27, 2020. This includes the report up to June 30, 2021, to which the shared posting refers.
This is also where the numbers with which Kuhs argues appear. In fact, on page 8, it says that 10,578 suspected cases with serious adverse reactions have been reported to the PEI. The Gesundheitsamt Berlin understands such complications as a vaccination response in which a person needs to be treated in hospital. According to § 6 para. 1 Infection Protection Act (IfSG) the suspicion of a strong and damaging vaccination reaction has to be reported to the authorities. The PEI is therefore informed via the health offices of doctors and pharmacists. The institute is then responsible for evaluating and reporting such suspected adverse reactions – a central pillar for assessing the safety of medicinal products.
In addition to the 10,578 serious suspected cases, Kuhs ignores other crucial figures, such as the fact that 30,986,128 people have been fully vaccinated to that date with a total of 74.871.502 doses. This means that the reporting rate of all COVID-19 vaccines for serious adverse reactions is 0.1 per 1,000 doses of vaccine. Here it is clear that such complications are very rare in the four vaccines authorized in the EU, but the risk is not zero. In comparison, the two mRNA vaccines (Moderna and Biontech/Pfizer) may be more favorable than the vector vaccine (AstraZeneca and Johnson&Johnson), the safety report states. New reports about side effects are communicated via the document in a timely manner – in complete contradiction to Kuhs statement that such things are being tried to conceal.
Comparison with swine flu
Another criticism Kuhs expresses in his post is to take the corona vaccines off the market, just like the swine flu vaccines. In the 2009/2010 influenza season, vaccines were recommended for prevention. It was later published that some of the vaccinated substances had caused serious damage to health. As a serious side effect, the PEI mentions narcolepsy – an (incurable) disease in which you suddenly fall into a deep sleep, several times a day.
In particular, the vaccine Pandemrix is considered to be the decisive factor. In this case, a certain piece of protein was more concentrated than in other swine flu vaccines. This has affected the nerve cells in the brain that are responsible for sleep rhythm. In Germany, approximately 4.6 million doses of Pandemrix were followed by 86 suspected cases of narcolepsy. Due to the frequent occurrence of the disease, Pandemrix has been taken off the market.
It is different with the Corona vaccines. The most serious side effect the PEI reports is associated with AstraZeneca. Out of 11,570,155 doses vaccinated, the PEI had 110 suspected cases of cerebral vein thrombosis by 30 June 2021, 24 people died. The Institute therefore classifies the side effect as serious, but rare. The response is nonetheless: The Ständige Imfpkommission (STIKO) makes a clear recommendation for which age group this vaccine may be approved. Since April 2021, this has included persons over 60 years of age. In this age group, the risk of serious or fatal COVID-19 disease increases. The reason why AstraZeneca remains on the market is that the benefit of the vaccine is much greater than the risk of cerebral vein thrombosis.
Vaccinations cannot be identified as cause of death
“Corona vaccines are said to be more lethal than other vaccines in the last 20 years.” Kuhs again bases his argument on the PEI’s safety report and refers to page 12. The number of deaths after vaccination is to be read here. In fact, the PEI reports 1,028 deaths. These are specifically people who died at different intervals after the Covid vaccinations. But this does not necessarily mean that death came from the vaccination. In the same way, the PEI argues in relation to deaths at intervals to other vaccinations in their entirety. Since January 1, 2000 there have been reported suspected cases of undesirable side effects after vaccinations. Whether the reported deaths occurred as a result of vaccination, or patients succumbed to their pre-existing conditions or old age, is not ascertainable. Questionable, therefore, is Kuhs main statement, in which he considers the corona vaccine to be more deadly than any other vaccine in the last 20 years.
The post shared on Facebook misinterprets the information provided by the Paul Ehrlich Institute. In the reporting period, there were 1,028 vaccinated people who died in a temporal connection with vaccination, but the PEI does not establish a causal link. For that reason, it is wrong to speak of a higher rate of vaccine deaths if the cause is not attributable to vaccination. Therefore, a comparison of the deaths with other vaccinations is incomprehensible and the statement of the AfD deputy is false and misleading.
RESEARCH | ARTICLE © Elisa Gorontzy & Laureta Nrecaj, Stuttgart Media University, Germany
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