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Debunked: No, 80% of Covid deaths during October were not in fully vaccinated people

The claim is contained in a text-based post on Facebook.

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A POST ON an Irish Facebook page has claimed that four out of every five Covid-19 deaths that occurred in the month of October were among fully vaccinated people.

The claim is contained in a text-based post which was shared on an anti-lockdown page on 6 November.

It reads: “80% of deaths in the last month from Covid were fully vaccinated. Please rush out and get your booster (not).”

However, the claim is false: official figures show that the number of Covid-19 deaths among fully vaccinated people in Ireland was lower than 80% in the month before the claim was posted.

Vague Source: Facebook

The post containing the image was shared on Facebook more than 20 times and fact-checking data available to The Journal shows that it was viewed hundreds of times.

The Facebook post does not specify that it’s talking about deaths in Ireland, but the page specifically says that it provides Covid-19 updates about Ireland, so is therefore most likely referring to figures from the Irish health service.

But data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), which monitors the number of Covid-19 deaths among fully vaccinated, partly vaccinated and unvaccinated people, shows that the claim is untrue.

Before the claim was shared on Facebook on 6 November, the most recent of these reports to be published by the HPSC contained data up to 30 October, which said:

  • A total of 535 Covid-19 deaths occurred between 1 April and 30 October;
  • Of those, 253 Covid-19 deaths occurred among fully vaccinated people.

Overall, the percentage of fully vaccinated people who died of Covid-19 between 1 April and 30 October is 47%. 

However, the HPSC doesn’t give a month-by-month breakdown of the period to get the exact figures for the month leading up to the Facebook post.

But the two reports published before 30 October – one from 9 October and one from 25 September – can help us find figures from roughly a month before that date.

It is possible that the claim refers to a period of ‘around a month’ rather than a precise 31-day stretch, so let’s look at both of these reports to see whether 80% of those who died in a rough period of a month up to 30 October were fully vaccinated.

The data up to 9 October notes:

  • A total of 369 Covid-19 deaths occurred between 1 April and 9 October
  • Of these, 155 Covid-19 deaths occurred among fully vaccinated people.

The data in both of the HPSC reports from October refer to Covid-19 deaths that occurred from 1 April; as a result, we can calculate that an additional 166 deaths occurred between both October dates (by subtracting the total on 30 October – 535 -  from the total on 9 October – 369).

Using the same method, we find that 98 out of the 166 total deaths occurred in fully vaccinated people over the same period (253 on 30 October minus 155 on 9 October) – which means they make up 59% of the total number of Covid-19 deaths in that time.

This is far short of the 80% statistic used in the claim on Facebook. However, 9 October to 30 October is only a period of a couple of weeks and not a full month.

The next most recent report from 25 September covers a full month, plus a couple of days. It says:

  • A total of 301 Covid-19 deaths occurred between 1 April and 25 September;
  • Of these, 103 Covid-19 deaths occurred among fully vaccinated people.

Once again, we can use subtraction to calculate that there were 234 Covid-19 deaths among vaccinated and unvaccinated people between 25 September and 30 October (because 535 minus 301 equals 234).

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And likewise, we can deduce that 150 of those 234 deaths were among fully vaccinated people (253 on 30 October minus 103 on 25 September) – or approximately 64% of the total number of deaths during that period.

Once again, the figure is lower than the 80% quoted in the claim on Facebook.

Given its reference to boosters, it appears as if the claim was made to undermine the rollout of vaccines, and other posts on the Facebook page are critical of Covid-19 restrictions and lockdown measures.

However, it should be noted that despite vaccinated people making up a higher proportion of overall deaths during the periods examined, vaccines are working.

Vaccines are preventing much higher levels of severe illness and death than currently being experienced in Ireland, and unvaccinated people with Covid-19 are still making up a higher proportion of deaths than fully vaccinated people (as we previously explored here).

It’s inevitable Covid-19 cases will continue to emerge, and though they can cause serious illness, they are much less likely to do so among the vaccinated population.

The majority of strain on the health service due to Covid-19 continues to be caused by those who have not been fully vaccinated.

The Journal’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here.

Have you gotten a message on WhatsApp or Facebook or Twitter about coronavirus that you’re not sure about and want us to check it out? Message or mail us and we’ll look into debunking it. WhatsApp: 085 221 4696 or Email: answers@thejournal.ie.

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