Australia’s drug regulator received two hoax reports of children dying from Covid vaccines | Health

Australia’s drug regulator received two reports of child deaths after vaccination against Covid-19 that turned out to be hoaxes.

Therapeutic Goods Administration documents on fatal adverse events in children and adolescents after a Covid-19 vaccination published under freedom of information show that a report was made to the body in January 2022 that a seven-year-old boy had died from “an adverse event following immunisation” with an unspecified brand of Covid vaccine.

A separate report made in March the same year claimed a six-year-old boy had died after receiving the Pfizer vaccine.

Both reports were found to be hoaxes, the document says. The TGA report details nine deaths in children ranging from five to 17 years old after Covid vaccination in Australia between September 2021 and March 2023 but emphasises that it is not certain the deaths had been caused by vaccination.

“The symptom may be related to the underlying illness or to other factors,” the report says. “There might be no relationship between the adverse event and the medicine – it may be a coincidence that the adverse event occurred when the medicine was taken.”

Covid vaccines are safe for children, with vaccine safety data from AusVaxSafety showing that children aged five to 11 are reporting fewer short-term vaccine side-effects than those reported by older Australians.

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Vaccination is recommended for everyone aged five years and over. It is also recommended for children aged six months to under five years who are severely immunocompromised or have disability, as well as those who have complex health conditions that increase their risk of severe Covid.

A TGA spokesperson said the regulator was “confident that hoax reports are not affecting our ability to closely monitor the safety of medicines and vaccines”.

“Anyone at any time can report an adverse event to the TGA, even if the chance of it being caused by the medicine or vaccine is unlikely,” the spokesperson said.

“While this approach ensures that there is no restriction to adverse event reporting, and that we gather as much safety information as possible, it does mean that occasionally intentionally false or hoax reports are made. However, we consider that it would be a very small number, with most reporters doing the right thing.”

Fatal vaccine reports are verified by the TGA with health services, state and territory health departments, forensic services, public health units and coroners to ensure the information is followed up.


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