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Fact Check Library

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CLAIM ID

2893cc7e

Flu jabs are killing elderly people.

There is no evidence that flu jabs are killing the elderly. Flu vaccines are considered safe and effective.


Context

A recent video of John O'Looney, a funeral director and known spreader of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, has been shared on Facebook, where it has gained over 70,000 views and 3000 likes. In the video, O’Looney claims that the flu jabs are killing elderly people in care homes and that the carers openly admit it's killing them. He makes this claim by retelling an alleged encounter with a care worker who admitted she was aware of these deaths, but didn't have a choice. 

In Fact

There is no evidence that the flu vaccines are responsible for deaths in elderly populations. O'Looney is known for spreading vaccine misinformation, and his past claims have been proven false by fact-checkers.

The NHS states that flu vaccines are safe, with side effects mostly being mild symptoms such as aching muscles and slightly raised temperatures. Allergic reactions can occur but are very rare. Vaccines are also thoroughly tested before use and continue to be monitored while in use for any rare side effects. The NHS also states that flu vaccines are effective, giving the best protection against the flu and stopping the spread to vulnerable people. The World Health Organization also states that the flu vaccine is proven safe, with severe side effects being extremely rare. Flu vaccines are offered every year, and there is no evidence that these common vaccines are killing people.

Similar claims have circulated in previous years. In 2019, Health Feedback investigated a claim that flu vaccines are killing elderly citizens, finding it inaccurate. The claims were based on a study in an American Medical Association journal; however, expert reviewers, including the study's first author, Professor Lone Simonsen, refuted these claims. Simonsen stated that the study did not find more deaths in elderly populations following the flu shot; rather, reported deaths prevented by the flu vaccine were overestimated by past studies. Health Feedback also states that studies across several countries show that the flu vaccine has reduced flu-related mortality in the elderly.

Furthermore, O'Looney is a known anti-vaxxer and spreader of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation whose claims have previously been proven false. Reuters, for example, found O'Looney's claims that COVID-19 vaccines weaken immune systems to be false; these vaccines do not weaken the immune system. O'Looney's comparisons of the effects vaccines and chemotherapy have on the immune system were not based in fact.

The Verdict

There is no evidence that flu vaccines are killing the elderly or that they are deadly. Flu vaccines are considered safe. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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