Antivax Quacks Bump Vax Death Stats?

My right-wing office mate claims his mother-in-law’s recent death was due to her COVID-19 vaccination, and that her physician says he has had three such incidents so far. This seems quite improbable to me. If a foolish, religiously-motivated, or politically motivated physician attributes cause of death on a death certificate to their personal bogeyman, what checks and balances exist to correct them?

There also are memes in circulation citing a study that claims 150K people in the USA have died from the COVID vaccination. Reuters published a fact-check two weeks ago that says this is nonsense.

Backstory on my office mate’s claims: Guy (pseudonym) is a staunch religious conservative. He graduated from a seminary and prefers his religion with a manly spin. As an example, Guy says “Turn the other cheek” means turn your injured side away from your enemy so he can’t strike you again where you are vulnerable, and prepare to fight. Guy does not believe men should do women’s work. Guy seems taken aback when other men mention doing laundry, cooking, or shopping for groceries. Guy won’t let his wife work outside the home, unless it is a cooking or cleaning job. Guy doesn’t socialize much outside his religious conservative circle. Guy prefers to patronize businesses that he thinks espouse his values. I have never seen Guy wear a proper mask, instead he wears a neck gaiter. For many months at work, the gaiter was primarily worn around Guy’s neck, not on his face. He is unwilling to vaccinate. Eventually, Mrs. Guy and then Guy himself did contract COVID-19, and he was on sick leave for a couple of weeks. Now that he is back at work, for the last month he actually wears the gaiter on his face. He had to be infected before he would really take the risk seriously. A few of our coworkers have stated that they would quit if we are required to vaccinate, and Guy says he would quit too. I strongly suspect that Guy’s preference for surrounding himself with people who think like him would cause him to select physicians for himself and his family based upon political and religious beliefs. They may even go to the same church. Guy claims that after vaccination, his mother-in-law developed symptoms over a three-week period that the physician said were similar to Parkinson’s Disease, and then she died. Guy claims that the physician claims this is the third death in his practice “due to COVID-19 vaccination”. To me, it sounds like delusional/fallacious attribution of cause of death based on personal beliefs/prejudices.

Do you think this guy is truthful?

I think Guy’s notion of righteousness requires him to generally be truthful, but his idea of Truth can be illogical, irrational, or unscientific. While he might not tell lies, he may still be wrong.

I wouldn’t listen to anything he says after hearing this. He won’t let her work?

Correct. I know she has worked as a cake decorator and she cleans houses. I have spoken briefly to Mrs. Guy on the phone many times over the last 20 years. Guy does not answer the home phone. That is Mrs. Guy’s responsibility. No matter how important the issue, she will not pass the call to Guy. On one occasion when I tried to stress that it was very important that I speak to Guy, she informed me that he was doing his workout, and she cannot interrupt him.

Guy used to do his workouts on the front porch where all the neighbors could observe him, but they have a new house where he can do his workouts in the garage with the doors open so the neighbors can observe him. It seems very important to Guy to assert his macho manliness. He has mentioned many times at work that he has a black belt in karate and has studied krav maga. His favorite TV show is Walker Texas Ranger. It may sound like I am describing a parody cartoon character, but Guy is an actual human being.

To the opening question, quacks are also trying to downplay COVID death stats. Some claim that doctors are paid to say someone died of COVID when they did of something else, etc.

To this post… does Mr. Guy have a cell phone?

My wife works for a hospital, and those claims annoy the heck out of her! She handles patient accounts and billing issues, and knows quite well that this is baloney.

Guy did eventually get a cell phone, but seems to use it mostly to talk to family. I no longer need to call him about anything due to a change in his job responsibilities, so I have no idea whether Guy would answer a work call, let them go to his voice mail, or maybe even have Mrs. Guy answer the cell phone when she is present.

My guess: Guy is as gay as… a gay person. He is sexually attracted to other men, and keeps this desire buried deep, deep down where he hopes it will never emerge. He’s ashamed of himself.

That isn’t something I have considered. My assumption has been that Guy and everyone in his circle displays Militant Evangelical Masculinity. I doubt that his entire church is composed of closeted gay men and their subjugated beards.

The need to be seen as authority figures and in turn adhere blindly to what their own authority figures tells them, even when it defies reason or science, goes along with their refusal to listen to scientists about COVID-19. Their own authority figures tell them that God has promised to spare the faithful from plagues, and to not listen to the liberals, scientists, and elected government figures who push for masking and vaccinations. The belief system they are being pushed tells them that liberals and scientists are doing the work of the devil, lying to you, and trying to do you harm.

Whereas my completely speculative guess is that Guy is an insecure dickhead who beats Mrs Guy, which is why she “cannot interrupt him” during his workout. The reference to martial arts and macho manliness only reinforces that impression.

Mind you, the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

Anyway, back to the issue of people claiming their physician says the COVID-19 vaccinations cause deaths (or serious illness) unrelated to anaphylaxis. I work with Guy #1, who claims his mother-in-law’s physician attributes her cause of death to “Parkinson’s like” symptoms weeks after being vaccinated. Now I have another coworker, who I shall call Guy #2, whose son has developed “heart valve damage” that a physician allegedly attributes to a COVID-19 booster several days prior to the onset of symptoms.

My personal assumption is that in both cases the physician is being misunderstood or misquoted, based upon my coworkers’ previous biases or misconceptions regarding COVID vaccinations. However, if one or both of these possibly antivax physicians actually are attributing serious illness or death to COVID vaccinations, and it has nothing to do with anaphylaxis, is there some agency that reviews such claims or diagnoses, and calls BS on it?

As it happens, yes. For the USA, there is a large division within the FDA that is dedicated to surveillance of side effects for approved products. They aggregate their data actively and passively through multiple data sources and then run statistical analysis on these data determine whether a given adverse event has an unusually high incidence.

You can read about the FDA’s surveillance efforts for the COVID-19 vaccines here: COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Surveillance

There is a specific system for vaccine safety called VAERS

Despite what anti-vaccine proponents say, there are many, many people in the US who take vaccine safety very seriously, and they continually are updating their data to look for harmful side effects (often referred to as adverse events, AES).

Judging by the output of a conspiracy-minded Facebook ‘friend’ of mine, the medical establishment is systematically bigging-up COVID deaths while under-reporting vaccine deaths. Which conveniently supports the anti-vax agenda of the loony right.

This one actually may have some basis. There have been reports that Moderna can cause heart inflammation in young people, particularly adolescent males. Here’s the CDC report:

What I haven’t seen (and maybe I’m just not paying enough attention?), is any discussion of how serious this heart inflammation thing? Is it some minor thing that you get over? Are we talking about life-threatening, or doing permanent damage?

According to the CDC doesn’t seem too serious with treatment.

* Most patients with myocarditis or pericarditis who received care responded well to medicine and rest and felt better quickly.

* Patients can usually return to their normal daily activities after their symptoms improve. Those who have been diagnosed with myocarditis should consult with their cardiologist (heart doctor) about return to exercise or sports. More information will be shared as it becomes available.

Many countries have paused, limited or excluded doses of Moderna and/or Pfizer concerning younger people though.

I can contribute nothing to this quite interesting and useful thread, but I do want to say I appreciate the effort that went into the title, and would like to offer another in the same vein - Sick hicks nix vax stick stats.

Every time I see this thread, I think of “Pear pimples for hairy fishnuts!”

Just ignore such people. Naturally I can’t speak to the specifics of your workmates particular claims but what I can say is that I have anti-vax cousins and on a few occasions they have told me about the truly stunning percentage of their acquaintances who have allegedly suffered vaccination injuries.

When you push them about it, the story is always the same – someone got vaccinated and then (at least months and sometimes years) later they began to suffer some form of chronic or serious illness. They saw no connection at all between the two things at the time but then anti-vaxxers got to them and told them that the illness arose from the earlier vaccinations, and they chose to believe it. More often than not a child is involved and the parent is desperate to find a reason for their child’s illness, and someone to blame.

Almost invariably the stories are extreme examples of the post hoc fallacy. And indeed when I once (as part of a debate with my cousins) went down the Facebook anti-vax rabbit hole, you could find instances where people claimed that their child’s illness was caused by vaccination even when their child’s illness was documented as pre-dating their vaccination.

These people are ill-motivated, misguided, deluded and/or imbeciles and there’s no point giving them the time of day on these sorts of stories.

Of course, there are vaccine injuries. They are so vanishingly rare that if someone tells you they know someone who suffered one, the odds they are mistaken are high. If they claim to know two people who suffered one, forget about it Jake, it’s Chinatown.

So that makes it pre hoc fallacy.

ETA: How does someone claim to have gotten sick from the Covid vax years after getting the vax, when the vax has only been available for a year?