Hundreds of thousands of online articles shared on social media claim that the global epidemic of severe hepatitis in children is linked to the Covid-19 vaccine, as evidenced by a study in April 2022. However, health officials and independent experts have denied that the shootings were to blame, saying most of the victims were too young to be vaccinated and that the study belonged to adults with other types of hepatitis.
“A new study confirming that the COVID vaccine causes severe autoimmune hepatitis was published just days after the WHO issued a Global Warning on new severe hepatitis in children,” the April 28, 2022, article in The Expose said. Incorrect health information.
The story follows a 52-year-old man who developed Covid-19 infection and autoimmune hepatitis after vaccination, and says: “The findings came just days after the World Health Organization issued a ‘global warning’ about a new form of severe hepatitis affecting children.” .
Screenshot of an online article from May 5, 2022
About 230 children in 20 countries, including Indonesia, have been diagnosed with severe forms of unknown hepatitis, three of whom have died from the disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement on April 23 that it did not accept the hypothesis that the disease could have adverse effects on the Covid-19 vaccine because “the vast majority of affected children did not receive the Covid-19 vaccine.”
The organization told AFP: “There is nothing to offer a link.”
Health authorities in the UK have also warned the public of an increase in hepatitis in children, describing it as a “sudden onset” identified since January 2022.
A spokesman for the British Public Health Service said: “There is no link to the coronavirus vaccine (Covid-19).
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced a health council to “inform clinics and public health authorities about a cluster of children diagnosed with hepatitis and adenovirus infection.”
A study released by the World Health Organization on April 29 tested positive for a common pathogen called adenovirus 41 in all nine young children infected with hepatitis in Alabama.
“Currently, we believe that adenovirus may be the cause of these reported cases, but other potential and situational environmental factors are still being investigated,” the CDC said in a statement of monitoring factors for the study.
As for allegations of Covid-19 vaccination, CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said: “The age of the disease has changed from 11 months to five years and 9 months, most of which are not eligible for Covid-19 vaccination.”
Currently, anyone five years of age or older in the United States is eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
A similar claim was made by The Gateway Pundit, another website that has repeatedly disseminated inaccurate information.
“Madrid’s deputy public health minister has confirmed that cases of hepatitis in children are related to the Covid-19 vaccine,” the website said in an April 27 article.
Screenshot of an online article from May 5, 2022
A spokesman for Spain’s health ministry confirmed that Deputy Foreign Minister Antonio Zapatero had in fact said the opposite, citing reports that Covid-19 vaccines had been rejected as the cause of cases of pediatric hepatitis.
Different types of hepatitis
Sarah Hassan, a pediatric transplant hepatologist at the Mayo Clinical Children’s Center, said the children’s illness, identified by health agencies, was different from what was described in the study, which was used as evidence.
“This study was performed on an adult who attempted to link Covid-19 vaccines and autoimmune hepatitis to a different object from hepatitis that affected children,” he said.
Rima Fawaz, medical director of pediatric hepatology at Yale University School of Medicine, said the severe hepatitis reported in children was considered infectious, while autoimmune hepatitis was not experienced by anyone in the study.
Autoimmune hepatitis is “immune dysregulation in which your body reacts abnormally and you attack your liver” and is treated by suppressing the immune system, he explained.
Instead, sick children come in with infectious symptoms like fever and are treated differently, Fawaz said.
He concluded that the evidence did not support the idea that pediatric hepatitis was associated with Covid-19 vaccines. “It doesn’t make sense to say it’s because of Covid’s vaccination,” Fawaz said.
Infectious disease expert John Swartzberg agreed that the outbreak of hepatitis in children and a case of autoimmune hepatitis found in a person vaccinated against Covid-19 were “completely unrelated” and “not related to each other.”
Swartzberg, an honorary professor at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, said the outbreak of autoimmune hepatitis following the Covid-19 vaccine reported in the study should not have prevented people from shooting.
“The risk of getting Covid … is higher than the risk of getting a vaccine based on the challenges we face for the vaccine,” he said.
AFP has dismissed hundreds of other examples of inaccurate information about Covid-19.