Fact check: A 2010 study on vaccines did not show that one in forty was damaged by vaccination

A video posted by an anti-lockdown activist on Facebook, referring to a 2010 vaccination study, claims that one in forty has ‘vaccination damage’. A doctor working on the study said the allegation in the video misinterpreted the study’s findings, which include medical events unrelated to vaccines.

Reuters fact check. REUTERS

The woman who tells the video makes several other claims and expresses certain opinions, but that falls outside the scope of this check.

In the video, the speaker refers to a consideration by the House of Commons on December 14, 2020 over an e-petition on COVID-19 vaccination. She is critical of Patricia Gibson of the Scottish National Party, who told parliament: “Vaccines have protected us from birth to old age and have saved countless lives. This is nothing short of a medical and scientific miracle. (here)

The video narrator addresses this remark (here, time code 2:00) and says: “Yes? I’m sure people who have a dead or damaged child due to vaccines, think so too … I’m sure they think they are an absolute scientific wonder that they have one more child less, or that they now have a child has what is now so completely disabled. Yes, this is a scientific miracle. This is of course rare. They are rare. No. They are one in forty. According to a study in 2010, one in forty had damage to the vaccine ”.

The woman in the video refers to a report from 2010, and also to a statistic of 1 in 40. In this 2010 report (here), called Electronic Public Health Support – Vaccine Reporting System, patients in the United States monitored to see if they show any medical symptoms within 30 days of receiving a vaccine.

The results of the study found that, following 1.4 million doses of vaccine, 35,570 possible reactions were recorded – slightly more than one in 40.

Reuters could not find any other evidence from reports from 2010 citing similar figures regarding adverse effects of vaccines.

However, Dr Michael Klompas, who was working on the study, told Reuters in an email that the result was “widely misinterpreted”.

He said: “The finding was that 2.6% of the vaccines were followed by changes in the medical records, such as a new diagnosis or a change in laboratory values. The vast majority of these had nothing to do with the vaccine ”.

The Facebook video refers to children who die or become “completely disabled” as a result of vaccination. Klompas said the study monitored a series of possible medical events, ranging from a sore arm to syncope (fainting).

Klompas also sent an article (2015) to Reuters (here) showing the results of an updated, more accurate version of the reporting system. This study found that after 91,622 vaccinations, there were 32 adverse events, including rash, fever, and local vaccination reactions, such as swelling, redness, or pain — approximately one event for every 2,863 vaccinations.

Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) hold severe reactions in patients who have received vaccinations (here). For example, according to WHO reports, approximately one in every 500,000 live attenuated flu vaccines can cause an allergic reaction (here), while no evidence of serious reactions can be attributed to hepatitis A (here) or HPV vaccines (here).


Untrue. The 2010 study did not show that one in forty vaccine recipients suffered “vaccination damage”. The study counted whether medical events were detected in the thirty days after a patient received a vaccine and did not attempt to deduce causal link.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to actually check social media posts.