Vaccine lab
An article claims COVID vaccines are destroying our immune systems. (Joel Carrett/AAP IMAGES)

Usual suspect cooks up COVID vaccine scare story

David Williams January 31, 2023

Government, Pfizer documents confirm COVID-19 vaccines have led to millions of deaths as a result of recipients developing vaccine-associated enhanced disease (VAED).


False. UK government and Pfizer documents make no such claim and there have been no recorded cases of COVID vaccines leading to VAED.

It has been claimed that Pfizer and UK government documents confirm millions have died as a result of a severe disease response to the COVID-19 vaccine.

The claim, which features in an article written by frequent spreader of misinformation The Exposé, argues the deaths are the result of people developing vaccine-associated enhanced disease (VAED).

But the claim is false. Neither set of documents supports the claim and experts told AAP FactCheck that there have been no recorded cases of the COVID vaccines leading to VAED.

The article features the headline, “Confidential Pfizer and Government Documents confirm ADE, VAED, and AIDS due to COVID-19 Vaccination have led to Millions ‘Dying Suddenly’ & still counting.”

It has been widely shared on Facebook, such as here, here, here and here. Archived here.

Facebook post
 Official Pfizer documents show the opposite of what a widely shared Expose article implies. 

VAED is described by the Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre (MVEC) as “a rare phenomenon”, where a vaccine aids a virus’s spread through the body, rather than preventing it. This means the vaccinated person will present a (usually) more serious version of the virus than if they hadn’t been vaccinated.

Vaccines that have caused VAED are no longer in use or have not been approved, according to MVEC. They include an RSV vaccine and a measles vaccine.

ADE (antibody-dependent enhancement), which is also specified in the headline, is a form of VAED. The claimed connection between COVID vaccines and AIDS has been debunked numerous times – see here, here and here.

The key document used by The Exposé to back up the claim is a Pfizer analysis of adverse events reported through to February 28, 2021.

The article includes a screenshot of Table 5 from page 11 of the report, titled “Important Potential Risk”. According to the article, the table shows Pfizer received 138 cases indicative of VAED, out of 317 “potentially relevant events” reported.

But the screenshot is missing the key first paragraph from Table 5 of the actual report, which says: “No post-authorized AE (adverse event) reports have been identified as cases of VAED/VAERD (vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease), therefore, there is no observed data at this time.”

In the same table, it says that of 75 cases of people with severe COVID following vaccination, “none could be definitively considered VAED/VAERD”.

Pfizer report
 The key first paragraph of a Pfizer report is missing from the screenshot. 

A Pfizer representative told AAP FactCheck via email the document was “extremely robust” and represented the “totality of the data relating to a product under review”.

The representative added: “All information is reviewed meticulously by experienced medical and clinical experts who are equipped in interpreting the data in the context of the full package submitted.

“Non-experts reviewing such scientific data is likely to lead to information being misinterpreted or taken out of context.”

The other documents cited in the article are the UK Health Security Agency’s (UKHSA) weekly vaccine surveillance reports. The Expose claims they reveal the vaccines are destroying immune systems and leading to VAED.

But a UKHSA representative said the surveillance reports (examples here and here) do not look into potential cases of VAED and certainly don’t claim to contain any evidence of a link with the vaccine.

Instead the agency’s monthly reports summarise the latest effectiveness data.

“We continue to see high levels of effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines (including the Pfizer vaccine) against hospitalisation,” the representative added.

A nurse outside a hospital
 Data is likely to be misinterpreted when reviewed by non-experts, says a Pfizer spokesperson. 

Cillian Gartlan, a VAED researcher at the University of Oxford, told AAP FactCheck there has been no reported “immune system damage comparable to AIDS” following COVID-19 vaccination, as the article claims.

Mr Gartlan also confirmed that VAED had “never been recorded in clinically approved SARS-CoV-2 vaccines”.

He added: “Severe COVID-19 is rare following vaccination, as indicated in the Pfizer report (“0.33% of the total dataset”) and has a considerably lower incidence than severe COVID-19 in unvaccinated populations. This indicates that the vaccine is effective but that some severe cases will still arise in vaccinated people, not due to VAED, but more simply due to the fact that vaccines are not 100% effective.”

AAP FactCheck has previously debunked vaccine misinformation from The Exposé, here and here.

The Verdict

The claim that UK government and Pfizer documents confirm COVID-19 vaccines have led to millions of deaths as a result of recipients developing VAED is false.

The Pfizer document states that no cases of VAED have been detected. A UK government representative said its reports do not look into potential cases of VAED and don’t claim to contain any evidence of a link with the vaccine.

Additionally, an expert told AAP FactCheck no cases of VAED following COVID vaccination had ever been recorded.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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