Full Fact found a Facebook post claiming deadly Streptococcus A infection Reports of tragic cases suggest a new nasal flu vaccine is to blame.
How did strep throat suddenly become so dangerous to children? It didn’t, but they needed someone else to blame for the awful deaths. They are just as likely to blame their new nasal ‘flu’ vaccines for children’s deaths as they are untested gene therapy treatments for injuries, suffering, and deaths around the world.
These statements are false. Streptococcus A has always been dangerous, and there’s no proof that vaccination introduction caused the deaths in late 2022.
What is Streptococcus A?
Strep A, commonly called GAS or group A streptococcus, is a harmless bacteria found in the throat or on the skin. Usually causes sore throats. Scarlet fever is another modest complication.
When bacteria invade the lungs or bloodstream, life-threatening invasive group infections can ensue. iGAS strep.
Since September 2022, 25 children under 18 have died in England.
Streptococcus A is deadly
The text implies that because Strepsils are named after streptococcal bacteria, they must be moderate. We’ve seen strep A-related deaths before.
While Streptococcus A diagnoses and deaths in children are higher than typical for this time of year, this appears to be an early peak rather than one producing an extraordinary number of deaths. In England, 27 children died of Streptococcus A from September 2017 to September 2018.
While high for this stage in the season, weekly laboratory notifications [for iGAS patients] are lower than during the regular pre-pandemic peak season (March to April).
The seven-day case fatality rate is consistent with prior seasons. No new penicillin resistance has emerged, and other antibiotic resistance rates are down. The UKHSA says there’s no evidence of a new GAS strain or antibiotic resistance.
Group A strep was originally recognized in the 1870s. Scarlet fever was first recognized in the 1600s. Death data is more easily available now than in the past, but what we have presents a gloomy picture of life before penicillin. In 1857, Massachusetts’ illness death rate peaked at 173 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Given a population of 67 million, this death rate would mean around 115,000 UK deaths per year. In 2017/18, 355 people died from Streptococcus A.
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The nasal flu vaccine isn’t new and doesn’t induce Streptococcus A.
The post mentions “new nasal flu vaccines” and suggests they may be behind this year’s Streptococcus A mortality in children. There’s no proof that these immunizations cause strep A infections or deaths.
Since 2013, schools in the UK have been given the nasal flu vaccine, starting with younger ages and moving up. All children from age 2 to year 11 were provided the flu vaccination in 2021/22, with this year’s launch focusing on children up to year 9, while youngsters in years 10 and 11 may be immunized if there is the leftover product.
We fact-checked allegations that nasal flu vaccination causes Streptococcus A. A recent UKHSA pre-print article found fewer strep A infections in locations where more children received the nasal flu vaccine, but no difference in scarlet fever or iGAS rates.
Many of children and adolescents have gotten this vaccine as part of the national flu immunization program, and an increased risk of Streptococcus A infections has not been recognized as a safety concern.
“The MHRA closely monitors the safety of all vaccinations used in the UK, including [the nasal flu vaccine].”
The message also claims Covid-19 vaccines are hazardous, calling them “unproperly studied gene therapy shots” that are “causing all the injuries, harm, and deaths around the world.”
We’ve debunked similar claims concerning covid vaccinations before: they’re not “gene therapy” or responsible for “Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.”
Misrepresented colonization research
The user made the aforementioned assertions in the post’s text and provided a snapshot of research in mBio that looked at how giving mice nasal flu vaccine altered the bacteria in their airways. The caption doesn’t mention it. This study has been used to bolster social media accusations that the nasal flu vaccine causes Streptococcus A.
No Streptococcus A but 2 different types of bacteria were studied in this study. The investigators observed more of these bacteria in the mice’s upper respiratory tracts, but no greater risk of infection or death. This study doesn’t corroborate the assertions of this post. it doesn’t indicate that the nasal flu vaccine causes strep A in humans.
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