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A study would confirm that vaccination against Covid-19 causes “severe autoimmune hepatitis”, say blog posts shared thousands of times, while cases of hepatitis have been identified in children in several countries in recent weeks. This is false: the World Health Organization, the health authorities of several countries and three independent researchers explained to AFP that the hypothesis of a link between this hepatitis and vaccination is not supported, since the majority of affected children do not they were vaccinated. In addition, the study cited in the blog articles focuses on the particular case of an adult who developed a different type of hepatitis than the affected children.
“Study Confirms COVID Vaccine Causes Severe Autoimmune Hepatitis Days After WHO Issued ‘Global Alert’ On Severe Hepatitis In Children“, alarm articles published on May 7 on various blogs (here, here, there, there), some of which have already been singled out for having spread false information related to the pandemic by AFP.
The articles or some of their excerpts have been shared several hundred times on Facebook, thousands of times on Twitter (here, there, there) and viewed more than 95,000 times on Telegram channels (here, there) in less than a week .
These French publications are based on the translation of an article published on April 28 on the site “The Exposé”, which has already transmitted numerous inaccurate information related to Covid-19 that have been the subject of verification articles by the ‘AFP, like this or that.
Similar complaints circulated in English, Spanish and Portuguese on social media.
Hepatitis cases not related to the vaccine
These complaints are transmitted when the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on April 23 about the presence of a strain of hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) of unknown origin, which mainly affects children. As of May 11, the organization said it had identified 348 probable cases, in 20 countries. Only six countries have recorded more than five cases, but the UK has reported 160 patients.
The vaccine is not, however, one of the causes considered by scientists to explain these diseases., According to the WHO. The organization stressed that the causes of this hepatitis are still being studied, but that the vaccine is not a sustained hypothesis.because the vast majority of affected children have not received a vaccine against Covid-19.”
The WHO thus confirmed to AFP that “nothing to suggest a link” between vaccination and these forms of hepatitis.
As of April 6, the British health authorities (“UK Health Security Agency“, or UKHSA) warned of an increase in hepatitis cases in children registered in the country since January. Since then have coordinated several studies and published research reports on these cases.
In an April 25 report, the agency also ruled out any link between the Covid vaccine and the hepatitis that developed in these children. “There is no evidence of a link with the Covid-19 vaccine. None of the confirmed cases in the UK, to our knowledge, have been vaccinated.“, we can read there.
A spokesman for the British public health authority confirmed to AFP that “there is no connection with the Covid-19 vaccine. None of the confirmed cases in children under 10 in the UK are in people known to have been vaccinated.“.
In the United States, health authorities (“Centers for Disease Control and Prevention“, or CDC) also issued an advisory for “inform doctors and health authorities about a group of children with hepatitis and adenovirus infections“April, the 21st.
On May 6, the CDC announced that it was investigating 109 cases of hepatitis identified in 25 states and US territories, in children with a median age of two years, that occurred during the past seven months. Due to their age, most of the affected children were not eligible to be vaccinated against Covid-19. In the United States, vaccination is open from the age of five.
A CDC spokeswoman, Kristen Nordlund, told AFP that “the children’s ages ranged from 11 months to 5 years and 9 months, most are not eligible for vaccination against Covid-19“.
A possible link to an adenovirus
On April 29, the CDC also released a study of nine cases of pediatric hepatitis with varying degrees of severity, reported in Alabama between October 2021 and February 2022. All of the children with hepatitis also tested positive for a common pathogen called adenovirus 41. , so far the best. known to cause gastroenteritis. Seven patients were also coinfected with other viruses.
“At the moment, we believe that adenovirus may be the cause of these reported cases of hepatitis, but other potential factors are still being investigated“, the CDC said in a news release accompanying this study.
On May 6, the deputy director in charge of infectious diseases at the CDC Jay Butler assured that “vaccination against Covid-19 is not the causeof these hepatitis, adding to want to put an end to the rumors that circulate on the Internet on this subject.
“At present, the main hypotheses continue to be those of the adenovirusalso taking into important consideration the role of Covid, either as a co-infection or as a previous infection“, confirmed Philippa Easterbrook, from the WHO global hepatitis program, during a press conference on May 11.
In France, as of May 11, “No excess emergency room visits or hospital stays have been identified since January 1, 2022 compared to prior years (2018-2021)“, according to Public Health France.
A case study of a man with another type of hepatitis
Articles shared on social media link to a case study of a 52-year-old man who developed autoimmune hepatitis after being infected with Covid-19 and vaccinated against the disease.
However, the type of hepatitis contracted by the man whose case was studied in this investigation is not the same as that reported by the health authorities that affects children, according to several researchers interviewed by AFP.
The American pediatric transplant hepatologist Sara Hassan, from the department of pediatrics at the Mayo Clinic, a highly reputable university hospital and research federation in the United States, explained to AFP that the man-made disease in this case study is different from pediatric cases of hepatitis reported by health agencies.
“This research carried out in an adult tries to establish a link between vaccines against Covid-19 and autoimmune hepatitis, which is a different entity“hepatitis that has affected children in several countries, according to the researcher.
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, of viral origin in most cases, although sometimes the disease can be caused by toxic substances, indicates a page on the Inserm site dedicated to acute hepatitis identified in recent weeks in child patients.
“So far, five viruses have been identified that can cause this specific liver infection and inflammation. They are designated by the letters A, B, C, D and E, and they do not have the same mode of transmission or the same aggressiveness.“, still indicates the Inserm page. There is also hepatitis, it is said”non-alphabetical“because viruses A, B, C, D or E are not found in patients”.This is what seems to be taking shape. [dans le cas de ces hépatites pédiatriques]even if the data is still fragmentary“Inserm points out.
The hepatitis studied in humans infected with Covid-19 and vaccinated is autoimmune, that is, it results from a dysfunction of the immune system, the medical director of the department of pediatric hepatology at Yale American University, Rima Fawaz, told AFP. .
Autoimmune hepatitis is “immune dysregulation, where your body has an abnormal response and attacks your liver“Children whose cases have been reported by health agencies show infectious symptoms such as fever and are treated differently, according to Rima Fawaz.
This case study, and the data known to date, do not support the idea that recently reported pediatric hepatitis cases may be linked to Covid-19 vaccines, the researcher summarizes. “Saying that it is linked to vaccination against Covid-19 makes no sense.“, according to her.
Fellow infectious disease specialist John Swartzberg of the American University of California at Berkeley agrees. According to him, the hepatitis reported in children and the only case of autoimmune hepatitis detected in a man who was vaccinated against Covid-19 are “without any connection” Y “they have nothing to do with each other“.
The professor emeritus of the department of public health at the University of California at Berkeley also believes that the case of autoimmune hepatitis after vaccination against Covid-19 reported in the study should not “absolutely not“dissuade people from getting vaccinated.”The risks of contracting Covid-19 far outweigh the risks associated with vaccination“, he concludes.
AFP has verified hundreds of other misleading claims related to the Covid-19 pandemic, most recently about “pfizer documents“, presented, erroneously, as revealing the danger of vaccines.