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Covid vaccines are not linked to 'sudden adult death syndrome', or Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndromes (SADS), say scientists, countering claims in widely circulated social media posts.
Several recent posts implicating COVID-19 vaccines in the incidence of SADS had thousands of retweets, likes and comments, leading to a vigorous debate.
"There appears to be no evidence whatsoever so far linking COVID-19 vaccines and such deaths," immunologist Satyajit Rath from Pune's Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) said.
The SADS Foundation in the US also issued a statement and said it recommends that SADS patients receive the COVID-19 shot.
"There is no evidence suggesting that any of the available Covid-19 vaccines cause people to develop SADS conditions, or make people's SADS conditions more severe," the foundation said in a statement.
SADS is defined by Canada's Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes Foundation as "a variety of cardiac arrhythmia disorders which are often genetic and can be responsible for sudden death in young, apparently healthy people".
Notwithstanding 'expertspeak', many users on Twitter have made the co-relation between SADS and getting vaccinated with COVID-19 jabs.
Why do we see a huge surge in Sudden Adult Death Syndrome? Climate change, energy bills, breakfast, shoveling snow, drinks, living under flight path, gardening, falling asleep with TV on, basically anything. Except you-know-what. Unrelated. Safe and effective," a Twitter user posted, suggesting the disorder was linked to COVID-19 vaccination.
The post had over 2,000 likes and over 1,000 retweets. Though it did not spell out the link in black and white, the suggestion prompted a massive debate about the safety of Covid vaccines and the incidence of SADS.
"I still haven't heard of any unvaccinated people getting Bell's palsy, shingles, monkey bollox (sic), myocarditis, or dropping dead from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome. Has anyone else?" said another Twitter post, which had nearly 14,000 likes and over 3,500 retweets.
"If you haven't been injected with experimental mRNA or chimp virus you won't get injection-related 'Sudden Adult Death Syndrome'," added a Twitter user.
The post, suggesting that you would get SADS if injected with a Covid vaccine, garnered thousands of likes and hundreds of retweets. Such claims echoed in other multiple Twitter posts.
Immunologist Rath explained that SADS is occasionally reported as sudden death in a healthy young adult.There is evidence that, in rare instances, mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are associated with myocarditis -- inflammation of the heart muscle -- in relatively young adults, he added.
"That seems to be the basis on which this 'SADS' connection is being claimed. However, the myocarditis numbers are very small, not necessarily associated with death, leave alone with sudden death," said Rath.
Immunologist Vineeta Bal agreed, saying there is no association between COVID-19 vaccines and cases of SADS. "I have not come across reports which say current COVID-19 vaccines are a precipitating cause for sudden adult death syndrome," Bal, also from IISER Pune, said.
According to cardiologist Ashish Agarwal, some rare cases of myocardial infarction (MI) or heart attack have been linked to the COVID-19 vaccination, but there is no link with SADS. "There are a few people who had MI a few days to a few weeks after the Covid vaccine. This may have happened due to other causes but was linked to Covid vaccine as there was no other history, "Agarwal, director, cardiology - Unit 1, in Delhi's Aakash Healthcare facility, said.
Rath also noted that there has been no reported increase in SADS cases in the past two years in countries where the data has been looked at.
"Life-threatening events associated with COVID-19 vaccines remain rare, as they are with other vaccines, in the range of one in a lakh at most," he added. The claims that COVID vaccines are linked to "sudden adult death syndrome" are "false."
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