Is Singapore Proof of Covid-19 Vaccine-Related Deaths?
Over the past few days, we’ve seen Singapore being mentioned and used as a case study by non-Singaporean commentators. One such case caught our eye – a claim that Singapore is a clear and perfect example of a spike in deaths caused by the Covid-19 vaccine rather than Covid-19.
This claim is being pushed on a Twitter thread and two substack posts by user Aussie17 who claims to be an “ex-big pharma exec exposing the pharma industrial complex.” The twitter thread has been viewed by almost 40,000 twitter users within a day posting and features a graph with data from the Singstat Website run by the Singapore Department of Statistics. The graph is a simple charting of deaths in Singapore across 1960 and 2022.
According to Aussie17, Singapore’s climate, healthcare system, and urbanization make it an ideal sample group to analyse deaths across the pandemic because external factors such as healthcare shortages and winter seasons do not complicate the data. The claim is that in 2021, rather than 2020 when the pandemic first began, deaths spiked sharply – lining up with the mass vaccination of Singapore’s population.
Aussie17 also writes rather dramatically that the data looks like “the entire country’s heartbeat experienced a cardiac arrest in the last few months.” Given that Singapore has a resident population of about 4 million and the spikes between September 2021 and December 2022 represent fewer than 2000 deaths in total, this statement is much closer to hyperbole than fact.
However, there certainly appears to be a visible spike in deaths, and statistics do reflect a crude death rate increase of about 2300 between 2020 and 2021. A report by Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) about the same data offers more concrete explanations and possible contributing factors.
MOH attributes the spike in deaths in late 2021 to the Delta infection wave, which spread two to four times more easily and caused a massive spike in cases. This was also the case in early 2022 with the Omicron BA.1/BA.2 wave. When looking at a comparison of Covid-19 cases and death rates – something notably left out by Aussie17 – it is clear that the spike in deaths correlates closely with a spike in Covid-19 cases. This is also something echoed by experts from the National Centre for Infectious diseases (NCID).
MOH also notes that the rise in deaths between 2020 and 2022 in Singapore total) can be partially attributed to the aging population – with the number of deaths in persons above 60 rising sharply in the past two years. Apart from the aging population, factors such as altered health-seeking behaviours because of the pandemic, and underlying medical conditions exacerbated by Covid-19 infection are also likely explanations for the increase in deaths in 2021 and 2022.
Finally, rather than vaccines causing a “suspicious” spike, statistics also suggest being unvaccinated had a higher mortality risk. Specifically focusing on the period between 2021 and the first half of 2022 (the spikes highlighted in the claim), the MOH report shows that there was an “overrepresentation of persons who were not fully vaccinated.” Although only about 5% of Singapore’s population was not fully vaccinated as of mid-march 2022, 28% of deaths in the first half of 2022 were not fully vaccinated.
In summary, while the claim uses official statistics released by Singapore to bolster their point, the presentation of that data is sorely lacking. The claim neglects to mention additional context such as the spike in Covid-19 cases and other likely factors involved in the increased death rate – instead only pointing out factors that support its perspective. We therefore give the claim that Singapore is proof of vaccine-caused deaths a rating of false.