A health worker gestures at a Covid-19 vaccination hub at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in Brisbane on August 17, 2021. ( AFP / Patrick HAMILTON)

Australian health official did not say vaccinated 'dying from myocarditis'

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

A video is circulating in multiple social media posts that claim it shows a top Australian health official "admitting" people vaccinated against Covid-19 are dying from myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle. This is false; the clip was taken from longer footage that shows Queensland chief health officer John Gerrard talking about myocarditis deaths in Covid-19 patients, not vaccinated people. Australia's drugs regulator said it had not recorded any myocarditis deaths caused by Covid-19 vaccines.

"Australia has finally accepted the problem of heart attack (myocarditis) in double XYZ people," reads a tweet posted on March 6.

The video, viewed more than 1,800 times, features superimposed text that says: "Australian Health Official admits jabbed dying from Myocarditis".

The clip shows John Gerrard, chief health officer for the Australian state of Queensland, answering a question at a press conference.

"Yes, it does concern us when there are deaths at home," he says, before pausing. "From the few reports that I've been seeing. We're seeing reports of people having an illness for a short period and then sudden deaths. And we've reported about those earlier on."

"That's been reported elsewhere in Australia and around the world where it's myocarditis which I think I've referred to on a previous occasion. But we are certainly keeping a close eye, particularly when there are deaths, we investigate those particularly if there's anyone who's died at home."

A screenshot of a tweet sharing the false claim, taken on of March 9, 2022.

Similar posts were also shared on Facebook here, here and here.

However, Gerrard's remarks have been misrepresented.

He was in fact talking about myocarditis in people who died at home from Covid-19, not after getting vaccinated.

Keyword searches found the clip circulating online was taken from a longer video posted on YouTube by Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on January 14.

Gerrard was responding to a journalist who asked: "Of all the deaths that are being reported in Queensland, are the majority of them happening at home or in hospitals or aged care?"

"It's a mixture of all of the above," he replied. "We've had a handful in aged care, some in hospital and a few at home as well, as it's a mixture."

The journalist then asked: "Are you concerned that there are deaths happening at home?"

Gerrard responded: "Yes, it does concern us when there are deaths at home. From the few reports that I've been seeing. We're seeing reports of people having an illness for a short period and then sudden deaths. And we've reported about those earlier on."

"That's been reported elsewhere in Australia and around the world where it's myocarditis which I think I've referred to on a previous occasion. But we are certainly keeping a close eye, particularly when there are deaths, we investigate those particularly if there's anyone who's died at home."

He did not say that vaccinated people were dying from myocarditis.

Gerrard previously referred to deaths in Covid-19 patients from myocarditis in a press conference on January 8.

"Sadly, I can report today the death of a man in his 30s from Brisbane who died unexpectedly at his home on January 5th. The coroner has reported to us that the cause of his death was related to Covid-19. He was unvaccinated," he said.

"A man in his 30s from the Gold Coast who died suddenly at his home about 10 days ago, the coroner has confirmed that he also died of complications related to Covid-19."

"The most common cause of these sudden deaths in young people relate to infection by the virus of the heart, myocarditis."

Rare side effect

Queensland's health department refuted claims that Gerrard "admitted" that vaccinated people were dying from myocarditis.

"The comments made by Dr John Gerrard in the video were in response to a reporter’s question about COVID-19 positive patients who were passing away at home," a spokesperson told AFP.

"The comments were not made in reference to people dying after receiving the COVID-19 vaccination."

Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which monitors vaccine safety, said it had not recorded any myocarditis deaths caused by Covid-19 vaccines.

"The TGA has not assessed any fatal reports of myocarditis following COVID-19 vaccination as likely to be caused by vaccination," a spokesperson told AFP on March 10.

The TGA's Covid-19 vaccine safety report from March 10 said myocarditis is a "known but very rare side effect" of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines, but was "usually temporary, with most people getting better within a few days."

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