A concerted, bipartisan investigation should explore this threat to America’s economic future and recommend a course of action.
Photo of life insurance policy and stethoscope

Life insurance data show a massive spike in excess deaths among younger, working-age people that began in 2021, even as COVID-19 deaths decreased, and continues today. So far, good explanations are elusive. A concerted, bipartisan investigation should explore this threat to America’s economic future and recommend a course of action.

A report by the nonprofit Society of Actuaries found that 34% more 35- to 44-year-olds died than expected in the last three months of 2022. More deaths occurred among white-collar vs. blue-collar workers. The organization also reported a sudden jump in employee deaths in the fall of 2021. Independent sites aggregating Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data confirm these trends. According to U.S. Mortality, excess deaths in September 2021 among 25- to 44-year-olds were 70% above normal. That number has thankfully dropped, but as of May 2023, the most recent month for which data are available, deaths in this age group remained 10% above expected. Among people under 25, it was 16% above normal.

The Society of Actuaries maintains that COVID-19 does not fully explain these deaths. So what does?

Experts have posited all sorts of theories, from rising obesity rates to extreme heat to lagging effects from lockdowns to wider alcohol abuse. These possible contributors deserve careful consideration. Given the sheer number of COVID-19 vaccine deaths reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, more than 36,000 to date, the possible role of vaccines should be examined, too.

Virtually everyone agrees that COVID-19 vaccines carry risk. The debate is over the frequency and intensity of harm. With the CDC recommending an updated vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older, it’s time to reassess this delicate balance. If even a fraction of the deaths resulted from vaccination, we should want to understand the trend to help people accurately weigh the benefits and risks.

VAERS is one of the strongest available tools to track and prevent vaccine harm. It is an open database used by consumers, patients, and healthcare professionals to report vaccine problems, which are then analyzed by the CDC. The Department of Health and Human Services describes it as “a national early warning system to detect possible safety problems in U.S.-licensed vaccines.”

VAERS has a track record of results. In 1997, U.S. physicians modified the childhood polio vaccine schedule based on a handful of vaccine-induced paralysis reports that showed up annually in VAERS. A hepatitis B vaccine was suspended in 1998 due to a suspected link to multiple sclerosis. That same year, rotavirus vaccines found to contain porcine circovirus type 1 were removed. A meningococcal vaccine was withdrawn in 2008 on suspicion of causing Guillain-Barre syndrome, and in 2009, an H1N1 flu vaccine was suspended for increasing the risk of narcolepsy.

In 2021, VAERS received more reports of post-vaccination deaths than in the prior 30 years combined. The totals for 2022 and 2023 are lower than 2021 but still dwarf pre-pandemic years. These reports do not automatically signify the cause of death and must be carefully analyzed. But with tens of thousands of reports in VAERS for COVID-19 vaccine-related deaths alone, it isn’t realistic to expect the CDC to investigate them all.

Public health authorities should be concerned about the widening gap between their guidance and vaccine behavior. By February 2021, more than half of U.S. adults were vaccinated against COVID-19. But according to the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll, just 29% are “very interested” in getting the updated vaccine. The effect seems to be contributing to