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I first wrote about trends in neonatal deaths in an article I wrote in January of this year - Trends to keep an eye on - Pregnancies in Scotland.
The article started by asking if the last few years have had any impact on fertility and pregnancies.
Has Covid, lockdowns and/or vaccines had any impact on fertility and pregnancies? This was always a key concern and probably why so many women decided not to get vaccinated whilst they were pregnant. There is no definitive answer to this question but we can see some trends occurring in data from Scotland that needs keeping a close eye on.
Within the article, I looked at a number of charts including one which showed a spike in new-born baby deaths. Even the Main Stream Media had reported on this with the BBC writing about an investigation which would look into this spike.
I concluded by saying:
There is no definitive cause for any of these, however the recent spike in neonatal deaths is alarming. All data sets that need keeping an eye on over the next few months.
So keeping an eye on the data, what has been happening in Scotland?
Worryingly, six months later (latest data is from March), another spike in neonatal deaths has occurred.
The September spike previously reported on was 5.1 neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births and this latest spike is lower at 4.6. February’s rate was around the average centreline but the March rate shot up, through both the warning and control limits. This was a 2.7x jump in one month.
Every death is a tragedy but fortunately these events are relatively rare, even during a spike. The March spike represented 18 neonatal deaths and the September spike 21.
However, this data has just been released and so is likely to be revised upwards. Even in December, the September data was showing at a rate of 4.8 and has since been revised to 5.1. This is because some stillbirths occurring within the last week of the month may not have been registered at the time the data extract was taken.
What could be causing these massive spikes?
The investigation into the September spike concluded that COVID infection in mothers and babies did “not appear to have played a role” in the spike. Public Health Scotland stated:
“Initial findings suggest that, overall, the number of births in September 2021 was at the expected level.
Preliminary information on prematurity suggests that the number of babies born at less than 32 weeks gestation in September 2021 was at the upper end of monthly numbers seen in 2021 to date.
This may contribute to the neonatal mortality rate, as prematurity is associated with an increased risk of neonatal death...there is no information at this stage to suggest that any of the neonatal deaths in September 2021 were due to Covid-19 infection of the baby.
Likewise, preliminary review does not indicate that maternal Covid-19 infection played a role in these events.”
So, it doesn’t seem to have been caused by Covid, what about the vaccines? Could they be causing premature births which lead to neonatal deaths?
It seems we’ll never know. The Herald reports:
“The vaccination status of the mothers of the infants who died is unknown and will not be released due to “patient confidentiality”.”
In another report it writes:
“There were no baby deaths in mothers who had been vaccinated at the time of developing a Covid infection.”
This doesn’t mean that there weren’t any baby deaths in mothers who had been vaccinated but hadn’t developed a Covid infection.
And why are there spikes, instead of consistently high deaths? It kind of suggests that an event occurs to produce the spike before going back to normal.
I have no idea if vaccines have played a part in the spikes or not but hypothesising that they have, let’s look at the timelines.
If the March spike was connected to the vaccines then most pregnant women would have been boosted in December/January time, a lag of three months. Could this apply to the September spike? Three months before that spike would have been July 2021, approximately the time when younger women were getting their second jab. However, by September only 32.3% of women had one or more dose at the time of delivery.
First doses would have been administered around March 2021 which again fits with the graph. Firstly, shifts in the data (indicated by blue dots) start in March and secondly, a smaller peak of neonatal deaths occur in June, three months after first doses started.
This is all just speculation at this point, it’s just me trying to figure out what is causing the large spikes. However, as I said in January, this is data that needs keeping an eye on over the next few months and beyond.
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