Jarle Aarstad & Olav Andreas Kvitastein
Purpose: We primarily study a possible link between 2021 COVID-19 vaccination uptake in Europe and monthly 2022 excess all-cause mortality, that is, mortality higher than before the pandemic.
Methods and Results: Analyses of 31 countries weighted by population size show that all-cause mortality during the first 9 months of 2022 increased more the higher the 2021 vaccination uptake; a one percentage point increase in 2021 vaccination uptake was associated with a monthly mortality increase in 2022 by 0.105% (95% CI, 0.075–0.134). When controlling for alternative explanations, the association remained robust, and we discuss the result emphasizing causality as well as potential ecological fallacy. Furthermore, the study shows that 2021 all-cause mortality was lower the higher the vaccination uptake, but this association became non-significant when controlling for alternative explanations.
Conclusion: Despite a possible preventive effect in 2021, we cannot rule out that COVID-19 vaccination uptake in Europe has led to increasing 2022 all-cause mortality between January and September.