Scotland: Sudden Spike in deaths of newborn babies sparks investigation

According to Public Health Scotland, there has been a sharp rise in the number of dead newborns in September. The spike in deaths is so noticeable that it has triggered an investigation. Although the rate of deaths fluctuates month to month, the figure for September, at 4.9 deaths per 1000 live births is more than twice the average.

Public Health Scotland (PHS), said the number of deaths had breached a ‘control limit’ which indicated that “there is a higher likelihood that there are factors beyond random variation that may have contributed to the number of deaths that occurred”.

Monthly figures on newborn death rates are only available from July 2017, but previously peaked at 3.7 per 1000 live births in March 2020. However, annual statistics on newborn deaths from the National Records of Scotland show that they have been in steady decline for decades, falling from an average of 4.7 per 1000 live births in 1986-1990 to 2.2 per 1000 by 2016-2020.

There are currently no details on what caused the deaths of the 21 newborns. September coincided with a surge in A&E attendance and an outbreak of RSV virus, however, it is clear that none of the deaths were due to COVID-19.

There has been no mention of how many of the mothers were vaccinated or whether the COVID vaccines played a role.