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Fact Check-The CDC did not say fewer young people are hospitalized from COVID-19 than from vaccinations

Updated to fix paragraph formatting

Claims that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said more people are hospitalized from vaccine reactions than COVID-19 are baseless.

A screenshot shared on social media shows an article titled: “NOT MAKING HEADLINES: CDC Officials Admit More Hospitalizations of Young People from Vaccine than From the Actual COVID Virus - Including HUGE Number of Heart Problems Reported” (here).

The CDC has denied they made this claim, or that it is accurate.

The CDC said in June that preliminary findings suggested cases of heart inflammation after mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are greater than expected, especially in young males after a second dose. However, these cases were still extremely rare (here).

CDC outcome data also indicated that these patients generally recover from symptoms, and the CDC continues to recommend COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 12 years of age and older (here).

The screenshot appears to be taken from The Gateway Pundit (article archived here).

However, when presented with the article, the CDC told Reuters that headline was untrue. A statement emailed to Reuters read: “CDC has not directly stated or indirectly implied that more young people are hospitalized from COVID-19 vaccination than from COVID-19 disease. That statement is factually inaccurate and is not representative of the safety data on COVID-19 vaccination.”

That article appears to report the conclusions of a newsletter by Alex Berenson (here), which in turn cites data included in a presentation given at the CDC on vaccine safety in 12-15-year-olds (archived here).

Neither The Gateway Pundit nor Berenson responded to requests for comment.

The Gateway Pundit and Berenson interpreted slide 8 of the CDC presentation to mean that 0.2% of all 12-15-year-olds will be hospitalized within 7 days of receiving a second Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The slideshow begins with a disclaimer that “The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...”

The data in Slide 8 is also not supposed to be representative of the general population, but parents or patients who voluntarily signed up for the v-safe smartphone app (here), which allows people to report health events following vaccination. It would be reasonable to suppose that people who had a medical event were more likely to use the app.

The Atlantic reported in July 2021 that doctors said they had hospitalized vaccinated child patients because they “wanted to monitor them, out of an abundance of caution,” and that many of those patients were discharged from hospital after receiving “little more than over-the-counter pain medication as therapy” (here).

However, even accounting for these disclaimers, does the data presented in the slides indicate that a significant number of young people have been hospitalized due to vaccines? Perhaps even more than those hospitalized due to COVID-19?

The CDC slides (see slides 6 and 8) say that 0.1% of patients who had checked in during the week after their first dose (57,126) said they were hospitalized, as had 0.2% of those who had checked in during the week after their second dose (15,988) — this represents about 89 patients in total, aged between 12 and 15.

A joint report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association dated June 24, 2021 found that in 23 states and New York City where relevant data was available, 15,783 children had been hospitalized due to COVID-19 (Slide 16, here).

VERDICT

False. The CDC said it is not true that more people had been hospitalized due to vaccinations than COVID-19. The CDC also denied they had ever made that claim.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here.

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