Fact Check-No evidence the CDC ‘quietly’ confirmed 118,000 people ‘died suddenly’ due to COVID-19 vaccines

There is no evidence that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed COVID-19 vaccines caused or contributed to 118,000 deaths in children and young adults, contrary to what is claimed in an article that is being shared online. The CDC has not yet found patterns indicating that vaccines are causing deaths, a CDC spokesperson told Reuters.

An Instagram user said, “CDC: *clears throat*… Anyways, moving on…” while sharing an article headline that reads, “CDC quietly confirms at least 118k Children & Young Adults have ‘Died Suddenly’ in the USA since the roll-out of the COVID Vaccines” (here). More examples of users sharing the headline can be seen (here) and (here).

The headline appears to reference a film titled “Died Suddenly” that spread baseless assertions about the vaccines, debunked by Reuters in depth (here).

A Google search for the headline in the viral posts leads to a Nov. 30 article with an identical headline on The Expose, which can be seen (here). It says the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ( received data from the CDC that proves nearly 118,000 excess deaths in children and young adults and claims “the Covid-19 injections have been and are continuing to kill people.”

The term “excess deaths” is defined as “the difference between the observed numbers of deaths in specific time periods and expected numbers of deaths in the same time periods” (here).

The excess-deaths numbers published by OECD referred to in the claims, however, represent all excess deaths from any cause. And the U.S. data from which the figures are drawn show that COVID-19 deaths are the main source of the excess.


The OECD figures cited by the article can be seen (here), in the “Excess deaths by week, 2020-2022” table, filtering for the “0-44” age group and looking at the United States data.

An OECD spokesperson told Reuters that the organization extracts figures published by the CDC, and that the data in the article “appears to be consistent with the data published by OECD which shows weekly excess deaths, that is the number of deaths in each week compared to an average of the deaths observed in the same week in the years 2015-19.”

However, the figures show “the number of additional deaths recorded – from ALL causes – both sudden and otherwise – in each week compared to the average expected,” and do not relate to deaths due to COVID-19 vaccines as the article claims, the OECD spokesperson said.


Data on the CDC website shows excess mortality rates, for all ages, separated by those with or without COVID-19 (select “Excess deaths with and without COVID-19” under dashboard options, here).

The graph shows that the spikes (blue) beyond the expected number of deaths (orange line) happen when COVID-19 is included in the death counts, whereas deaths excluding COVID-19 (green) appear aligned to what was expected (here) (

The data suggest excess mortality in the U.S. was due to COVID-19, not the vaccines. Indeed, an analysis from the Yale School of Public Health found that once COVID vaccines were introduced, excess deaths were lower in the most highly-vaccinated parts of the country as compared to regions with low vaccination rates (here).


“To date, CDC has not detected any unusual or unexpected patterns for deaths following immunization that would indicate that COVID vaccines are causing or contributing to deaths,” a CDC spokesperson told Reuters. Statements that imply that reports of deaths following vaccination equate to deaths caused by vaccination are scientifically inaccurate, misleading, and irresponsible.”

After analysis of nearly 18,000 preliminary reports of death submitted to the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting system (VAERS) (here), and review of death certificates, autopsies and medical records, the CDC has “identified nine deaths causally associated with J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccination,” the agency states on its website.

The Expose article includes other claims previously debunked by Reuters, including the false claims that vaccinated individuals are more likely to die than the unvaccinated and that vaccines are neither safe nor effective (here) (here), (here), (here) and (here).

The Expose did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.


Misleading. The CDC did not confirm thousands of deaths due to COVID-19 vaccines.

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