Posts sharing incorrect incident numbers reported to the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) are missing context.
An example can be seen here , with the caption: “The total number of Covid deaths in the US of people aged 0-39 are about 9,700 for reference. And for 0-29 it’s only about 2,700 total. So if you’re a younger person, it’s entirely possible that the _____ is more likely to kill you than _____. (Censored for Facebook despite being statistically true)”
The screenshot shows an article (archived archive.ph/1cVp3 ) published on July 21, 2021 from a website called Precision Vaccinations with the headline: “COVID-19 Vaccine Related Fatalities Exceed 12,000.”
While the article itself explains the CDC’s disclaimers about the lack of causality on the VAERS website, the headline circulating on social media without context is misleading.
The screenshot only shows the headline and the text: “The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed an increased number of deaths reported after a COVID-19 vaccination. Between December 14, 2020, through July 19, 2021, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) received 12,313 reports of death among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine.”
The next paragraph in the article, which is not visible in the screenshots, shows an update that the CDC modified the number of 12,313 deaths to 6,079. The next paragraph shows a second update that says the CDC modified the number to 6,207.
However, the headline of the article has not been updated to show the correct number as of publishing. It also did not disclose in the headline that the number is sourced from VAERS reports, which do not provide definitive data on COVID-19 vaccine related fatalities.
In a July 21, 2021 page update, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it had received 6,207 reports of people who had died after receiving a COVID vaccine between Dec. 14, 2020 and July 19, 2021 (here ). But that came with clear caveats. On the same page, it says: “FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause.”
Anyone can report events to VAERS (vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html) and a disclaimer on the CDC’s website says: “The reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable” (here ). When downloading the data, users are presented with a further disclaimer that the data do not include information from investigations into reported cases. The disclaimer also says “the inclusion of events in VAERS data does not imply causality” (here ).
Missing context. The posts show number of VAERS death reports out of context to falsely claim that thousands of U.S. vaccine recipients who died after getting the vaccine died as a result of getting the vaccine.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.