Users are claiming that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deleted reports of 6,000 deaths from the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). The CDC told Reuters the entry removal was due to foreign reports being combined with domestic reports.
Examples can be seen here and here .
The text in one post reads: “Does this surprise you?! Does it frustrate you?! Not only are deaths and adverse reactions already underreported, but then to have them DELETE the information is absolutely ridiculous and super disrespectful!!! Click below to read the full article!!”
Archives of the CDC page in question here show the increase and decrease in the number of deaths reported to VAERS.
An archived version of the page captured at 17:41 GMT on July 20 shows 6,079 reports of deaths (here).
The next capture was taken at 21:02 GMT on July 20 showing 12,313 reports of deaths (here).
The number reverted back to 6,079, as seen in a capture at 18:54 GMT on July 21 (here). It was then updated to 6,207 reports of death in a capture at 01:39 GMT on July 22 (here).
Curtis Gill, a CDC representative, told Reuters via email that the CDC is aware of an error which took place while data was being uploaded to the page.
“The error resulted in what appeared to be a large spike in the number of deaths reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) after COVID-19 vaccination,” Gill said. “It happened, accidentally, because of combining foreign and domestic reports, and has been corrected.”
When viewing VAERS data on its website, users can filter results by location, which includes U.S. states and territories, as well as an option labelled “foreign” and “unknown”. There are more than 110,000 results for adverse events following COVID-19 vaccines reported when selecting “foreign” and “unknown” as the location.
The advisory guide to the interpretation of VAERS data here explains: “VAERS occasionally receives case reports from US manufacturers that were reported to their foreign subsidiaries. Under FDA regulations, if a manufacturer is notified of a foreign case report that describes an event that is both serious and unexpected (in other words, it does not appear in the product labeling), they are required to submit it to VAERS. It is important to realize that these case reports are of variable data quality and completeness, due to the many differences in country reporting practices and surveillance-system quality.” (vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html)
The 6,207 number of reported deaths remains on the website as of publishing, making up 0.0018 percent among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine after more than 339 million doses were administered in the U.S. (here). These deaths, however, are not confirmed to be causal.
On the same page, the CDC 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 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 ).
Reuters explored this lack of causality in other fact check articles visible here , here and here .
Missing context. The larger number of reported deaths was due to an error that occurred while uploading data to the website. There is no evidence the CDC is deleting reports of deaths.
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.