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Fact Check-No evidence the number of vaccine deaths will rival the number of COVID deaths

Posts claiming that the number of deaths related to vaccines may soon rival the number of deaths from COVID-19 are false. The large number wrongly described as “vaccine-related deaths” in a series of online posts is the total number of reports that people have made to the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). It covers all reports of all adverse effects, not just deaths. The reports cover all vaccines, not just COVID vaccines. Anyone can make these reports and they do not prove any causality.

Examples of the misleading online posts can be seen here and here .

The claim stems from an InfoWars video (archived here ) which shows a page from the independent website OpenVAERS (here ) where the number 1,136,615 is visible. However, OpenVAERS states that this is the number of reports of all adverse effects from all vaccines, not just deaths and not just COVID-19 vaccines.

As of June 17, the OpenVAERS website shows 329,021 reports of adverse events, not just deaths, linked specifically to COVID-19 vaccines (here).

By comparison, the confirmed U.S. death toll from COVID-19 recently passed 600,000, as reported by Reuters here .

In a June 11 page update, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it had received 5,208 reports of people who had died after receiving a COVID vaccine between Dec. 14, 2020 and June 7, 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  ).

Reuters explored this lack of causality in other fact check articles visible here , here , here and here .

The confirmed U.S. death toll from COVID-19, Infowars was founded by conspiracy promoter and right-wing media personality Alex Jones.

Media Bias / Fact Check describes InfoWars here as “a crackpot, tin foil hat-level conspiracy website that strongly promotes pseudoscience.” The Columbia Journalism Review describes the website (www.cjr.org/fake-beta) as “fake, conspiracy, unreliable.”

Jones has previously claimed the mainstream media and gun-control proponents conspired to fabricate the tragedy in which 20 school children and six school staff were shot dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012 (here).

Jones was permanently banned by Twitter in 2018, banned by Apple Inc in 2018 and by Facebook 2019 for violating the respective platform’s policies ( here , here and here ).

VERDICT

False. The death toll from the COVID-19 virus passed 600,000 people as of publication. The CDC received 5,208 reports of deaths of people who received the vaccine between Dec. 14, 2020 and June 7, 2021, but these reports can be submitted by anybody and do not prove causality.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .         

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