Posts sharing incident numbers reported to the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) are missing context.
Examples can be seen here and here . Posts include the text: “5,888 deaths”, “19,597 hospitalizations”, “43,891 urgent care”, “58,800 office visits”, “1,459 anaphylaxis”, “1,737 Bell’s palsy”, “2,190 heart attacks” and “652 miscarriages”.
In a June 11 page update, the CDC said it received 5,208 reports of deaths of people who received the vaccine between Dec. 14, 2020 and June 7, 2021 (here). It also says that anaphylaxis, which can occur after any vaccination, happened in approximately 2 to 5 people per million.
The full VAERS data set is available vaers.hhs.gov/data.html . The reports, however, are not evidence of causality.
Anyone can report events to VAERS (vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html ) and a disclaimer on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 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 does not include information from investigations into reported cases. The disclaimer also says “the inclusion of events in VAERS data does not imply causality” (here ).
The CDC here says COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, “under the most intense safety monitoring in United States history,” and recommends receiving the vaccine as soon as possible. It also explains that VAERS accepts reports of any adverse event regardless of proof that it was caused by the vaccine. Reports can be submitted by an individual.
Missing context. VAERS collects reports of adverse effects in patients following vaccination but anyone can input to the system, and the entries do not prove causality.
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.