An article circulating on social media says a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that “3,150 persons were paralyzed” after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The article is missing context.
The figure corresponds to the number of “health impact events” registered through V-safe ( here ), a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination ( here ). These events were reported by people whose symptoms caused one or more of the following: “unable to perform normal daily activities, unable to work, or/and required care from doctor or health care professional”. According to a CDC spokeswoman, registrants on V-safe can choose one or more “events” within this category, therefore the figure “does not necessarily represent 3,150 people”.
The article entitled “CDC Report – 3,150 People Paralyzed After COVID-19 Vaccine “Unable to Perform Normal Daily Activities” that is being screenshot and circulated on Facebook was published on Dec. 22 on the website Great Game India here (archived version here: archive.vn/GRm9f ).
The article starts: “According to a new CDC report, almost 3,150 people who were administered the COVID-19 vaccine were paralyzed and were ‘unable to perform normal daily activities, unable to work and required care from doctor or health care professional’.”
Martha Sharan, a spokeswoman for the CDC, told Reuters via email that this 3,150 figure from mid-December, represented the number of “health impact events” reported out of the 112,807 people that had registered with V-safe and received a first dosage of the vaccine.
She added that a person using V-safe can “check all the boxes” (unable to perform normal daily activities, unable to work, or/and required care from doctor or health care professional), therefore “3,150 reports does not necessarily represent 3,150 people”.
For example, a person that required “care from doctor or health care professional” would likely also been “unable to work” or “perform normal daily activities”.
The spokeswoman did not specify the symptoms reported by the V-safe registrants, nor did she provide a detailed breakdown of the 3,150 health impact events.
“We anticipate anyone getting vaccinated may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days,” she said.
According to the CDC here , common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccination include pain and swelling on the injection site, as well as fever, chills, tiredness and headaches.
Though it might be a figure of speech and a genuine misinterpretation of the CDC health events, the article’s headline saying 3,150 people were “paralyzed” after receiving the vaccine is missing context.
Missing context. A Dec. 2020 CDC report registered “3,150 health impact events” of people reporting they were “unable to perform normal daily activities, unable to work, or / and required care from doctor or health care professional” after receiving COVID-19 vaccines. According to a CDC spokesperson, the “3,150 figure does not necessarily represent 3,150 people”, as registrants can select one or more events.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .
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