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VERIFY: CDC & FDA data doesn't support false claims thousands have died from COVID-19 vaccines

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System is managed by the CDC and the FDA, which are credible sources. But, the agencies said these claims are misconstrued data.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Deciding on whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine can be hard for many people, which is why it is important for you to know the facts to make an informed decision.

Some articles and social media posts cite data from the “Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System” with data supporting the claim that thousands of people have died as a result of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

This claim is FALSE.


  • UF Health
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Food and Drug Administration

VAERS is co-managed by the CDC and the FDA, which are credible sources. But, the agencies said these claims are misconstruing data.

“More than 334 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through July 12, 2021,” the CDC said in a statement.  “During this time, VAERS received 6,079 reports of death (0.0018%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine.”

That number is not a death toll.

The CDC goes on to say: “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. Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem.”

Anyone is able to make a submission to the database. Cases are not fact-checked, making them scientifically unreliable.  

Examples in the database include: 

"The patient had an apparent cardiac arrest on 12/23/20 and was admitted to the ICU. He was taken off of life support on 12/30/20.  He had known cardiac disease."

"There were no adverse reactions. Resident Died, she had a history of issues with her health prior to the vaccine."

Stephanie Shore with UF Health said she and her colleagues report data to VAERS, even if they are unsure an adverse event is related to the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Because of the EUA, healthcare professionals are reporting more than normal,” Shore said.

The CDC said the system is not designed to determine if a vaccine caused an adverse event.

“When a serious adverse event is reported, like death, CDC requests and reviews all available medical records, death certificates which specify the cause of death, and autopsy reports. CDC reviews these records and verifies the certified cause of death. Then does further analysis to see if there’s anything unusual or unexpected happening in other monitoring systems like the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD).”

The CDC said reports of adverse events to the system following vaccination do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem.

“A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsies, and medical records, has not established a causal link to covid-19 vaccines,” the CDC said. “However, recent reports indicate a plausible causal relationship between the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and TTS, a rare and serious adverse event—blood clots with low platelets—which has caused deaths.”

The CDC said statements that imply that deaths following vaccination equate to deaths caused by vaccination are, “scientifically inaccurate, misleading, and irresponsible.”


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