Fact Check

No, There Weren't More COVID-19 Vaccine Deaths Than COVID-19 Deaths

A vaccine adverse reaction tracking tool was misleadingly interpreted by junk news sites.

Published Jul 22, 2021

BOWIE, MARYLAND - MARCH 25: Nurses draw vaccine doses from a vial as Maryland residents receive their second dose of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine at the Cameron Grove Community Center on March 25, 2021 in Bowie, Maryland. The vaccinations were provided by Prince George's County's Mobile Units as vaccinations in Maryland are now over the 20 percent threshold. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) (Win McNamee / Getty Images)
Image Via Win McNamee / Getty Images
There have been more deaths from COVID-19 vaccines than deaths from the actual virus.

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On July 17, 2021, the junk news site Gateway Pundit published a misleading story with a headline falsely reporting there have been more deaths from the vaccines for COVID-19 than the virus itself.

The headline read, "For Second Week in a Row: More COVID-19 Vaccination Deaths than COVID-19 Deaths in the US According to CDC and VAERS Websites."

VAERS stands for Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, a website monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The figures on the site reflect the fact that it's a public reporting tool, not a vaccine death toll.

"VAERS accepts reports of any adverse event following any vaccination," according to the CDC. "Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem."

The CDC also said the COVID-19 vaccines are safe, and that reports of deaths from the vaccines are rare:

More than 339 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through July 19, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 6,207 reports of death (0.0018%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. 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. A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records, has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines. 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.

Significant adverse reactions from COVID-19 vaccines are rare, but when they do happen, they are usually the result of an allergic reaction

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more

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