Fact Check: The CDC Did NOT Report 1,739 Deaths From The COVID-19 Vaccine

Fact Check

  • by: Dana Ford
Fact Check: The CDC Did NOT Report 1,739 Deaths From The COVID-19 Vaccine Not Causal

Did the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report 1,739 deaths from the COVID-19 vaccine? No, that's not true: There's no public evidence the vaccine caused deaths. As its source, the claim cites the government's rough list of unverified reports: Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Anyone can report events to VAERS, and the reports -- on their own -- cannot be used to say whether a vaccine caused a particular adverse event.

The claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by Before It's News on March 21, 2021. The article, which was titled "CDC reports 1739 deaths and 6286 serious injuries from Covid-19 vaccine, 6k + children test subjects, Latest week reports reveals 478 cases of Bell's Palsy," opened:

CDC reports 1739 deaths and 6286 serious injuries from Covid-19 vaccine, 6k + children test subjects, Latest week reports reveals 478 cases of Bell's Palsy 'If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.'...Joseph Goebbels

Users on social media saw this title, description and thumbnail:

CDC reports 1739 deaths and 6286 serious injuries from Covid-19 vaccine, 6k + children test subjects, Latest week reports reveals 478 cases of Bell's Palsy | Obama Birthplace Controversy | Before It's News

CDC reports 1739 deaths and 6286 serious injuries from Covid-19 vaccine, 6k + children test subjects, Latest week reports reveals 478 cases of Bell's Palsy "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."...Joseph Goebbels "More than 6,000 healthy children in...

The CDC follows up on any VAERS report of death to determine whether it was caused by the COVID-19 vaccine or coincidental. According to the CDC website: "A review of available clinical information including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records revealed no evidence that vaccination contributed to patient deaths."

The article, which excerpted parts of another article, published by Children's Health Defense, an anti-vaccine organization, continued:

Every Friday, VAERS makes public all vaccine injury reports received by the system as of Friday of the previous week. The 34,444 adverse events reported between Dec. 14, 2020, and March 11 include 1,739 deaths and 6,286 serious injuries.

Before It's News misinterpreted that section to mean that the CDC reported 1,739 deaths and 6,286 serious injuries from the COVID-19 vaccine. There is no factual basis for that. To understand why, it's necessary to understand exactly what VAERS is and what it isn't.

VAERS is intended to be an early warning system, not a precise instrument of measure. Anyone can report events to VAERS, and the reports -- on their own -- cannot be used to say whether a vaccine caused a particular adverse event. The following explanation is offered on the VAERS website:

When evaluating data from VAERS, it is important to note that for any reported event, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established. Reports of all possible associations between vaccines and adverse events (possible side effects) are filed in VAERS. Therefore, VAERS collects data on any adverse event following vaccination, be it coincidental or truly caused by a vaccine. The report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event.

Specific to the COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC has said that more than 109 million doses of the vaccine were administered in the United States between December 14, 2020, and March, 15, 2021. During that time, VAERS received reports of 1,913 deaths among people who got the shot. The CDC follows up on each report. It said:

A review of available clinical information including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records revealed no evidence that vaccination contributed to patient deaths.

And, also:

To date, VAERS has not detected patterns in cause of death that would indicate a safety problem with COVID-19 vaccines.

You can search VAERS data here. Significantly, in order to access the data, you have to click that you agree to a disclaimer, which reads, in part:

While very important in monitoring vaccine safety, VAERS reports alone cannot be used to determine if a vaccine caused or contributed to an adverse event or illness. The reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable. Most reports to VAERS are voluntary, which means they are subject to biases. This creates specific limitations on how the data can be used scientifically.

As Lead Stories has previously reported, it is statistically inevitable that some people will get sick and die after getting the shot, for reasons that are unrelated to their body's response to the vaccine.

We've collected our prior reporting on claims about VAERS here.

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes beforeitsnews.com as:

A website that publishes content submitted by users and regularly publishes false information and conspiracy theories, including about COVID-19 and the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:

Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Dana Ford

Dana Ford is an Atlanta-based reporter and editor. She previously worked as a senior editor at Atlanta Magazine Custom Media and as a writer/ editor for CNN Digital. Ford has more than a decade of news experience, including several years spent working in Latin America.

Read more about or contact Dana Ford

About us

International Fact-Checking Organization

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Follow us on social media

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion