Fact Check: Claim Of More Than 4,000 Fetal Or New-Born Deaths Due To COVID Shots NOT Found In US VAERS Data

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Claim Of More Than 4,000 Fetal Or New-Born Deaths Due To COVID Shots NOT Found In US VAERS Data Not Confirmed

Do the reported adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines in the United States include more than 4,000 fetal or newborn deaths? No, that's not true: A Lead Stories analysis of the numbers found in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), based on data through April 8, 2022, wasn't able to duplicate the claimed results plus no conclusions can be reached from VAERS reports until they are verified.

The claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by The Exposé on April 11, 2022, under the title "Over 4000 Women have now lost their baby due to the Covid Vaccine in the USA; this is a 16,633% increase on the number of Fetus deaths caused by the Flu Jabs since 1990." It opened:

The number of women who have lost their unborn or new-born child in the USA following Covid-19 vaccination has now surpassed 4,000 just sixteen months after the first Covid jab was given emergency use authorisation. But by comparison just 565 women have lost their unborn or new-born child following Flu vaccination since the year 1990, a period of thirty years.

Therefore, the number of women who have lost their baby due to the Covid jab is currently 16,633% higher than the number of women who have lost their baby due to the Flu jab. However, in reality that number is much worse because many more flu jabs have been administered during pregnancy over a period of 30 years.

This is what the article looked like on The Exposé website on April 15, 2022:


(Source: The Exposé screenshot taken on Fri Apr 15 17:49:31 2022 UTC)

These fetal death numbers are credited to the VAERS database, run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Lead Stories couldn't match the figures cited by The Exposé. We came up with much different numbers on April 15, 2022, for VAERS data available through April 8, 2022.

The VAERS website includes this stipulation when searching for data results:

VAERS data ... are updated every Friday. Hence, results for the same query can change from week to week.

Lead Stories came up with 1,748 fetal deaths in a VAERS search that correlated COVID-19 vaccine reports with the same 25 "adverse events" that The Exposé included in the sourcing of information for its story:

VAERS serach criteria.png

(Source: VAERS screenshot taken on Fri Apr 15 18:18:08 2022 UTC)

Using the same criteria, but searching the National Vaccine Information Center, The Exposé article came back with 4,309 fetal deaths associated with COVID vaccines:

Med alerts.png

(Source: National Vaccine Information Center screenshot taken on Fri Apr 15 18:23:42 2022 UTC)

The nonprofit National Vaccine Information Center bills itself as "an independent clearinghouse for information on diseases and vaccine science, policy, law and the ethical principle of informed consent." Founded under the name Dissatisfied Parents Together (DPT) in 1982, it has been criticized as a leading source of misinformation about vaccines. The National Vaccine Information Center shares VAERS data, but without the standard warnings of its limitations.

Lead Stories has debunked several claims about vaccine deaths that misuse VAERS.

Anyone with internet access can add a report to the VAERS list of reports. The public access link to it expressly warns against unwarranted conclusions based on VAERS material because the list only provides a tally of unverified notes about any health event people experience after they are vaccinated.

The list itself cannot be used to prove or quantify, since all it shows is a chronological correlation, not the causal link that would be more difficult to establish. It's the equivalent of a police precinct's running "blotter" reports that may serve as a starting point for police work, not an endpoint.

VAERS website warnings include:

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.

The CDC says COVID vaccines are safe for everyone age 5 and above, including those planning families. Information from the CDC says in effect:

  • Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people.
  • Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help protect you from severe illness from COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.
  • Pregnant people may receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot.

Children 5 to 17 years old can receive the Pfizer vaccine, as well as adults. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots are approved for those 18 and older. Details on the vaccines can be found here.

The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccines while pregnant or breastfeeding:

A new CDC analysis of current data from the v-safe pregnancy registry assessed vaccination early in pregnancy and did not find an increased risk of miscarriage among nearly 2,500 pregnant women who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Miscarriage typically occurs in about 11-16% of pregnancies, and this study found miscarriage rates after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine were around 13%, similar to the expected rate of miscarriage in the general population.

COVID vaccines versus flu vaccines

The Exposé article also claimed the number of VAERS accounts of women who have lost their babies to the COVID vaccine was 16,633% higher than the number of women who have lost their babies due to the flu shot since 1990. Since no cause-and-effect has been established, the number of deaths shouldn't be taken as fact for calculations. But, as mentioned earlier, a VAERS search by Lead Stories came up with 1,748 fetal deaths associated with COVID vaccines. The same search showed 411 that correspond to influenza vaccines. The flu adverse events are highlighted below in orange and yellow.

FLU highlighted.png

(Source: VAERS screenshot taken on Fri Apr 15 18:52:44 2022 UTC)

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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.

  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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