Fact Check: NO 'Secret CDC Report' Shows Hundreds Of Thousands Of Children 'Died Suddenly' Following Rollout Of COVID-19 Vaccines

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fact Check: NO 'Secret CDC Report' Shows Hundreds Of Thousands Of Children 'Died Suddenly' Following Rollout Of COVID-19 Vaccines No CDC Report

Does a "secret CDC report" show hundreds of thousands of children "died suddenly" in the United States following the COVID-19 vaccine rollout? No, that's not true: The author or authors of the article making the claims did not find any such report; instead, they created their own document using publicly available Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data they found elsewhere and labeled it a "secret CDC report."

Additionally, the available data do not support the assertion that there have been widespread sudden deaths among children due to COVID-19 vaccination.

The claims appeared in an article (archived here) published by GeneralMCNews on August 10, 2023, titled "Secret CDC Report confirms Hundreds of Thousands of Children 'Died Suddenly' in the USA following roll-out of COVID-19 Vaccines." The article opened:

Time and time again throughout 2021, Dr. Anthony Fauci, stood at the podium, the bright lights of the cameras blinding him as he faced the nation. With a steady hand, he held up a vial of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, promising it would be the key to protecting America and its children from the "deadly" Covid-19 disease supposedly ravaging the country.

This is what the post looked like on GeneralMCNews at the time of writing:

GeneralMCNews Fauci.png

(Source: GeneralMCNews screenshot taken on Thu Aug 17 16:41:16 2023 UTC)

The data

GeneralMCNews portrays the information in its article as coming from a "secret CDC report," but that's not the case. All of the data is publicly available.

The figures were pulled from the website of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) -- a group of 38 nations, including the United States -- whose "goal is to shape policies that foster prosperity, equality, opportunity and well-being for all."

While GeneralMCNews found the data on the OECD website, it originally was posted to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. In an August 17, 2023, email to Lead Stories, an OECD spokesperson confirmed this, saying the figures GeneralMCNews used "are extracted from those published by the CDC."

'Died suddenly'

The headline for the GeneralMCNews article also claims the data show "hundreds of thousands of children 'died suddenly'" following the COVID vaccine rollout. That's also not true, as it lumps together deaths from chronic illness as well as sudden deaths. The OECD spokesperson says the numbers don't support the assertion made in GeneralMCNews' headline (emphasis OECD's):

The OECD figures show the number of additional deaths recorded - from ALL causes - both sudden and otherwise - in each week compared to the average of the deaths observed in the same week in the years 2015-19.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC also dismissed the notion that its figures show some hidden horror about the deaths of so many children. In an August 18, 2023, email to Lead Stories, the public health agency said:

Despite continued misinformation on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, the findings from one of the largest studies ever conducted on the safety of a vaccine have been released and show once again that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. The results of the CDC study clearly illustrate that COVID-19 vaccines are not contributing to non-COVID deaths - there is no increased risk of death from non-COVID causes after COVID vaccination. In fact, rates of death among those who received the vaccines were lower than those who did not receive them.

This study's findings should reassure every American that these vaccines are safe. The findings also counter unsubstantiated claims that COVID-19 vaccines have caused widespread deaths.

"...with a steady hand he held up a vial of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine."

Although it's a small detail, GeneralMCNews apparently fabricated the mental picture of Fauci using a vial of Pfizer vaccine as a prop. Using "Fauci" in combinations with "vaccine" and "vial" and "Pfizer" Lead Stories conducted image and article searches on Google, which indexes thousands of news sites. Though those searches turned up hundreds of photos of Fauci at news conferences, White House news conferences, television appearances, congressional hearings and other venues, Lead Stories found no picture to support the statement that Fauci with a steady hand held up a vial of vaccine. Nor did the search turn up a verbal description of him doing so. That description is not supported by publicly available photos of Fauci, who was photographed frequently during the pandemic.

Read more

Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims related to vaccines can be found here.

Other Lead Stories fact checks on stories including the term "died suddenly," which is popular in anti-vaccine and vaccine-hesitant circles, can be found here.


  • 2023-08-18T17:17:58Z 2023-08-18T17:17:58Z
    Adds response and context from the CDC.

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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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