Fact Check: CDC Did NOT Say In May 2024 That COVID Vaccines Killed 500,000 Children, Young Adults

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: CDC Did NOT Say In May 2024 That COVID Vaccines Killed 500,000 Children, Young Adults Not From Shots

Did the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say in May 2024 that COVID mRNA vaccines killed 500,000 children and young adults? No, that's not true: The public health agency said it has not reported any such figures. Official data and scientific consensus indicate that COVID shots are safe and effective, with adverse effects being rare and not causing mass fatalities.

The claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by Slay News on May 18, 2024, titled "CDC Admits Covid Shots Killed 500,000 Children & Young Adults." The article opened:

A secret report has emerged from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that exposes the shocking impact of Covid mRNA injections on American children and young adults.

The bombshell report shows that a staggering half a million American children and young adults have been killed by Covid shots.

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


(Source: X screenshot taken on Tue May 21 12:42:08 2024 UTC)

Response to claim: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In a May 22, 2024, email to Lead Stories, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) addressed the claim in the Slay News article that said, "CDC Admits Covid Shots Killed 500,000 Children & Young Adults," which stated its information came from a "secret report." A CDC spokesperson said (emphasis is theirs):

There is no report or data to indicate that COVID-19 vaccines caused or contributed to deaths for persons of any age outside of the nine confirmed thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) deaths following the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

TTS is a rare yet severe side effect that leads to the formation of blood clots in major blood vessels and a decrease in platelets, the blood cells responsible for clotting. The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is no longer available in the United States.

Additionally, the Slay News article cited information from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to support its claim that COVID shots killed half a million people. The CDC said the information is misrepresented:

The OECD Statistics report states that it includes data on deaths due to COVID-19 infection, not due to COVID-19 vaccination.

The CDC recommends the COVID-19 vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. The public health agency's spokesperson said (emphasis is theirs):

The currently approved COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. are safe. More than 676 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered under the most comprehensive and intensive vaccine safety monitoring effort in U.S. history. ...

An important study looked at the possible association between COVID-19 vaccination and death and found no increased risk. This study of 6.4 million COVID-19 vaccinees and 4.6 million unvaccinated persons with similar characteristics in nine healthcare organizations found that there is no increased risk of death among COVID-19 vaccine recipients and they are less likely to die from COVID-19 disease.

Additional information is available on the CDC website on the "Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines" page.

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

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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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