How Many People Have Died From COVID-19 Vaccine?

March 18, 2024

Whether you've had the vaccine or not, you have likely heard the shocking headlines like, "14 people have died from COVID-19 vaccine." These claims are often based on raw data from a reputable source — in this case, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

VAERS is a public early warning system for vaccine safety, managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. When deaths occur that have been temporally associated with vaccine, they are reviewed and evaluated by a panel of doctors. They weigh the reports as they would a published case report, looking at the death certificates, autopsy results, and other medical records. If the reviewers determine that the death was caused by vaccine, they'll note it in the VAERS database.

The VAERS review process is a rigorous one, and CDC and FDA have both concluded that the vast majority of deaths in a temporal association with vaccination are not causal. This is why it's important to be cautious about the numbers reported in VAERS and other passive surveillance systems, which may lead to inaccurate, alarmist, or misleading conclusions.

Kristen Panthagani is an emergency medicine physician and the creator of the medical blog You Can Know Things. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, the Guardian, and TEDx. She believes in empowering people to make informed health choices, and that vaccines are a safe and effective way to keep us safe from communicable diseases.

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