A registered nurse administers a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in Gardena, California on April 17, 2021 (AFP / Patrick T. Fallon)

Covid-19 shots not found to have caused deaths that followed vaccinations

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Social media posts claim there have been 3,005 “Covid vaccine deaths” since December 1, 2020. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it has received that many reports of deaths among people who took a Covid-19 vaccine, but found no evidence of the immunizations contributing to the fatalities.

“December 1, 2020 - April 13, 2021 4+ months TOTAL COVID VACCINE DEATHS = 3,005,” says an April 18, 2021 Instagram post that claims the figure exceeds “ALL VACCINE DEATHS” from the preceding 13-plus years.

A screenshot of an Instagram post taken on April 20, 2021

Other examples of the claim appear on Facebook here and here and on Instagram here.

The claim is part of a flood of inaccurate information about vaccines that is spreading online as nations seek to immunize people against Covid-19.

The disease -- which has killed more than three million people worldwide -- sparked a major vaccination campaign in the United States, with more than 211 million Covid-19 shots administered so far.

A CDC webpage says that, from December 14, 2020 through April 12, 2021, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) “received 3,005 reports of death... among people who received a Covid-19 vaccine.”

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

A description of VAERS says it “contains information on unverified reports of adverse events (illnesses, health problems and/or symptoms) following immunization with US-licensed vaccines,” and accepts reports from health care providers, vaccine manufacturers, and the general public.

The CDC, which runs the VAERS program with the Food and Drug Administration, previously told AFP that the system “accepts all reports of adverse events after vaccination, without regard to whether or not the vaccine caused the event.”

“Because of this and other limitations, data in VAERS generally can’t be used to determine if a vaccine caused the adverse event (including deaths),” it said.

AFP Fact Check has debunked other inaccurate claims related to VAERS here.