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A teenager in Washington receives the COVID-19 vaccine. (AP) A teenager in Washington receives the COVID-19 vaccine. (AP)

A teenager in Washington receives the COVID-19 vaccine. (AP)

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher June 11, 2021

No proof for speculation that COVID-19 vaccine deaths will rival COVID-19 deaths

If Your Time is short

  • There is no report saying this. A guest on an Alex Jones show speculated, based on data she said is forthcoming from a man who runs a medical billing company, that “we probably are going to see deaths over 500,000” from COVID-19 vaccines.

  • The CDC says it has not established a causal link between the COVID-19 vaccines and the deaths reported in its public data collection system.

  • The agency said there is a plausible causal link between the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and a rare type of blood clot that has caused at least three deaths.

An Instagram post with video from a show produced by Alex Jones, who runs a website known to spread fake news and conspiracy theories, includes this headline:

"Report: Vaccine related deaths may rival recorded COVID-19 deaths."

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

We found no credible report that says this. The headline alludes only to a claim made by a guest on a Jones show who speculated that — based on what she said is data forthcoming from a man who owns a medical billing company — "we probably are going to see deaths over 500,000" from COVID-19 vaccines.

That man says he analyzes numbers from a government database that collects and publishes unverified reports of adverse events that happen after vaccination, whether or not they’re known to be caused by the vaccine.

Health officials are investigating whether one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines is linked to a rare type of blood clot that can lead to death. But there is no conclusive evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines caused any of the deaths reported to that database, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Meanwhile, more than 596,000 COVID-19 deaths have been recorded in the U.S.

The headline in the Instagram post is the same text that appears in a June 4 tweet from Jones’ FreeWorldNews.TV account. The tweet includes video from part of a Jones show with a guest identified as Dr. Jane Ruby. Ruby, who is not a medical doctor, describes herself as a health economist and New Right political pundit with a doctorate in psychology. 

Saying she has "breaking news," Ruby claimed that according to projections by Albert Benavides, "we are facing well over 1 million side effects" from the COVID-19 vaccines, "and I’m waiting for him to calculate the numbers of deaths, because it’s going to be far more than the 5,000. We probably are going to see deaths over 500,000," which would be "more deaths from this poison than we ever did from the actual COVID flu."

Benavides has described himself as a California certified medical coder who has company that does medical billing services. He says he uses Excel spreadsheets to analyze data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS, a public data collection tool run by the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration.

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VAERS is designed so that any person can report an adverse event, and anyone can scour the reports. 

But VAERS accepts reports without verifying whether a vaccine actually caused that incident. That makes VAERS a dangerous breeding ground for misinformation that spreads quickly on social media and elsewhere. For more than 30 years, VAERS data has been misused to justify broad conclusions that vaccines are harmful. 

Here’s what the CDC says about VAERS and the roughly 5,000 deaths reported as adverse events associated with COVID-19 vaccines:

"More than 302 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from Dec. 14, 2020, through June 7, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 5,208 reports of death (0.0017%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause. A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records, has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines. 

"However, recent reports indicate a plausible causal relationship between the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and a rare and serious adverse event — blood clots with low platelets — which has caused deaths."

The CDC said May 12 that its investigation had identified 28 confirmed cases of these blood clots among the 8.7 million people who received the J&J vaccine, and three of those people died.

Our ruling

A widely shared Instagram post claimed: "Report: Vaccine related deaths may rival recorded COVID-19 deaths."

There is no credible report saying this. The claim came from a guest on a show produced by Alex Jones, who runs a website known to traffic in fake news and conspiracy theories.

The guest said she based her statement on data that soon would be produced by a California man who runs a medical billing company.

The CDC says its review of data has not established a causal link between the COVID-19 vaccines and reported deaths.

COVID-19 has killed nearly 600,000 people in the U.S.

We rate the post False.

 

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No proof for speculation that COVID-19 vaccine deaths will rival COVID-19 deaths

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