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According to the CDC, most people dying from COVID-19 are unvaccinated.
There is no evidence of funeral directors saying only vaccinated people are dying
A recent Instagram post claims, without evidence, that funeral directors have spoken out and said that the only people they see dying are those who got the COVID-19 vaccine.
"Funeral Homes are saying the only ones dying are those taking the vaccine," reads the image shared by an account that embraces conspiracy theories. "They did not see a rise in deaths or funerals until January through March of this year when the shot was rolled out."
The Instagram post claims to be informed by 10 funeral directors, who also said "hospitals are virtually empty" and "no one is dying of covid." The post includes the text of an article published by Beforeitsnews.com, a website where anyone can post an article.
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, which owns Instagram.)
In an email to PolitiFact, a spokesperson from the National Funeral Directors Association said she was unaware of any funeral directors making this claim.
The Instagram post is misleading in many ways. People die for many reasons, even if they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. But it’s rare for people who have been vaccinated to die of COVID-19.
"Considering that more than 85% of the population aged 65+ have received at least one dose of the vaccine, it is no surprise that most of the people that funeral directors are seeing have been vaccinated," said CDC spokesperson Jeff Lancashire in an email to PolitiFact. "The vaccine only protects against COVID-19 and does not prevent people from dying of other causes."
CDC data shows that COVID-19 deaths have fallen substantially since large-scale vaccination efforts began at the start of this year.
Infection after vaccination, called breakthrough infection, does occur. But these cases are infrequent, and rarely result in death.
The Associated Press reported that unvaccinated people account for nearly all U.S. COVID-19 deaths. Using data it obtained from the CDC, the AP found that people who were fully vaccinated accounted for 150 out of 18,000 COVID-19 deaths in May, or 0.8%. (A few states aren’t gathering or reporting breakthrough infection data to the CDC.)
Publicly available CDC data, which runs through April 30, shows that out of the 101 million people fully vaccinated, roughly 10,262 became infected, putting the breakthrough infection rate at 0.01%; 160 of the patients died, accounting for about 2% of the breakthrough cases, or 0.00016% of the vaccinated population.
So the post’s claim that COVID-19 deaths are occurring largely among vaccinated people is false.
The claim that deaths rose between January and March because of vaccination efforts is also untrue. According to the CDC, deaths from COVID-19 peaked at 25,737 during the week of Jan. 9, and they have been decreasing ever since.
We’ve fact-checked several claims about the vaccines themselves causing deaths and found them to be unsupported. These claims typically cite numbers from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS, a federal database that collects reports of adverse events, including deaths, that occur after vaccination. But the government agencies that run the database caution that the reports are unverified and can't be used on their own to determine whether a vaccine caused an adverse event.
Through June 21, with more than 318 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered, VAERS had received 5,479 reports of deaths, the CDC said.
"A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records, has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines," the CDC said. "However, recent reports indicate a plausible causal relationship between the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and TTS, a rare and serious adverse event — blood clots with low platelets — which has caused deaths."
As of June 21, the CDC said, 12 million doses of the single-shot J&J vaccine had been administered, and the CDC and FDA had identified 36 confirmed reports of people who developed TTS after receiving the shot.
COVID-19 has killed more than 601,000 people in the U.S., according to the CDC.
Survey results show that for the most part, funeral directors support vaccination.
Jessica Koth, spokesperson for the National Funeral Directors Association, shared a portion of a member survey conducted by the association that showed 83% of almost 500 funeral directors were willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
An Instagram post claimed that funeral directors have said "the only ones dying are from the vaccine."
An official from the National Funeral Directors Association had not heard anyone make this claim. The claim emerged from a website where anyone can post articles. CDC data shows that deaths from COVID-19 are occurring predominantly among unvaccinated people, and have fallen dramatically since mass vaccination efforts began earlier this year.
We rate this claim False.
Associated Press, "Nearly all COVID deaths in US are now among unvaccinated," June 24, 2021
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Infections Reported to CDC — United States, January 1–April 30, 2021, accessed June 24, 2021
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Selected Adverse Events Reported after COVID-19 Vaccination, accessed June 24, 2021
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC COVID Data Tracker, accessed June 24, 2021
Washington Post, "Coronavirus infections dropping where people are vaccinated, rising where they are not, Post analysis finds," June 14, 2021
New York Times, "The 2020 Death Toll Is Higher Than Normal, and It's Not All Covid-19," Dec. 13, 2020
Los Angeles Times, "Scientists scramble to see why, in rare cases, even the vaccinated can get COVID-19," May 3, 2021
Email interview with Jessica Koth, Director of Public Relations for the National Funeral Directors Association, June 23, 2021
Email interview with Jeff Lancashire, spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 25, 2021
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC Recommends Use of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Resume, June 28, 2021
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Safety Monitoring of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 Vaccine, June 28, 2021
PolitiFact, Federal VAERS database is a critical tool for researchers, but a breeding ground for misinformation, May 3, 2021
PolitiFact, COVID-19 vaccines have not led to 6,000% increase in patient deaths, as post suggests, April 6, 2021
PolitiFact, No proof for speculation that COVID-19 vaccine deaths will rival COVID-19 deaths, June 11, 2021
PolitiFact, Tucker Carlson's misleading claim about deaths after COVID-19 vaccine, May 6, 2021
PolitiFact, Deaths after vaccination don't prove that COVID-19 vaccine is lethal, Feb. 16, 2021
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