Did the CDC alter death certificates to remove the COVID-19 vaccine as a cause of death?!
Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!
Claim : CDC Altered Death Certificates To Remove Vaccine Deaths!
People are sharing a Brownstone Institute article, which claims to show that the CDC altered death certificates in Minnesota to remove the COVID-19 vaccine as a cause of death!
Here is an excerpt from the very long article. Feel free to skip to the next part for the facts!
CDC Altered Minnesota Death Certificates that List a Covid Vaccine as a Cause of Death
Someone (who needs to remain anonymous) was able to obtain the death certificates from Minnesota for all deaths that occurred from 2015 to the present, which presented the opportunity to see if the CDC is being entirely honest about the US death data. Unsurprisingly, the CDC is not.
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Truth : CDC Did Not Alter Death Certificates To Remove Vaccine Deaths!
This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS created by anti-vaccination activists, and here are the reasons why…
Fact #1 : NCHS Is Responsible For ICD
The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) is a system that was developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with other health organisations. The current version – ICD-10, has been in use since January 1, 1999.
In the United States, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) is the federal agency responsible for the proper use of ICD, and responsible for developing a Clinical Modification (ICD-CM) – to track morbidity and include new causes of morbidity like COVID-19.
Fact #2 : Doctors / Coroners Do Not Assign ICD Codes
The ICD-10 codes on death certificates are not assigned by the doctor attending to the death, or the coroner who performed the autopsy. In most states, that the job is performed by a state agency – usually its department of health.
In this 2009 article, Chris Dimick explains how ICD coding is done for death certificates in the United States (with my emphasis in bold):
For every death that occurs in the US, a physician, coroner, or medical examiner completes a death certificate. The certificate lists details about the cause of death as well as any contributing conditions or injuries.
All death certificates are sent to a state agency, which varies by state but can include the department of health.
Fact #3 : NCHS Performs ICD Coding For Some States
Not all states do their own ICD coding. For those states, it is the NCHS that does the coding for their death certificates.
However, not all states do their own coding. Some states send their non-automated coding to NCHS, where government mortality coders finish the job.
Other states do not handle any of the process and pass along compiled death certificates for NCHS do both data entry and coding.
It is possible that Minnesota may be one of those states that rely on the NCHS to do their ICD coding, but I cannot yet confirm this.
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Fact #4 : ICD Codes Are Mostly Assigned By Software
Regardless of whether a state health agency or the NCHS handles the ICD coding of death certificates, the vast majority of these ICD codes are assigned automatically by software. Only complicated cases are manually coded.
Each state agency compiles the death certificates and uses a suite of automated coding software to translate the death certificate information into ICD-10 codes.
Since not all certificates can be coded automatically, some states employ mortality coders to handle complicated cases. Typically only one or two mortality coders work in the state offices, Anderson says.
However, it is not possible to know from the death certificate itself whether the ICD code was automatically assigned by software, or manually assigned by a human mortality coder.
Unless those who claim malicious alteration of the ICD code in any death certificate can offer actual evidence to back up that claim, he/she is likely lying to you.
Fact #5 : No Evidence Of Altered Death Certificates
There is no evidence that anyone actually altered those Minnesota death certificates. Neither the CDC / NCHS, nor the state health agencies.
Assigning an ICD-10 code that differs from the cause of death is not an alteration, which implies there was a different ICD-10 code earlier, and someone else changed it.
There is no evidence of any death certificates being altered, and the Brownstone Institute offered no evidence of that either.
And regardless what ICD-10 codes are assigned, mortality coders cannot change the causes of death listed on those death certificates.
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Fact #6 : They Were Senior Citizens Who Died From Other Causes
The Brownstone Institute identified 7 death certificates from Minnesota which they claim list “covid vaccine as a cause of death“, but the CDC “omitted the corresponding ICD 10 code“.
But their death certificates listed other causes of death under Part 1 (Immediate Cause and Underlying Cause). None of them actually mentioned COVID-19 vaccine as an “Immediate Cause” or “Underlying Cause” of death.
Death #1 : 78 years old, sudden cardiac death with congestive heart failure, and coronary artery disease
Death #2 : 77 years old, anoxic encephalopathy (brain injury from a lack of blood flow), with acute respiratory failure and cardiogenic shock after cardiac arrest
Death #3 : 92 years old, myocardial infarction (heart attack) with hypertension
Death #4 : 82 years old, natural causes with mitral stenosis and hypertension
Death #5 : 65 years old, myocardial infarction (presumed) with coronary artery disease, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension
Death #6 : 82 years old, hypoxic respiratory failure and septic shock with pneumonia, and acute myocardial infarction
Death #7 : 86 years old, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) due to COVID-19 pneumonia, with hypertension, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and severe viral sepsis
The Brownstone Institute appeared to highlight them because COVID-19 vaccination was mentioned in Part II.
However, health issues mentioned in Part II refer to “other significant conditions contributing to death but not resulting in the underlying cause given in Part I“.
In other words – anything mentioned in Part II of the death certificate are NOT the direct cause of death.
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Fact #7 : ICD Code May Not Match Official Cause Of Death
It is also important to point out that mortality coders have to follow a specific and complicated set of rules to assign the correct ICD-10 code for each deceased person.
The correct ICD-10 code may not necessarily be the same as the underlying cause of death identified by the coroner or doctor.
In part, the coding is meant to capture an underlying cause of death -the main disease, accident, or injury that caused the death. A death certificate usually lists more medical information than is directly reflected in the underlying cause of death.
These conditions are coded as multiple causes of death, which provide specifics of what contributed to a person’s death. While a physician may indicate an underlying cause of death on a death certificate, that categorization is not alw used by the coder, Anderson says.
ICD-10 provides mortality coders with a complicated set of rules that must be followed to select an underlying cause of death.
We don’t necessarily take what the certifier or physician writes as the underlying cause of death, because what they may write down may not necessarily be the best underlying cause, Anderson says. Even if they do it exactly correctly, since we are looking for something that is most useful from a public health standpoint, we may reselect another cause on the certificate.
Again – it is important to point out that regardless of what ICD codes are used, the causes of death on each death certificate do NOT change.
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
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