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VERIFY: No, the fully vaccinated did not make up more than 40% of Maryland COVID-19 deaths

Dr. Robert Redfield, former CDC Director and current health advisor to Maryland Gov. Hogan, made the claim about the 'last six to eight weeks,' on network television

WASHINGTON — Several viewers emailed the VERIFY team about a claim made by the former CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield.

During a FOX News interview, where Dr. Redfield was invited to discuss the passing of Colin Powell, he claimed that more than one out of every three COVID patients dying in Maryland were fully vaccinated.

“I happen to be the senior adviser to Governor Hogan in the state of Maryland," he said during an interview that aired on October 18. "In the last six to eight weeks, more than 40% of the people that died in Maryland were fully vaccinated.”

It's a statistic that's turned some heads.

"Is there any data from Maryland that actually supports this?" a viewer emailing the VERIFY team asked.

Another viewer sent us this tweet asking and wrote, "verify this, please."


During the eight weeks prior to that interview were more than 40% of all COVID deaths in Maryland among the fully vaccinated?


  •  Maryland Department of Health spokesperson


No, approximately 32% were.


Since the interview aired on October 18, our Verify researchers backtracked eight weeks and asked Maryland’s Department of Health to pull the stats.

They told us that fully vaccinated people represented 32% of all COVID deaths in those eight weeks.

"From Aug 23 - Oct 18, 32% of the 405 deaths among confirmed COVID cases were in fully vaccinated individuals," a Maryland Health Department spokesperson said. 

The health department also expects that percentage to grow, as more Marylanders get the vaccine.

"As the number of our residents who are vaccinated continues to increase, we expect to see an increase in the proportion of COVID-related deaths occurring in vaccinated individuals," a Maryland Health Department spokesperson said. "Many of these deaths are linked to comorbidities that make patients more vulnerable. This further underscores our mission to maintain immunity by urging eligible Marylanders to get their booster shots."

RELATED: Yes, certain booster shots are producing more antibodies than others, data shows

Our Verify researchers reached out to Dr. Redfield via Governor Hogan's office, to ask why he didn’t say 32%. A spokesperson explained, numbers aside, Dr. Redfield’s message was meant to encourage eligible Marylanders to get a booster shot.

So we can Verify, the claim that "more than 40%" of COVID deaths in the state were among the fully vaccinated in the eight weeks prior to that interview, is false.

But we should point out, those eight or so percentage points do not represent 100s of people; rather, his calculation was actually off by about a few dozen people.

As for the latest data, the state's COVID website says that fully vaccinated individuals represented 13.18% of all COVID deaths, 314 deaths total, between Jan. 26 and Oct. 31.

RELATED: VERIFY: Can you get a COVID booster and a flu shot at the same time?

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