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VAERS, the vaccine injury database, is considered unreliable, subject to biases

VAERS, the vaccine injury database, is considered unreliable, subject to biases

Oaths of doubt about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines arent based on a publicly accessible database that gathers reports of vaccine side effects.

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) was established in 1990 and collects reports of possible side effects from licensed vaccines. Since the approval of COVID-19 vaccines, interest in the database, which is publicly accessible online, has risen, but the data can be misleading if used to establish a direct connection to the reported deaths and injuries.

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Dr. Russell Bush, the Michigan Institute of Forensic Science andamp; Medicine's director and chief medical examiner, said no conclusions should be drawn from the raw data since it doesn't include a review by researchers.

With any public open data-collecting system, the input cannot be verified as a true and accurate assessment, nor can cause and effect relationships be determined in the vacuum of, Bush said. The researchers look for signs, symptoms, outcome trends, and outlier occurrences that may require follow up by examining the medical histories of affected individuals.

Health officials and VAERS itself warn that the database is susceptible to bias and doesnt provide an accurate picture of vaccine side effects. Anyone can submit a report, and VAERS accepts all reports without determining whether vaccine side effects were caused.

The VAERS website includes a long disclaimer that says that the data should not be used to draw conclusions about the safety of vaccines. It also points out that although reports account for a small percentage of all adverse events, serious events are more likely to be reported.

While VAERS reports are crucial in ensuring vaccine safety, they cannot be used to determine whether a vaccine caused or caused an adverse event or illness, the disclaimer states. The reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable.

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VAERS is an early warning system used to identify potential safety concerns with vaccines that warrant further study. Healthcare professionals and vaccine manufacturers are required to report adverse events. VAERS is co-managed by the CDC and FDA, which have authorized the use of COVID-19 vaccines that are now being used.

Its a crucial tool for identifying those trends and for initiating further investigation, said Susan Ringler-Cerniglia, spokesman for the Washtenaw County Health Department. Reports about it are almost useless because they are untrue and unsupported.

Common side effects reported include headache, nausea, fever, chills, headaches around the injection site, fatigue, and rare allergic reactions. All three vaccines approved for use in the United States are considered safe and effective in preventing severe COVID-19 complications.

After the CDC learned of reports suggesting an increased risk of an extremely rare blood clotting disorder in adult women, a temporary halt to the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccines was ordered. After it was determined that the vaccine carries an increased risk of the rare condition in women under 50, but that it is ultimately safe for people 18 and older, the CDC And FDA resumed emergency authorization for the J&J vaccine after it became clear that while the vaccination may increase the risk for women less than 50 who have the condition, it will also provide protection for those who are older than 60.

Out of the 8.7 million J&J vaccine doses administered at the time, the CDC reviewed 28 cases of thrombosis with typhocytopenia syndrome. Three of the 28 cases reported to VAERS resulted in death caused by blood clotting with low platelets.

Safety guidance on the J&J vaccine was also updated to include warnings of tinnitus and a small risk of developing Guillain Barre syndrome. The neurological disorder causes the bodys immune system to attack nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.

In some individuals who received Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, the CDC acknowledged rare cases of myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericardiitis (inflammation of a lining outside of heart).

Knowledge changes rapidly as researchers and medical experts in this country and other countries around the world examine and evaluate what is known, explore and expose what it isnt known and become more aware of the periodic outlier that pops into the mix, upsetting what we thought we knew, Bush said.

Anti-vaccine activists are using VAERS reports to promote their efforts online, attempting to find reasons to discourage people from taking COVID-19 vaccines. CrowdTangle, a Facebook-owned tool that displays statistics on popular posts, shows the CDC created several fact check posts to counter false claims about raw data.

VAERS data show that as of last week, 1717 reports from Michigan residents were received, including 1669 reports involving COVID-19 vaccines. In Michigan, 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, according to state data.

Even if each report was confirmed, which they arent, those incidents would account for 0.16% of all vaccine doses administered in Michigan since vaccines were released in early 2021.

248 cases in Michigan where a person died after receiving the COVID vaccine, or 0.002% of all vaccine doses, according to VAERS data. During the same period, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reports 21,313 deaths due to COVID-19.

The VAERS reports are lacking in key information. Reports dont always include the cause of death or what an autopsy revealed. Some reports claim that three people were killed by suicide, another died from blunt force trauma after a car crash, and some suggest that deaths had nothing to do with vaccines; one person was reported to have died by accident, while another from traumatic brain injury after another car accident.

Bush said he has yet to receive any data confirming a death was caused directly by COVID-19 vaccines.

Risks are astronomically higher if you get sick with COVID, but we dont see those conversations happening as often because the vaccine risk is over-estimated, Ringler-Cerniglia said. Are there potential risks or side effects to a vaccine? Yes, absolutely. Are they small in general, and compare them to the chance of getting sick? Yes, they are.

An MDHHS spokesman declined to comment on the validity of VAERS data, but pointed MLive to disclaimers posted by the CDC and FDA. According to the spokesperson, MDHHS isn't collecting its own reports of possible side effects.


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