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2021: The year the weaponization of VAERS went mainstream

Misuse of the VAERS database to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about vaccines has been a favorite technique of antivaxxers for decades. Unfortunately, 2021 was the year when this particular antivax trope was turbocharged. (Note: Orac will be taking a week off after this—see note in post.)

About a year ago, I wrote about how 2020 had been a year of physicians behaving badly—or perhaps I should say more badly than even before the pandemic, when they behaved plenty bad. Of course, it’s been long documented on this blog and elsewhere how badly certain doctors and scientists have been behaving, be they quacks, antivaxxers, grifters, or cranks, but the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic provided a golden opportunity for quackery to the point that “magic dirt” and nebulized hydrogen peroxide (for example) have been peddled as cures for COVID-19 and turbocharged antiscience conspiracy theories even more than they had been a year ago. As I sat down yesterday to consider what to write—too many possible topics, I fear!—I rapidly encountered a piece of misinformation about vaccines of the sort that has dominated 2021 and looks to continue to be a major antivaccine technique to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt (a.k.a. FUD) about COVID-19 vaccines in 2022; so I thought I’d discuss it now. I had thought about saving this topic for a year-end post next week, but it’s on Joe Mercola’s website, which means that it will disappear by tomorrow. The reason is that a few months ago, in a pique about “censorship”, über-quack “Dr.” Mercola removed all the articles from his website and set all new articles to “expire” and disappear after 48 hours. (Mercola also set his robots.txt file to exclude all his articles from being archived by the almighty Wayback Machine over at Archive.org). So I thought I should write about Jessica Rose now, as she appears in an article from Sunday titled “What the VAERS Data Tell Us About COVID Jab Safety“.

[Orac note: Orac is taking a rare full week off to recharge his tarial cells (which all the antivaccine misinformation and COVID-19 quackery in2022 have seriously depleted) to prepare for next year, which, he fears, will be as bad or worse than 2021 and 2020 in terms of the tsunami of quackery and pseudoscience that will continue to need to be dealt with. Of course, Orac being Orac (and obsessive), whether or not he manages to restrain himself from commenting before January 3 rolls around is an open question, but he will make the attempt anyway. Happy New Year, everyone!]

VAERS, of course, stands for Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting SystemMisuse of VAERS by antivaxxers (and those who claim not to be antivaccine but frequently repeat the same sorts of tropes that antivaxxers do about COVID-19 vaccines) has been a frequent topic on this blog in 2021, and this interview with Jessica Rose illustrates the various techniques used by antivaxxers like Mercola (and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who has had a regular weekly “update” of VAERS reporting for several months now) and thus is worth writing about again, given that Jessica Rose appears to be a rising star in the antivaccine movement and a veritable font of antivaccine disinformation since she was mentioned in passing the first time in a post that I wrote a couple months ago about antivaxxers targeting Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn with antivaccine disinformation and conspiracy theories.

Just who is Jessica Rose, anyway?

Given that I haven’t taken the time to deconstruct disinformation peddled by Jessica Rose, I thought it would be worth briefly looking into her background before looking into the VAERS misuse and conspiracy theories that she’s peddling. In Mercola’s article, he describes Rose thusly:

Jessica Rose, Ph.D., a research fellow at the Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge in Israel, has taken a deep-dive into the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), and in this interview she shares the details of what she’s finding.

In the transcript of the interview, Mercola is even more effusive:

And we’re going to be talking to Jessica Rose, who has an interesting panoply of amazing serendipities. And she has accumulated the skill set that is almost optimized for helping us understand what’s going on. She is a computational biologist. I don’t know what that means, but it sounds cool. And she has post-doc degrees in two of my absolute favorite fields. And if I had to get a Ph.D., I would get Ph.Ds. in these, is molecular biology and biochemistry. And then she also is a surfer. Even though she’s a native Canadian, she caught the bug and actually did her postgraduate training in Israel, where she was able to apply that bug to surfing and was going to go to Australia to surf, but we know what happened. The COVID hit, and she could not go. So now she had to come up with something else. And she decided, “Well, I’m going to be a programmer, I’m going to code.” So she picked an obscure program that actually I’ve never heard of until this. It’s called R, which I think is words for statistics and graphics. And so she used that. And she said, I’m going to work on the VAERS database, and boy oh boy, she’d been working at it. And she’s come up with the most amazing pieces of information that is out there. You are going to be deeply grateful for what she’s done the last two years if you’re listening this conversation. So with all that backstory, welcome, and thank you for joining us.

Talk about a self-refuting introduction. No, as a computational biologist, Rose does not have a “skill set almost optimized for helping us to understand what’s going on”. Let’s put it this way. Computational biology alone does not provide one with a skillset “optimized” to deal with the VAERS database. That would also require training in epidemiology, infectious disease, pharmacosurveillance, and a deep knowledge of how VAERSworks, and not just the knowledge how to misuse the database to show what you want it to show about vaccines. Indeed, on her LinkedIn profile, Rose describes her skills thusly:

Experienced Postdoctoral Researcher with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Strong research professional skilled in Protein Purification, Longboarding, DNA Extraction, Cell Culture, X-ray crystallography, PCR, technical writing, Structural Biology software and a lot more.

That’s all well and good, but it’s as I expected. Her background is more in the sort of computational biology that looks at protein structures and bioinformatics related to DNA sequences than it is to the sort of mathematical and statistical skill set necessary to delve into VAERS with any credibility. A perusal of her curriculum vitae, which is included on the profile, confirms my assessment, particularly her publication record, which includes a lot of molecular biology and virology, but nothing in the way of epidemiology.

Even less auspicious still is that Rose now works for IPAK. You might recall IPAK as the Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge, a cringeworthy name that immediately makes one suspicious of its science. IPAK is a dubious “institute” set up by an antivaxxer about whom I’ve written a number of times here, James Lyons-Weiler. Before the pandemic, Lyons-Weiler was attacking studies showing that autism is primarily genetic, trying to argue that the MMR vaccine causes autism, and teaming up with antivaccine pediatrician Paul Thomas to publish bad studies about aluminum adjuvants. (Lyons-Weiler also teamed up with Thomas to do a typical “vaxxed/unvaxxed” study that purported to claim that unvaccinated children are healthier, which was—surprise! surprise!—retracted.) Since the pandemic, unsurprisingly Lyons-Weiler shifted quickly to COVID-19, claiming in January 2020 that the novel coronavirus that was raging through Wuhan at the time had been the result of a failed SARS vaccine, thus presaging the “lab leak” conspiracy theory by many months, and then, a few weeks later, claimed (mistakenly) hat he had “broken the coronavirus code“. Let’s just say that if you’re a good scientist doing good work, you would be highly unlikely ever to work for an “institute” like IPAK.

Still, it’s not enough simply to show that Jessica Rose lacks the qualifications to undertake the analyses she’s done and that she works for a disinformation institute that’s been spreading FUD about vaccines for years now. Let’s look at her claims and activity, the most famous of which is that COVID-19 vaccines are killing tens of thousands of people without being detected and that the government is covering it up.

Antivaxxers and VAERS

As antivaxxers always do, Mercola starts his article by talking up VAERS as the best vaccine safety monitoring system there is, as though it were the be-all and end-all of vaccine safety surveillance:

VAERS, despite flaws and drawbacks, is one of the greatest tools we have to evaluate vaccine safety. It was implemented as a consequence of the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. While vaccine companies were given blanket immunity against liability for adverse reactions under this law, VAERS was created to collect injury reports in a centralized database so that the post-marketing safety of childhood vaccines could be monitored.

The system was actually launched in 1990, so we have three decades’ worth of data to compare trends against. Granted, vaccine injuries are notoriously underreported. Investigations have found only 10%1 to as little as 1%2,3 of injuries are reported.

When it comes to the COVID jab specifically, calculations4 by Steve Kirsch, executive director of the COVID-19 Early Treatment Fund, suggest injuries are underreported by a factor of 41. But despite that and other shortcomings, VAERS can still provide valuable information about a given vaccine.

I’ve discussed why the idea that VAERS is the be-all and end-all of vaccine safety monitoring is wrong on a number of occasions, but I always like to preface such remarks by simply noting something about discussions of VAERS by antivaxxers. Notice how antivaxxers always cite VAERS and only rarely, if ever, cite other, much better and more reliable, vaccine safety monitoring databases, such as the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD), the Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA) project, or FDA’s Post-licensure Rapid Immunization Safety Monitoring System (PRISM) Antivaxxers also seem to like to represent VAERS simultaneously as the best system to find adverse events (AEs) from vaccines, even while also claiming it’s awful due to underreporting (as above), which means (to them) that all the horrible things in VAERS are really a lot more common than “they” want you to think.

VAERS is, of course, what is known as a passive reporting system in that it relies on doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, and, yes, people receiving vaccines (or their families) to report AEs after vaccines. As a system, it was never intended to provide an accurate estimate of the frequency of AEs related to vaccines, but rather to serve as an early warning system, a “canary in the coal mine”, if you will, for possible new vaccine-related AEs. In other words, VAERS is a hypothesis-generating, not a hypothesis testing, system, and its hypotheses are tested using better systems, like VSD, CISA, and PRISM. In contrast to VAERS, these systems are active reporting systems in that electronic health records are actively monitored for AEs after vaccination in order to identify potential signals; there is a lot less bias that way and a lot less potential for misreporting.

But back to VAERS. The main problem with using VAERS to estimate the frequency of AEs after vaccination is that, in essence, anyone with access to the Internet, mail, or the telephone can report anything to VAERS, as was demonstrated by bloggers years and years ago when one autism advocate filed a report claiming that the flu vaccine had turned him into The Incredible Hulk and another claimed a vaccine had turned his daughter into Wonder Woman. Both reports were accepted. In fairness, ultimately someone from VAERS did contact these people to ask about the reports, and the reports were removed. However, had they refused, reports that vaccines might turn one into the Hulk or Wonder Woman might still be in the database.

In any event, this particular criticism, that anyone can enter anything into VAERS, clearly rankles antivaxxers, as Mercola goes on to write:

A common attempt to explain away the VAERS data by so-called fact checkers is to say that it’s unreliable because anyone can file a report. This is pure hogwash. Yes, anyone can file a report, but there are penalties for filing a false report, and the filing is time-consuming and exacting. We can be quite certain there’s no over-reporting going on.

Note the implied straw man. No, no one is claims that VAERS is unreliable primarily because lots of people are reporting fake AEs such as being turned into fictional monsters and superheroes. Rather, we point out these examples merely as part of the discussion of how VAERS reports represent raw, unadjudicated data, with no ability to demonstrate causation. Antivaxxers leap to the assumption that any AE entered into VAERS must have been caused by the vaccine, but that is simply not the case. As I’ve discussed time and time again, raw VAERS data cannot establish causation, as, by its very nature, it cannot establish reliable estimates for the incidence of a given AE.

Moreover, contrary to Mercola’s claim that we can be “quite certain there’s no over-reporting going on”, we can actually be quite certain that VAERS has been gamed multiple times in its 30 year history. For instance, one of the earliest times I wrote about VAERS was in 2006, when I discussed a study that examined how vaccine litigation could influence VAERS reports. Using VAERS reports from 1990 to 2003, the study found “most case reports to VAERS that were related to overdose, neuropathy, and thimerosal were related to litigation”, as were “many cases” that were related to “autism and mental retardation”. Since we now know with a great degree of certainty that vaccination is unrelated to autism, neuropathy, and mental retardation, we know with a great deal of confidence that these reports represented, if not overreporting, misreporting of AEs not related to vaccination as though they were. The study concluded, “This review shows a previously undisclosed rise in the number of reports to the VAERS related to pending litigation for vaccine injury.” In other words, this is not a new problem with VAERS.

In the discussion, the authors noted:

The findings raise an important question about possible misuse of VAERS in the litigation process. When a study is being used to influence important public health decisions, it is important that reviewers and editors fully understand how the data were constructed and their source. Until now, no one has described the magnitude of litigation-related reporting and how these reports might potentially change the results of studies using VAERS data. Longitudinal studies using VAERS data should explicitly take into account changes in reporting sources like the one described in this article.

It is impossible to determine the effect of these reports on existing analyses because the existing literature does not describe carefully inclusion and exclusion criteria. For the conditions reviewed here, it is apparent that a large enough percentage of reports are being made related to litigation that failure to exclude these will seriously skew trends. This is important for vaccines that contain thimerosal, and specifically for the MMR vaccine because of the controversy surrounding its relationship to autism. It therefore is incumbent on the authors who use VAERS data to provide detailed methods sections that describe their inclusion and exclusion criteria. To that end, we are making our SAS code available to interested parties. It is not sufficient simply to reference extraction of the VAERS data set.

In fact, the authors concluded that their estimates of how many VAERS reports were related to litigation were likely conservative and underestimates, because the keywords used in their analysis to identify litigation-related cases were insufficient to the task. In other words, the authors almost certainly underascertained the cases they were looking for. Let’s just put it this way. There’s a reason why I (and many other science advocates) used to call studies that used unadjudicated raw VAERS reports to estimate changes in prevalence of AEs after vaccination “dumpster diving”. More recently, another study showed changes in reports to the VAERS database from California that appeared to be due to the passage of SB 277, the law that eliminated nonmedical “personal belief exemptions” to school vaccine mandates, concluding that the “recent changes in reporting patterns coincident with the introduction of SB277 may indicate that more parents are using VAERSto assist in applying for a medical exemption for their child”. In other words, VAERS reports are not nearly as reliable as Mercola (and Rose) want you to believe.

Does any of this sound familiar? Relying on just raw VAERS reports from the database is exactly the mistake that Tracy Høeg, John Mandrola, and Allison Krug teamed up with COVID-19 antimasker and antivaxxer Josh Stevenson to dumpster dive in VAERS to look for myocarditis cases and declared themselves to have been “silenced” when the torrent of criticism of their bad science rolled in.

Also, contrary to claims made by Jessica Rose, Steve Kirsch, Joe Mercola, and RFK Jr. (among many other antivaxxers), underreporting to VAERS is not rampant, at least not in the way they make it seem. It’s commonly claimed that only 1% of AEs are reported to VAERS, but that is a misleading statement. As Dr. Vincent Iannelli pointed out a couple of years ago, there is major underreporting for minor AEs, such as fever and pain at the injection site. Of course there is! If your child, for instance, has a fever for a day after a vaccine, are you going to bother to report it to VAERS? Probably not. However, if someone dies soon after a vaccine, you can be damned sure that it will very likely be reported, particularly given the government’s implementation of V-Safe, its text messaging system that follows up COVID-19 vaccination with text messages asking if you’ve had any symptoms since vaccination and reminding you to report them to VAERS if you did. In other words, the more serious the AE, the more likely it is to be reported to VAERS, particularly with the reminders people who opted into V-Safe have been receiving.

This doesn’t even take into consideration the innumeracy and sheer lack of plausibility behind Mercola and Rose’s claims. Mercola’s article states that underreporting of deaths due to COVID-19 vaccines ranges from between 31- and 100-fold, leading him to estimate in his article that the “actual death toll in the US could be anywhere from 278,500 to 898,600.”

On to Jessica Rose’s claims…

Just “play with VAERS” in Excel and R!

During the interview, Mercola discusses VAERS with Rose, asking her what she found. In response, she urges people to “do their own research” by, well, I’ll just quote her:

I implore everybody to do this … [VAERS] is very accessible. Just go to their website and download the CSV files. You can play with it in Excel, or use whatever is compatible with the CSV file. The OpenVAERS system is even easier to use.

There are three separate files that you can download for the domestic data set, which includes the individual’s data, the symptoms or adverse events that they reported (and it can be up to 15 different types), and the injection data …

You can merge them so that, as per [each] VAERS ID, you have a lot more information … That’s what I did. All you have to do is count the number of adverse events that have occurred in 2021. In the context of the COVID-19 products, exclude all the other vaccines to isolate the signal, and compare the number of adverse events to the total number of adverse events reported in every single year going back 30 years.

There’s absolutely zero comparison. The average number of adverse event reports for the past 10 years is ~39,000, and that includes the adverse event report data for all of the vaccines combined. There are a lot of them …

So we’re looking at about 39,000 total adverse events per year [on average for all vaccines], as opposed to 675,942 [adverse events post COVID jab] in the domestic dataset alone [Editor’s note: Please note that all data are as of the day of the interview and have not been updated prior to publication]. And this does not include the underreporting factor …

We see the same trend when we isolate standalone adverse events like death. There are over 10,000 [post COVID jab] deaths reported now in the domestic dataset alone, not including the underreporting factor, and in the previous 10 years, the average was 155 deaths for the entire year for all the products combined. This is over 6,000% increase in reporting for deaths.

This is exactly what you want: A whole bunch of people with no knowledge of epidemiology or, even more importantly, the limitations of VAERS “playing” with the whole VAERS dataset in Excel or, if they’re more sophisticated at computer programming, R. R, for those of you not familiar with it, is a programming language and free software environment for statistical computing and graphing the results. As you might imagine, learning to use R involves a bit of a learning curve, certainly more than Excel does.

Whatever one’s skill level, without knowledge of how VAERS works and what its raw data can be used for, you will fall victim to GIGO or “garbage in, garbage out” no matter how good you are with Excel or at statistical analysis using R. That is, of course, exactly what happened to Rose.

Weaponizing VAERS

At this point, let me just point out that before any of the COVID-19 vaccines started rolling out in the US under an emergency use authorization (EUA) a little over a year ago, those of us with long experience deconstructing antivaccine disinformation were warning that VAERS would be weaponized to portray COVID-19 vaccines as deadly. It was entirely to be expected based on the previous misuse of VAERS to falsely link vaccines to autism, premature ovarian insufficiency and infertility, death (including sudden infant death syndrome), and many other health outcomes that we know not to be related to vaccines. So why wouldn’t they do it with COVID-19 vaccines? They did, of course, and in terms of antivaccine disinformation 2021 has certainly been the year when the public, news media, and public health officials had their faces rubbed in what we had been describing before the pandemic and warning about as the vaccines rolled out.

The first time I noted the misuse of VAERS reports to portray COVID-19 vaccines as deadly. Before the Pfizer vaccine was issued an EUA, I was pointing out how lawyers game VAERS for their litigation and noted the bad “scientific studies” published by antivaccine physicians and scientists that use VAERS as their data source. By one year ago tomorrow, I was discussing reports of Bell’s palsy and syncope from the Moderna clinical trial and how VAERS would likely be used to amplify claims that these AEs were caused by the vaccine, sarcastically Tweeting at one point:

By February 1, 2021 the first serious efforts by antivaxxers to misrepresent VAERS reports as showing that COVID-19 vaccines are deadly were manifesting themselves, and I discussed why they did not show this and were not evidence that COVID-19 vaccines were causing heart attacks and sudden death. At that point, there had been “only” 323 deaths and 9,845 AEs reported to VAERS. By May 2021, conspiracy theorists Michael Yeadon and Peter McCullough were helping Mercola use VAERS to spread the conspiracy theory that the vaccines were part of the “global depopulation” agenda, and by July a “holistic cardiologist” from my part of the country was joining in amplifying misinformation based on VAERS reports.

Enter the conspiracy theories…

As I’ve said many times, all science denial, especially antivaccine pseudoscience, is rooted in conspiracy theory. The central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement consists of a claim that “they” are trying to hide the “truth” about vaccines, the “they” usually being the CDC, FDA, the medical establishment, and, of course, big pharma. So, of course, there must be a conspiracy theory to claim why “they” are not taking the dire warnings of people like Jessica Rose seriously, and, of course, there is. The CDC is covering it up, obviously!

And:

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outrageously deny that a single death can be attributed to the COVID jabs, it’s simply impossible to discount 19,532 deaths5 (8,986 in the U.S. territories alone6) reported as of November 26, 2021. As noted by Rose:

It’s not even statistically plausible to say that not one death out of 10,000 was caused [by the shot]. It’s not scientific to say that … Those people, not 100% of them would have died anyway? That’s not how life works.

Actually, it is. I’ve discussed on many occasions now the baseline rate of e.g. deaths, which Rose either doesn’t understand or refuses to accept. Let’s go all the way back to January to see what I mean, where I will, as I am wont to do, quote Mark Hoofnagle:

Remember, this was January, and Mark was estimating over 4K deaths near the time of COVID-19 vaccination by random chance alone.

Now that it’s been over a year since COVID-19 vaccines have rolled out, we can redo the estimates that I last did in JulyOur World In Data estimates that in the US as of last week, 203 million people having been “fully vaccinated,” or 61% of the population. (I realize that the question of boosters complicates the definition of “fully vaccinated” now, but this is a back-of-the-envelope calculation designed to give a rough estimate.) The estimate for the baseline death rate that I used back then was roughly 2.4/100,000 per day, which means that for a population of 202 million we’d expect to see an average of ~4,848 deaths per day by random chance alone. Using one year as a rough number, we’d therefore expect to have seen around ~1.77 million deaths in this time period by random chance alone, and that doesn’t even count the increase in the baseline death rate due to deaths from actual COVID-19 that has occurred.

The sheer size of those numbers makes Rose’s appeal to incredulity sound really rather silly:

Jessica Rose: Nope. They are holding fast to their claim that not one of the adverse event reports of death in VAERS is because of the products. They’re holding fast. There are GPs and medical doctors and nurse practitioners who are also spouting this garbage. It’s not even statistically plausible to say that. Not one death out of the 10,000 something something were caused, it’s not scientific to say that. So actually, I’m happy when people say that because it’s really it’s going to be really easy to disprove. I think I already have. But showing causation with epidemiological or biological data, data is notoriously difficult, you can do it.

Dr. Mercola: Oh, right. I didn’t realize it was statistically possible. But well, you know it, probably do.

Jessica Rose: Yeah, you can use something called the Bradford Hill criteria, which is a set of 10 criteria that you should satisfy in order to show very strong evidence of causal relationship. And one of the most important of these is temporality, of course, because one thing has to come before the other. And the shorter the duration between those two, the higher the likelihood that there’s a causative effect. So when you’re talking about people, like percentages of people who died, having died within 24 hours of one of their jabs, let’s say you’re talking 50%. That’s kind of suspicious to me. Yeah. I’m glad you laughed, because it is funny, and they completely deny the causal effect. And I mean, yeah, it’s, it’s-

Dr. Mercola: Just a coincidence.

Actually, it almost certainly is “just a coincidence,” just as so many of the problems attributed to vaccines by antivaxxers misusing VAERs were long before the pandemic. My favorite example is a calculation once done over at The Logic of Science five years ago to estimate how many new diagnoses of autism would occur after certain periods of time after vaccination by random chance alone assuming no causation or correlation between vaccines and autism, concluding that, even if there is no relationship between vaccines and autism (and there isn’t such a relationship), every year we would expect to see 154 children showing the first signs of autism within a day of vaccination, 1,079 within a week, and 4,623 within a month. The same principle works here, but the numbers are much larger.

Basically, in a population this large receiving vaccines, due to the large baseline rate of deaths that occur every day, day in and day out, just because a certain small percentage of a large population will die of multiple causes every day one expects large numbers of deaths to occur after vaccination by random chance alone. One also does not expect underreporting of deaths, given V-Safe and long term findings that serious AEs after vaccination, of which death is obviously the most serious, are not underreported to VAERs by a factor of 20 or 100, as Mercola, Kirsch, and Rose claim.

It’s also rather hilarious how Mercola and Rose completely ignore the other Bradford-Hill criteria, such as plausibility, consistency, coherence between epidemiological and laboratory findings, biological gradient, and others, and cite temporality über alles. That is, of course, why raw VAERS reports are investigated and adjudicated before the CDC uses them in analyses, and even then the CDC then uses other databases, such as VSD, to test whether the safety signals identified in VAERS are reproducible using an active surveillance system.

Rose gets even worse, though. She cites an estimate by tech millionaire turned ivermectin pusher Steve Kirsch, a man who’s been falsely claiming that COVID-19 vaccines kill twice as many people as they save (wronger than wrong). Jeffrey Morris demolished (in extreme detail) Kirsch’s methodology used to arrive at his estimate of a 41-fold underreporting rate in detail so that I don’t have to. Let’s just say that Kirsch cherry picked studies and used inappropriate analyses, analogies, and comparisons to come up with this estimate, concluding about Kirsch’s underreporting rate (URR):

It is difficult to see the plausibility of Kirsch’s URR estimate of 41x given results from these 3 studies on myocarditis/pericarditis showing URR from 2.0x-2.7x, and the estimate of 41x from the selected anaphylaxis study contrasts with a study done in November 2020 for other vaccines showing UR of just 1.3x-8x, especially problematic for him based on his claim that reporting rates are similar now as pre-pandemic. To justify the high 41x level, he would need more compelling evidence beyond his current speculative statements on why the URR would be much higher, not lower, for deaths, and why the underreporting in 2021 would be so much higher than previous years.

If anything, given the institution of the V-Safe system and the huge publicity surrounding AEs after COVID-19 vaccination, we would expect the URR to be lower for COVID-19 vaccines than for vaccines in previous years, not higher, especially for the most severe AEs, such as death.

Rose then goes on to claim—of course!—that the nefarious CDC is “deleting” VAERS reports, particularly for children. This is a more difficult conspiracy theory to look at because there could be any of a number of reasons why VAERS ID entries are deleted. Even Rose admits that it could be because more than one report was filed for the same vaccine recipient (e.g., by the doctor and the parents) or for other reasons. A version of this conspiracy theory was going around a few months ago, and the CDC responded by explaining that some 6,000 VAERS reports had been removed from the database because they came from outside the US:

Curtis Gill, a CDC representative, told Reuters via email that the CDC is aware of an error which took place while data was being uploaded to the page.

“The error resulted in what appeared to be a large spike in the number of deaths reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) after COVID-19 vaccination,” Gill said. “It happened, accidentally, because of combining foreign and domestic reports, and has been corrected.”

I really wish that the CDC would be more proactive about such incidents. Instead of waiting until questions are asked about such anomalies in VAERS data, the CDC should announce when it corrects the data. That wouldn’t stop conspiracy theories like the ones Mercola and Rose are spreading, but it could help. Likely there are other legitimate reasons for reports to be removed, but if the CDC isn’t painfully aware that antivaxxers are monitoring VAERS for the purposes of anomaly hunting by now, I don’t know what else would nudge them to do more. Such removals, which before COVID-19 were just part of the normal maintenance of VAERS and rarely noticed or commented on, even by antivaxxers, are now grist for the conspiracy mill. No doubt Rose will deny that this is what she was looking at, but there’s also no doubt that the CDC can no longer do routine quality control of the VAERS database without a lot more transparency, as conspiracy mongers like her are watching for any anomaly that they can weaponize against COVID-19 vaccines.

VAERS: The best and worst system

It’s not at all surprising that Jessica Rose would be engaging in dumpster diving of the VAERS database. What was once a common, albeit rather niche, tactic of the antivaccine movement has in the age of the pandemic been weaponized to the point that I’ve spent considerable time and effort in 2021 dealing with antivaccine propaganda and conspiracy mongering related to VAERS in a way that I had never had to do before for previous vaccines, even if I have been writing about the antivaccine misuse of VAERS since 2005. In the age of COVID-19, VAERS has become a weapon because of its very nature that makes it perfect for this purpose to antivaxxers. It is a completely open database. Anyone can submit a report of an AE after vaccination to it. The complete VAERS dataset (scrubbed of personally identifiable information, such as names) can be downloaded and analyzed by anyone, even without a protocol approved by an institutional review board.

Let’s just say that there’s a reason that you almost never see antivaxxers like Jessica Rose and Joe Mercola citing the VSD, PRISM, and CISA results to promote their conspiracy theories. They’re active surveillance systems, and, far more often than not, analysis of their data fail to support the hypotheses generated by analyses of VAERS with respect to causation.

I frequently repeat the refrains that there is nothing new under the sun when it comes to the antivaccine movement, nor are there any truly new antivaccine arguments or techniques of disinformation. Sure, the same old tropes have been tweaked a bit for COVID-19, but at their core they are no different than the same old tropes that antivaxxers have been using for years. I’m hard pressed to think of any better example than how the VAERS database has been misused and weaponized during 2021 to spread FUD about COVID-19 vaccines. Sadly, I don’t see the media or public health officials being all that much better at addressing this technique of disinformation than they were a year ago.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

175 replies on “2021: The year the weaponization of VAERS went mainstream”

A common attempt to explain away the VAERS data by so-called fact checkers is to say that it’s unreliable because anyone can file a report. This is pure hogwash. Yes, anyone can file a report, but there are penalties for filing a false report

Mercola lies like a rug. There are no penaties for that.

There is actually a criminal law that criminalizes willfully and knowingly filing a false report. It’s never been used in this context, to my knowledge – and I suspect I would know – and you can imagine why. You don’t need anyone to knowingly and willingly file a false report for there to be a lot of unreliable reports in the system, because people can be wrong in many ways, or think something they read online is true.

And to prosecute, you would have to find evidence to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the report was falsely filed knowingly and willingly. Not that easy.

So yes, in theory there is a criminal statute that applies, in practice, it doesn’t verify the data.

As often happens, anti-vaccine activists take a grain of truth and build a castle of lies.

Antivaxxers love to cite that bit of law, but never cite the bit requiring that healthcare providers report serious AEs regardless of causality. Give your kid a Reese’s cup after their shots to reward them and, oops, turns out they’re allergic to peanut butter and have anaphylaxis on the way out the door? Legally the doctor has to report it.

I accidently found your page of incredible ranting. After almost two long years it been hard to watch the procession of what some people now call mass formation psychosis, but regardless of what you believe, the terrible truth is getting harder and harder to conceal. The death and injury and suffering to human beings caused by this mRNA human experimentation is real, unfortunately, and the suffering whose lives have been destroyed want answers. I doubt if you care or will allow my comment, but you are the misinformation. How do you sleep? realnotrare.com

I was about to write concerning her and what I just heard from the usual suspect ( PRN.Live / last few minutes of today’s noontime woo-fest) that she confided to him that her conservative estimate for Covid vaccine deaths is now 660K! She’ll be a guest on his Progressive Commentary Hour Tuesday. I’ve been hearing lots about her from the other charlatans. Reuters has a nice Fact Check on her Oct 2021 about 150K deaths.
Those numbers keep growing. How do they fit into the SBM kills hundreds of thousands a year scenario?

I must go as my cat demands a game of fetch the bottle cap,

I had a quick look at the paper “Jessica Rose, Mathew Crawford. (no date) Estimating the number of COVID vaccine deaths in America that Reuters references.

No indication of what the data “analysed” actually was. No idea of how the analyses were done. I am sure respectable researchers would be happy to supply data links and code.

I am also reminded of a comment by a slightly cynical friend back at the height of the Satanic child abuse frenzy back in the 1990’s, “Where are all the bodies”?

Pardon me for displaying my ignorance, if it has been explained before, but do real, qualified science researches use and cite VAERS as the basis for published material, or is that reserved for such as Jessica Rose, R.F.K. jr., et alia?

CDC scientists use VAERS. But they have access to the back end and can get medical records, and they usually verify the case before doing analyses.

And even then, you need to be very careful.

And she has post-doc degrees in two of my absolute favorite fields.

Ignorance over how terminal degrees work or just the same old, “inflate one’s credentials” game?

I can’t be arsed to verify Rose’s credentials but even if they are bona fide, she’s tanked any viable career she may have had slithering around with the likes of Mercola and Lyons-Weiler.

All you have to do is count the number of adverse events that have occurred in 2021. In the context of the COVID-19 products, exclude all the other vaccines to isolate the signal, and compare the number of adverse events to the total number of adverse events reported in every single year going back 30 years.

Rose makes this mistake repeatedly, either lying by calling them adverse events or ignorant that they are reported adverse events and not verified. Neither gives her any credibility other than with true-believers.

“There is private subject information contained within the VSD, do you really want it open to the public? ” No, but that could be redacted and the rest of the data made public.
Such transparency would really improve the trust situation with regard to the risk of adverse effects. “Investigators with an approved protocol may gain access.” That’s what they claim anyway. Orac doesn’t think it’s such a high bar, but I don’t see any independent researchers since the Geiers getting access. “You should be asking Ms. Rose or Lyons-Weiler et al. why they aren’t applying for access to that database.” I agree.
It would be good question to ask them.

No, data from HMOs cannot be made public.

You do realize this data is medical records of real people who deserve privacy? Just because anti-vaccine activists want to misuse that data does not mean the patients deserve to lose privacy.

And no, since there is already a lot of information out there, I don’t think sacrificing these people’s privacy for anti-vaccine “scientists” to play with will increase trust. It’s not as if they’re going to use this data more honestly than they use VAERS.

@ Dorit Reiss “You do realize this data is medical records of real people who deserve privacy? Just because anti-vaccine activists want to misuse that data does not mean the patients deserve to lose privacy.” My first sentence (after quoting Sciencemom) in the post you responded to was regarding that issue. I said: “that could be redacted and the rest of the data made public.” I’m not asking for people’s medical privacy to be violated. I’m saying that given there are no better databases of vaccine adverse events available to the public, complaining that VAERS isn’t being used properly is a hollow criticism. Such databases could be made publicly available after removal of personal information, providing much greater transparency to the public about vaccine adverse events.

They’re not even reading all the data in VAERS, so not sure what good more data would do them. It takes five minutes to discover that many of the “deaths” in VAERS were reported on the grounds of “report any death after vaccination” such as the person who started coughing up blood and died after their vaccination — but it was almost certainly the advancing lung cancer, not the vaccine.

“Notice how antivaxxers always cite VAERS and only rarely, if ever, cite other, much better and more reliable, vaccine safety monitoring databases, such as the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD), the Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA) project, or FDA’s Post-licensure Rapid Immunization Safety Monitoring System (PRISM) ” My assumption is that they don’t mention those other databases because they don’t have access to them. VAERS is the only PUBLIC vaccine safety monitoring database in the US. I don’t think it’s reasonable to complain that they don’t mention databases they aren’t allowed to access.

Beth, the VSD is absolutely accessible to researchers with valid credentials and research objectives along with ethics. I suppose that’s why they don’t get access and instead torture the VAERS database.

@Science Mom

If only “researchers with valid credentials and research objectives” are allowed access, that means it is NOT publicly accessible. Neither you nor I can go and pull out information to verify something we read about elsewhere. With VAERS, anyone who wants can check the numbers that someone else supplied from that database. Further, valid credentials and the other requirements you mention are not sufficient. It’s not available to private individuals without thousands of $ or institutional backing to cover the costs. While I have valid credentials and work for an world class research institution, my research is not in the health care field. My own attempts to obtain access ended with the requirement for IRB approval. That’s expensive and not in my personal budget. While Dr. Gorski is right that there isn’t much information that can be gleaned from that database, complaining that people aren’t using better databases that aren’t available to them is an empty complaint IMO.

Actually, credentials aren’t even that important. (After all, the Geiers got access.) All you really need is a written protocol and approval from a duly constituted IRB. Given that there are companies that provide IRB services to pharma and independent researchers, the bar isn’t really that high.

Neither you nor I can go and pull out information to verify something we read about elsewhere.

There is private subject information contained within the VSD, do you really want it open to the public? Investigators with an approved protocol may gain access. You should be asking Ms. Rose or Lyons-Weiler et al. why they aren’t applying for access to that database. Right?

It is a very lazy assumption, implying that you don’t think much of the researchers. It’s true that you use the tools you have, but if the tools are problematic, that you probably shouldn’t be publishing.

An IRB can’t be all that expensive if someone like Lying-Wailer can afford it. I mean he apparently can’t even afford to bring his hideously built IPAK web site into a post-year-2000 design standard, yet he can afford IRBs.

Beth: “My assumption is that (antivaxers) don’t mention those other databases because they don’t have access to them.”

“…complaining that people aren’t using better databases that aren’t available to them is an empty complaint IMO.”

Strawman anyone?

Pro-immunization advocates don’t cite the failure of antivaxers to use those systems, but rather their failure to acknowledge that they exist and have value in assuring vaccine safety. Antivaxers don’t mention surveillance systems other than VAERS because 1) they like to pretend that no one other than them is paying attention to vaccine safety, and 2) raw VAERS data allows them to falsely hype vaccine reactions.

Have you considered making the avoidance of fallacious arguments one of your New Year’s resolutions, Beth?

There is still no demonstration that anyone is actually paying attention to vaccine safety. In fact this blog post is a negative indication.

You say this in spite of the numerous blog posts, scientific papers etc. dealing with the effects of the vaccines? Has there ever been a vaccines (or treatment) more discussed in the media or in scientific literature? If only more people understood what they were talking about…

I would think that the high percentage of unvaccinated people demonstrates that lots of people are ‘paying attention to vaccine safety’. It seems to me that you don’t think ‘enough’ people agree with you. According to your ‘logic’, I guess anyone who doesn’t see things your way, must not be ‘paying attention’?

This is just sophistry. As a profession do better about transparency or face the same sort of FUD. You make that bed for yourselves by keeping people out of the other systems. No one’s fault but your own. Go bark up a different tree open access and make a blog post showing the world why the surge in reactions in VAERs are a red herring. Why hasn’t it been done?

You cannot just peek other people’s medical data, that is the reason. Make a legimate research proposal.

I have attempted to link to the sites that you use as vaccine safety monitoring databases (VSD, CISE, and PRISM) all of the links either direct the reader to a “wayback” website (PRISM) which is basically a 2017, FDA press release with no link to “PRISM”.

Or to the CDC (limited) collection sites (VSD), and do I really need to “Request a COVID-19 Clinical Consultation, or “When possible, CDC tries to accommodate these requests. Depending on the study, interested researchers may be able to access VSD data and data from VSD publications through public use datasets, the VSD data sharing program, and collaboration with current VSD investigators.” to obtain the information.

And your (CISA) which contains one case (in 2021) to a single study (pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34011502/) is really lacking as to COVID.

nbcnews.com/health/health-news/covid-vaccine-safety-system-has-gaps-may-miss-unexpected-side-n1265986

“No question, the nation’s vaccine surveillance system performed as expected this spring when it identified unusual cases of blood clots combined with low platelet counts in 15 people who had received Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot Covid-19 vaccine, said Dr. Jesse Goodman, a former chief scientist with the FDA. Three people died.
“The good news for a very rare event is it will pop up on VAERS,” Goodman said on a call with reporters, referring to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System jointly run by the FDA and CDC since 1990.”
“But other potentially dangerous, unanticipated reactions to vaccines may not be so obvious in VAERS, a system that is believed to miss many potential side effects — or in the nation’s additional monitoring systems, including the Vaccine Safety Datalink and the CDC’s new phone-based tracking program, v-safe.”

Even the CDC refers to the VAERS system as ‘good news” I am trying to follow your thinking/logic but your website/blog makes it difficult.

Just recovered from COVID.

It wasn’t even as bad as the flu. I’m so glad I didn’t risk my life and health by taking the vaccine.

I give a lot of credit to David Gorski, (MD, PhD…are we sure?).
As soon and I saw his articles/twitter feed and pictures of his face I knew to stay away from anything he advocates.

Well, I have had 2 car accidents and I didn’t have any damage, so car-accidents are no big deal. (Exept of course for those who died, or suffered serious harm.)

Now that you’ve been in an accident and survived, there is no longer any need for you to use a seat belt. If the police try to fine you just show them the accident report and they’ll let you go.

Orac says, ” ..all science denial, especially antivaccine pseudoscience, is rooted in conspiracy theory.”

Potential CT purveyors, whatever their level of education or expertise, know that people in general seek answers to difficult current problems and simultaneously feel rather small and ineffectual in an environment of massive national interests, corporations, governments, media, power and wealth, populated with billions of other small creatures like themselves and a few very outstanding personae, be they celebrities, political leaders, experts or authorities, whom can be targeted as having control over what happens to them personally.

An accomplished conspiracy monger will direct the fears and anger of the populace towards an extremely visible target who can be easily demonised: right now, Fauci and Gates are their boys. Confabulated stories mix with tall tales and a smattering of facts, all difficult to source and to ground in reality. When the subject matter involves recent arcane advances in science, it becomes easier to dream up killer scenarios with which to entrance the unwary masses by providing answers to difficult questions and inspiring righteous indignation at the “criminality” of the powers-that-be. In other words, there is a ready audience for CTs that amplify the heroism of the Truth Teller and make the underlings feel more informed than the average person, ‘in’ on the the secrets of the cabals, not a victim and justified in their rage..

So how does a sceptic alert readers to these activities?
–First of all, if it sounds like a screenplay, perhaps it is fictional as well.
–Being lauded as “exclusive” or “groundbreaking” is another clue. Science is rarely achieved through press agentry. Real advances are the work of many, globally, over decades.
–Looking at the past history of the light bringer ( woo-meister, CT monger) is also illustrative: have they “revealed” other stories before that went against the grain of reality? Is this their main career? Do they quote other similar “journalists”? Do they tell you to disregard Wikipedia, universities and the media?
–Do they spend most of their time denying the validity of experts or institutions? Can ALL of them be so corrupt and entangled in a web of monetised deceit? All experts in all places, even ones with axes to grind against other corporations or institutions or nations? As if the whole world is in synch?

By closely observing a few career prevaricators, I’ve noticed that they tend to quote each other, present nearly the same material and “experts” and not resemble more reality-oriented news sites/ periodicals in the least.

Required reading for skeptics (IMHO), the review of the new Matrix film by Elie mystal in WaPo today:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2021/12/29/matrix-resurrections-algorithm-fake-news/

Mystal identifies one of the themes of the movie “people will reject facts, will reject objective reality, if they are emotionally connected with their provably false world.” He then suggests that the film offers no workable solution:

Spend time trying to get someone to “unplug” from Fox News or vaccine misinformation on Facebook, and you’ll quickly realize that you can’t judo chop them into reality. You can’t smash all their screens. You can’t explain the truth to people who won’t listen, and you can’t expose the truth to people who refuse to see it.

I have to argue that the truth does indeed sound a lot like a screenplay — for a dystopian fiction, just maybe more depressing…

Orac, I love your articles, but you really need to start breaking up some of these sentences. 142 words before a single full stop is simply outlandish. Makes it awful for sharing, because people are turned off by the huge chunks of text.

In related news…
I listened to the entire interview with Rose on PRN.live: she repeats most of what is reported above and adds that 600K vaccine deaths is a “conservative estimate”,. Anyone who read
Orac’s post knows more about the issues involved than she does or else she lies quite convincingly well.
I understand that she is a researcher and a surfer so this is one case where we shouldn’t say “Keep your day job” and forget about your hobby. Surfing doesn’t spread misinfomation about disease..

Those of you who appreciate objective, rational science will want to kick in money to fund a study planned by UCSF Prof. Aditi Bhargava, which will tear the cover off the CDC’s veil of silence on Covid-19 vaccine injury.

That according to tech entrepreneur and exposer of vax truth Steve Kirsch, who has announced he’s funding half the study and wants the rest of us to kick in $25 to make it possible. You see, Bhargava will “proactively contact” vaccine victims in order to get the true numbers of those harmed by the vaccines. And those numbers are…impressive. Well, not 600K impressive, but still up there.

“(Kirsch told an interviewer) that while he and his family got vaccinated as soon as they were eligible, he got the idea that vaccines are dangerous from a man he hired to clean his carpets, who got very sick after receiving the vaccine. Elsewhere he has said he began questioning vaccine safety after an unnamed Twitter follower told him several family members died after getting their shots. He’s also recently increased the number of Americans he claim have been killed by the vaccine from 25,0000, to 150,000, or even “as many as 250,000” Americans.”

http://stevekirsch.substack.com/p/how-you-can-help-us-end-the-vaccine

Kirsch has been an enthusiastic supporter and funder of studies of meds purported to treat Covid-19, including ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. He still insists the latter works, although apparently we’ve got to tease the data more until it comes out right.

http://technologyreview.com/2021/10/05/1036408/silicon-valley-millionaire-steve-kirsch-covid-vaccine-misinformation/

Personally, I would much rather trust the guy who cleans Steve Kirsch’s carpets than Fauci and his fellow government stooges.

@ sadmar:

I’ve read it a few times and I can’t tell. Tongue-in-cheek or phoney?

Yet again, I lament not having made a career as a scammer. I could’ve socked away enough by now to own my own island in the Bahamas, based on how often I am taken at face value over obviously (to me, anyway) tongue-in-cheek comments.

The last bit about trusting Kirsch’s carpet cleaner should’ve been a tell, at the very least.*

*the initial note about “objective, rational science” was a reference to antivaxer James Lyons-Weiler, who famously calls himself “an objective, pro-vaccine rational scientist”. L-W is of course promoting the Kirsch-Bhargava project.

I guess you could look at the ‘objective, rational science’ of Lyons-Weiler, Kirsch etc. as a kind of satire…

I suspect that anyone who’s wondering whether DB was tongue-in-cheek can’t have looked at the second link in the post.

Another ridiculous hit piece, including everything from credentials fallacies, to asserting that VAERS can be ignored because it is possible for trolls to submit online forms, claiming computational biology is irrelevant to data(base) analysis, and taking Rose to task for having the audacity to encourage readers to check her work. I don’t know what they teach in medical school, but in 7th-grade (ok, maybe earlier) science class we learned that reproducibility is an important feature of the scientific method. Reproducibility doesn’t automatically mean an experiment is right (the same mistakes could be made), but the accumulation of results in one direction by independent researchers tends to generate increasing confidence in the results.

So let’s see an analysis of the same dataset that contradicts her findings.

“It’s also rather hilarious how Mercola and Rose completely ignore the other Bradford-Hill criteria, such as plausibility, consistency, coherence between epidemiological and laboratory findings, biological gradient, and others, and cite temporality über alles. That is, of course, why raw VAERS reports are investigated and adjudicated before the CDC uses them in analyses, and even then the CDC then uses other databases, such as VSD, to test whether the safety signals identified in VAERS are reproducible using an active surveillance system.”

They obviously did not ignore the first two listed here, since the injection as cause is both plausible and consistent. Laboratory findings would be welcome to be sure. No doubt those are included in the follow-up data collected by the authors of those CDC reports you mention. Surely those merit at least a footnote?

It seems likely that if such exonerating reports existed, Pfizer would have included them in their November 2021 risk management report on Comirnaty.

https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/documents/rmp-summary/comirnaty-epar-risk-management-plan_en.pdf

Page 100: “Missing Information: Long term safety data
Risk-benefit impact
The long-term safety of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine is unknown at present, however further
safety data are being collected in ongoing Study C4591001 for up to 2 years following
administration of dose 2 of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine and 2 non-interventional studies
(C4591036 and C4591038) are planned.”

Nope. They aren’t even making long-term safety claims, yet Orac here seems happy to lead a data-free offensive on their behalf.

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/ensuringsafety/monitoring/vaers/reportingaes.html

“Healthcare providers who administer COVID-19 vaccines are required by law to report the following to VAERS:

Serious AEs regardless of whether the reporter thinks the vaccine caused the AE. Serious AEs per FDA are defined as:
– Death
– A life-threatening AE
– Inpatient hospitalization or prolongation of existing hospitalization
– A persistent or significant incapacity or substantial disruption of the ability to conduct normal life functions”

Notice it says “required by law”. Surely there is evidence of misuse and erroneous reporting for the 800K incidents thus far. How about we lower the bar to the first 100K reported. 50K? Just the deaths (10K)? Anything?

Keep vilifying people like Jessica Rose and Peter Doshi for asking pertinent questions. It’s a lot easier than providing in-depth analysis of your own that proves why VAERS can be dismissed as an irrelevant signal vis-à-vis product safety. Absurd examples involving a green superhero don’t really count. Fraudulent entries could just as easily be posted by parties that would benefit from damaging public perception of VAERS data integrity.

At the end of the day, the burden of proof is on those claiming safety (i.e., no causal relationship). Why? Because assuming safety as a given is to beg the question, defeating the entire purpose of the reporting system. Until the gene therapy injections can be ruled out as a root cause for adverse events, they must at the very least be regarded as a possible cause. Those unwilling to even contemplate the question — to the point of belittling those who are! — reveal more about their own bias than the researchers they seek to discredit.

“In other words, VAERS is a hypothesis-generating, not a hypothesis testing, system.” Great. So where are the alternative hypotheses that explain away the adverse events thus far reported? Where is the independent investigation corroborating those hypotheses? Which ones are in progress right now? The difference between Orac and the “quacks” he likes to ridicule is that they show their work. I don’t see any citations in this diatribe. Most of the links just reference more of Orac’s own opinion pieces.

Pointing out absurd “conspiracy theories” as though they excuse the criminal negligence of the regulatory agencies that are supposed to be investigating VAERS is your basic strawman.

Fact: regulators are ignoring reports of adverse events. This should be concerning. Full stop.

“Absurd (VAERS) examples involving a green superhero don’t really count.”

You might prefer the VAERS report (cited on the website of the antivax group NVIC) of a young woman who fell into a well and died, several weeks after getting an HPV vaccine.

I can’t understand why governments around the world haven’t banned HPV vaccination based on unambiguous safety signals like that.*

*sarcasm alert.

You get that assuming the VAERs entries are fake is conspiracy thinking right? In fact that sort of conspiracy would need way way more participants than a global Big Pharma conspiracy if it existed (not saying it does I think it’s just a bunch of cognitive dissonance in the medical establishment people)

VAERS entries aren’t (mostly) fake, they’re just … not always causally connected.

If someone dies within a week of getting a vaccine, did they die from the vaccine?
Maybe. Or maybe not. A certain number of people die every day. If we vaccinated everyone simultaneously with a placebo that did nothing we’d expect the rate of deaths to stay the same over the next few days … so would that placebo injection have caused thousands of deaths? Obviously not.

Each reported adverse event must be investigated to determine if a causal connection is plausible, if there was a preexisting condition that was a more likely cause, and, indeed, if the rate of such events is more frequent than the baseline of such events or not.

The claim was 800k death. Where are the corpses ?
Main is problem the causation. Plausibility means plausible cause. What is it ?
Alternative hypothesis is the law of big numbers. People would have the adverse effect anyway. Among hundres millions of people, there would be many deaths,even if vaccines are not given.
I presume that with independent you mean antivaxxer. Did you notice that Orac is discussing “independent research.
Everything is reported to VAERS, without plausibilty. It purpose is to get every report, not to determine causation

” Where are the corpses?”

Right. During the early days pf the pandemic, NY had morgues packed with bodies and needed to utilise refrigerated trailers outside of hospitals and later had to bury the dead in group graves on an island in the river. All of these images are documented and easy to find on the net.

Things got better. If this level of death had continued ( as Mike Adams and others contend) it would be very visible and probably, every person could witness many people who were lost. I live in small city ( urban suburb? outside of a really large one) where it would be obvious if people were missing: less cars, empty houses, lack of people working in services, massive absenteeism, shutdowns.

Alties however have a weasely way to deal with facts: they predict that it WILL happen over time – usually in 18-24 months- just like they predict he total collapse of society, civil war, gang warfare, the next market meltdown and Armageddon itself. Adams insists that soon ( in 2 years?) so many will die that they will leave houses ( that you can acquire for free by paying back taxes!), used cars will be cheap, people will find new careers as scavengers/ sellers of second hand goods, barter will become common and weaponry and bullets will become currency.

“Where are the corpses ?”

You can’t expect fiction writers like chaos infusion, beth, mjd, or others to be concerned with providing evidence to support their assertions. That’s as wasted an expectation as thinking republican leaders believe they should be held accountable for what they say and do.

I don’t know what they teach in medical school, but in 7th-grade (ok, maybe earlier) science class we learned that reproducibility is an important feature of the scientific method.

Sure you did.

Do Google Scholar search for vaccine AND safety. This is “our research”.

@ Chaos Infusion

First, there is no valid evidence that vaccines contribute to long-term problems. However, NO vaccine is perfectly safe. And if any adverse events, they will occur within first couple of months. We look at the benefits (e.g., lives saved, hospitalizations reduce, disabilities reduced, suffering reduced, lost time in school or at work reduced) vs the minuscule number of serious adverse events and anyone with normal intelligence, understanding how vaccines work, will understand that the benefits to adverse events ratio is HUGE.

And the CDC has teams who monitor VAERS reports. Any serious adverse events are investigated in two ways:

compared with periods where vaccine not given, e.g., previous year. For instance, studies have found that, on average, 2,300 Americans have a heart attack every day, so, if someone has a heart attack a few days after receiving, say, a flu shot, they compare with.
Where possible they access the persons medical record. if someone’s record showed them quite obese, chain smoker, etc. well . . .

Look up the logical fallacy of Post Hoc Ergo Prompter Hoc.

And not only do other systems exist that CDC uses, Vaccine Safety Datalink; but many other nations have their own vaccine adverse events monitoring systems and the WHO tries to collect data from all of them. In addition, if you understood immunology, then you would understand vaccines and if you took the time to read up on history of various vaccine-preventable diseases, e.g., smallpox, polio, measles, etc. you might actually be able to make an informed decision.

I suggest the following:

Shimabukuro (2015 Aug 26). Safety monitoring in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). [explains in detail how VAERS is used’ [just cut and paste title in Google]
[gives examples of how VAERS allowed them to quickly become aware of rare events. While their teams separate the wheat from the chaff, antivaxxers don’t. And there is some info that antivaxxers have been intentionally posting on VAERS. Yep, one could be fined; but how if anonymous and no evidence anyone ever has been]

CDC website “Vaccine Safety”

and most Immunology textbooks are 800 pages loaded with chemistry, etc; but there is one excellent book, well-written, great explanation, only about 160 pages:

Lauren Sompayrac. How the Immune System Works (6th Edition)

So what about the European, Canadian, Japanese regulators? How has their response been significantly different from those of the USA?
With some differences (probably due to economic, sociological and political reasons), all public health and pharma regulators have come to the same conclusions and have implemented the same pharmacological measures.
Even the pro-IVM Brazilian government of Bolsonaro has vaccinated a higher % of people than the USA.

@ Chaos Infusion

You write: “Until the gene therapy injections can be ruled out as a root cause for adverse events, they must at the very least be regarded as a possible cause.”

Messenger RNA vaccines are NOT gene therapy. They do NOT and can NOT enter the nucleus. They simply attach to ribosomes in the cells cytoplasm, where other RNAs, called Transfer RNAs bring nucleic acids to match the mRNA, thus producing amino acids that are the building blocks of protein. In the case of the current mRNA covid vaccines, one protein, a modified version of the S-Spike Protein on SARS-Coronavirus-2. I guess you DON’T know what you are talking about. I suggest studying up on genetics or at least a bit of molecular biology.

I also suggest you read up on gene therapy. It involves actually changing the genes inside the nucleus of cells, something, I repeat, mRNA can’t do. It can’t enter the nucleus. It is solely designed to attach to ribosomes. Do you know what ribosomes are???

Splitting hairs on mRNA is just arguing about the meaning of words. Regardless of whether the mRNA/Adenovirus DNA jabs are gene therapy there are real troubling safety signals with respect to all of these vaccines they make it extremely questionable whether those outside of the highly vulnerable should even consider them. The Censorship and attacks on our safety monitoring systems and mandates do nothing to improve that and only cause a further lack of trust. (doesn’t help also that the Reuters chair is on the board of Pfizer but I digress) Do you know what autopsies are?

Antivaxxers themselves started to speak about gene therapy, so there is need to explain what gene therapy is. What is your serious safety signal ?
Where is the censorship ? Antivaxxers are very loud, and if Twitter does not like you, you can go to Gab.

“There is the danger that there will be so many people who are being isolated who are asymptomatic for the full ten days, that you could have a major negative impact on our ability to keep society running. So the decision was made of saying let’s get that cut in half.”

Anthony Fauci

so now the decision to quarantine is a matter of economics not science, what would people be saying if Trump did this?

@ William

First, the decision was based on both economics and the accumulated knowledge of the incubation time of covid. Apparently you don’t understand this. They would be crazy to shorten the stay-at-home time if it led to a major outbreak of disease.

As for Trump, he made spontaneous decisions, not based on any thinking through and his decisions weren’t based on helping the economy, of helping us; but what he thought would benefit him. He even said so when in beginning of pandemic he thought it was just to hurt his chances of being re-elected. As his sister said in her book about him, she is a PhD clinical psychologist and others, he is a malignant narcissist!

“In fact, the evidence we have given the percentage of people, which is about 25% [to] 45%, of the totality of infected people likely are without symptoms,” he said. “And we know from epidemiological studies that they can transmit to someone who is uninfected even when they are without symptoms.”

But people develop symptoms up to 11 days after positive test, so how will they determine if a person is going to get sick in just 5 days. This doesn’t match what the science has told us about the spread. and it appears to be a political decision not a medical decision.

@ William

I should add that the decision to halve the time staying-at-home was a combination of increasing knowledge of incubation/risk of transmission time of covid, economics, and politics. Obviously, staying at home hurts peoples economies; but this government wastes huge sums of military weapons not wanted and needed (testimony before Congress by heads of army on new tank and head of air force on new fighter plane), bailing out corrupt criminal bankers, etc. Maybe we should use our tax monies to benefit us; but given U.S. government is that government of the corporations and super wealthy, by the corporations and super wealhy. and for the corporations and super wealthy, the 1% Is subsidized by the 99%.

However, with that said, I probably would NOT have gone from 10 days to 5 days. Instead, I would first have gone to 8 days for a month or two, if no increase in cases, then lower it further and during the time financially aids those staying home.

And by the way, though Omicron seems so far to be less severe, given how many have been infected, deaths are going up, hospitalization are going up.

Nice deflection on the military, banker, big government but…..

Increased knowledge ? its an 11 day incubation period 5 days is an economic decision not based on science.

“And by the way, though Omicron seems so far to be less severe, given how many have been infected, deaths are going up, hospitalization are going up.”

Omicron is less severe but deaths are going up hospitalization are going up. There are less people infected now then in the peak, but yet deaths and hospitalizations are up.
Cognitive Dissonance.

“But the other important thing is that if you look at the children who are hospitalized, many of them are hospitalized with Covid as opposed to because of Covid.” Fauci said. “And what we mean by that -if a child goes in the hospital, the automatically get tested for covid. And they get counted as a c Covid-hospitalized individual. When in fact, they may go in for t broken leg or appendicitis or something like that. So it’s over-counting the number of children who are , quote, ‘hospitalized with Covid,’ as opposed to because of Covid.

Anthony Fauci

Yet everyone on this site claimed that anyone who suggest this way of counting was wrong was a ‘conspiracy theory’ believer.

@ William

You write: ““But the other important thing is that if you look at the children who are hospitalized, many of them are hospitalized with Covid as opposed to because of Covid.” Fauci said. “And what we mean by that -if a child goes in the hospital, the automatically get tested for covid. And they get counted as a c Covid-hospitalized individual. When in fact, they may go in for t broken leg or appendicitis or something like that. So it’s over-counting the number of children who are , quote, ‘hospitalized with Covid,’ as opposed to because of Covid. Anthony Fauci”

Yep,, Fauci was being honest. However, he said:

“”First of all, quantitatively, you’re having so many more people, including children, who are getting infected. And even though hospitalization among children is much, much lower on a percentage basis than hospitalizations for adults, particularly elderly individuals,” he said, “when you have such a large volume of infections among children, even with a low level of rate of infection, you’re going to still see a lot more children who get hospitalized. . .”But the other important thing is that if you look at the children who are hospitalized, many of them are hospitalized with COVID as opposed to because of COVID,” Fauci continued. “And what we mean by that — if a child goes in the hospital, they automatically get tested for COVID. And they get counted as a COVID-hospitalized individual. When in fact, they may go in for a broken leg or appendicitis or something like that. So it’s overcounting the number of children who are, quote, ‘hospitalized with COVID,’ as opposed to because of COVID.”
Daniel Chaitin (2021 Dec 30). ‘They may go in for a broken leg’: Fauci says child COVID-19 hospitalizations are overblown. Washington Examiner.

What you ignore is, according to article in Washington Examiner: “An average of 334 children under the age of 17 were admitted per day to a hospital from Dec. 21-27, which was over 50% more than the week before, according to the Associated Press, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That approaches the peak of 342 daily average pediatric admissions in late September.”

I think it highly unlikely that the majority of the increase of 50% of children hospitalized to suddenly be due to broken bones, appendicitis, etc. So, despite your hostile approach, most tests were on children admitted for covid. In addition, given how highly contagious it is, especially Omicron variant, even a child with a broken leg could infect someone else at the hospital or others when discharged because there are those who are vulnerable, e.g., couldn’t be vaccinated, vaccine didn’t take, and even if Omicron usually less severe, it can still be severe, even deadly for some.

You write: “Yet everyone on this site claimed that anyone who suggest this way of counting was wrong was a ‘conspiracy theory’ believer.”

You write: “Increased knowledge ? its an 11 day incubation period 5 days is an economic decision not based on science..”

From CDC: “Given what we currently know about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation for the public. People with COVID-19 should isolate for 5 days and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), follow that by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter. The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.” CDC Updates and Shortens Recommended Isolation and Quarantine Period for General Population (2021 Dec 27)

“the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.” So, you are WRONG!

You write: “Omicron is less severe but deaths are going up hospitalization are going up. There are less people infected now then in the peak, but yet deaths and hospitalizations are up. Cognitive Dissonance.”

“During the week of Dec. 22-28, an average of 378 children 17 and under were admitted per day to hospitals with the coronavirus, a 66% increase from the week before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday. The previous high over the course of the pandemic was in early September, when child hospitalizations averaged 342 per day, the CDC said.
Martha Bellisle and Terry Tang, Associated Press (2021 Dec 30). US children hospitalized with COVID in record numbers. San Diego Union-Tribune.

“COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising rapidly in California, placing fresh strain on healthcare systems worn thin by nearly two years on the frontlines of the pandemic. Though the number of COVID-19 patients statewide remains far below the high marks seen during last winter’s surge, the daily count has swelled — a likely byproduct of a spike in coronavirus cases that officials say is being fueled by the heavily mutated Omicron variant. . . Though there are some data indicating that Omicron may cause less severe symptoms than Delta — which has long been the dominant version of the coronavirus circulating in California — health officials have noted that a significant uptick in infections is still likely to send many patients to the hospital.”
Luke Money & Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times (2021 Dec 29). California COVID-19 hospitalizations up 25% in last week. San Diego Union-Tribune

So, currently hospital rates are up and increasing; but I was wrong about deaths being up. Oh well. I should have done more thorough web search; but notice rate of children being hospitalized is also going up. And the vaccines are still working, not as good as with prior variants; but still far better than not being vaccinated. I won’t bother giving reference because I am fairly certain that you, as with others antivaxxers, downplayers of pandemic, won’t change your mind.

Notice that a major difference between me and you and other who reject science is that I have NO problem admitting when wrong, e.g., deaths.

And, hopefully, as more get vaccinated and more experience infection, without serious outcomes, the pandemic will finally end; but, given the large number of unvaccinated, we know, at least those who understand virology and immunology, that more mutants will evolve and one or more could end up being both more transmissible and more severe. It’s not over until it’s over!

NOTE THAT I GIVE REFERENCES TO ANYTHING I CITE/REFER TO. MAKES IT EASY FOR ANYONE TO CHECK VALIDITY OF WHAT I WRITE.

Not only are they checking but the health department is starting to investigate if patients are getting COVID while in the hospital for something else. I’m sure it is their way to call it nosocomial and refuse to pay for the treatment but I’m being a pessimist as this has yet to happen.

@ William

And I am confident that CDC will contact hospitals, check medical records, and publish updated statistics, with most kids admitted for other reasons removed; however, a kid could have come in with appendicitis and incubating covid. Possibly a combination of the drugs, surgery, etc. and ending of incubation time could, in some cases, actually end up with full blown covid.

I had to think of a Duch guy, who drilled a hole in his head.

The self-trepanation crowd doesn’t seem to get as much attention as it used to. Amanda Feilding picked it up from Hughes, but I’m not finding the film, A Hole in Her Head, right offhand.

I mean, get through the dura mater and call in the morning.

6 months ago if you posted this anywhere you were labeled a conspiracy theorist and probably de platformed.
Cloth masks don’t work (CNN)
PCR test are unreliable (CDC Director)
10 day quarantines can be cut to 5 days now (Dr Fauci)
Quarantine of the asymptomatic hurts the economy (Dr. Fauci)
Covid hospitalization number are completely misleading (Dr. Fauci)
There is no federal solution to beat Covid-19 (Joe Biden)

Oh dear, how awful.

Recommendations were made to deal with a previously unknown virus, based on what we knew about previously known viruses. When more was known about the virus, the recommendations were changed to match current knowledge.

The horror!!!

Hardly the first coronavirus. What would be the distinguishing characteristic relied upon for this coronavirus to be so susceptible to prevention through masks that we didn’t have the technology to uncover in 2003?

Coronaviruses can be prevented with masks. Previous ones did not cause a comparable panddemic.

““When I find new information I change my mind; What do you do?”
— this and other similar remarks commonly, but possibly incorrectly, attributed to John Maynard Keynes.

6 months ago if you posted this anywhere you were labeled a conspiracy theorist and probably de platformed.
Cloth masks don’t work (CNN)
CNN is the source of scinetific knowledge ? Besides of that, citation would be useful
PCR test are unreliable (CDC Director)
Unreliable is not samething that useless. If something is not 100% reliable, this does not mean that it is 0% relaible
10 day quarantines can be cut to 5 days now (Dr Fauci)
There are still quarantine, did you notice
Quarantine of the asymptomatic hurts the economy (Dr. Fauci)
This have been always obvious, but pandemic hurts it, too
Covid hospitalization number are completely misleading (Dr. Fauci)
He did not say that. He saud that numbers are not exact
There is no federal solution to beat Covid-19 (Joe Biden)
Perhaps states can do it by themselves ?

CNN did not say cloth masks don’t work. Dr. Leana Wen, one of CNN’s medical experts, opined that with the infectiousness of Omicron, people should stop using less effective cloth masks and upgrade to more effective N95 and KN95 masks. “If all you have is a cloth mask, it’s still better than nothing,” Wen said. “But you are not well-protected, and you should know that you’re not well-protected.” This is not news, just a new emphasis in the wake of a new variant.

Yep. The claim that cloth masks don’t work is yet another example of dichotomous thinking in which, if an intervention isn’t 100% effective and safe, it’s dismissed as useless and “not working.”

Could there be some static electric attraction of virons to cloth mask openings? Maybe. Has it been demonstrated to have any real lasting preventative effect by any quality study. Not hardly. At some low percentage efficacy even something as low risk (and the risks/and or downsides are not completely understood for long term cloth mask wearing). As the efficacy moves towards zero so should the emphasis on the intervention.

VAERS is not a weapon & if you see it as that, your not a friend of science but a believer of dogma. Behind every VAERS ID there is a human, with family & friends who care about them. That’s hundreds of

If their very existence as vaccine injured is a threat to you … You are on the wrong side of public health. And science.

Hundreds of thousands of American’s now know & love, somebody who has had a vaccine injury & there’s no amount of obfuscation that can change that. If there was; more than just 46 M Americans would have had their boosters by now.

I knew the covid vaccines would be dangerous enough to shake public confidence in US vaccine policy & program. What’s unfortunate is that it had to come to this for that to happen. If vaccine injury had only been addressed years ago, we might actually have had safe vaccines in time for this pandemic.

…and yet, Canada, who receives the EXACT SAME vaccines and have had far better vaccination rates than the USA (76.9% off all Canadians/ 80.9% of all eligible Canadians as of Dec 31, 2021), for some reason have far better rates of infection and far small rates of death. As for vaccine injuries……. nope, very, very few!

Christine Kincaid(sp?) is coschristi? Isn’t that sock puppeting and a banning offense?

@sirchton,

It’s sort of OBE by now. Christine has 2 WordPress accounts and the name flip-flops depending on which one is open elsewhere in her browser.

I don’t think she’s deliberately trying to.confuse us and most of us recognize it by now.

I think I even saw the name switch on a posted comment a couple weeks ago.

So Orac basically ignores it.

@ Narad,

I’ve had the same pic for quite a while. I don’t have two WordPress accounts. The avatar comes up when I enter my email … I don’t have to be signed in to WP.. It annoys me too … I don’t always notice it signed my comments as “coschristi”.

Not like you didn’t know that was me anyway.

Did you even finish reading the title: ‘the weaponization of VAERS’? You are correct, ‘VAERS is not a weapon’, but it is weaponized.
As you have demonstrated, may people use the stories of people that may (or may not) have been hurt by the vaccine to confirm their hypothesis.

You missed the point. VAERS reports are real, but they do not prove the causation. Somebody would die after vaccination for some other reason

more than just 46 M Americans would have had their boosters by now.

Great news. We’re over 60M boosters and climbing!

@ coschristi

You write: “If their very existence as vaccine injured is a threat to you . . . f vaccine injury had only been addressed years ago, we might actually have had safe vaccines in time for this pandemic.”

We do have safe vaccines despite what you choose to believe, extremely safe vaccines. Just do PubMed search: MMR AND Vaccine Safety” and you will get a mass of papers going back decades. And it isn’t just VAERS, though many think VAERS only received about 1%, it is 1% of minor adverse events, e.g., low grade fever lasting a few hours, etc. Studies have found almost 1/4 of serious adverse events reported (see Shimabukuro below). And check out CDC website VACCINE SAFETY which explains there other vaccine safety programs. And most other nations have their own vaccine safety data. I am fluent at Swedish and have their websites bookmarked, can read French with help of dictionary and have their websites bookmarked, have UK and Canadian websites bookmarked. Do you really think researchers, public health workers, etc. don’t care about their own people??? Yep, one big conspiracy.

You are absolutely WRONG! VAERS is simply people reporting something they suspect. Ever heard phrase Post Hoc Ergo Prompter Hoc, after something so something must have caused. For instance, on average 2,300 Americans have a heart attack every day. So, if someone gets, for instance, a flu shot, then has a heart attack a few days later, could simply be coincidence. CDC has teams who investigate. They compare number of heart attack prior to flu vaccine season with number during. In addition, they try to obtain person’s medical records. Because of Trump’s waffling message and misunderstanding surrounding Covid mRNA vaccines, more people have been posting on VAERS. I was volunteer in Moderna mRNA vaccine clinical trial. Before volunteering, I spent almost three weeks reading up on mRNA, mRNA vaccines, and S-Spike proteins. First, just searching PubMed, only through 2018 to avoid Covid papers, I found since 1960s over 200,000 papers on mRNA, almost 400 on mRNA vaccine research, and a dozen on S-Spike protein. I obtained reviews of mRNA plus re-read chapters in various books I have, read up on mRNA vaccines, probably 40 papers. They actually developed an mRNA vaccine for SARS. Went through animal studies, phase 1 and phase 2; but no phase 3 because SARS disappeared. And early studies had some problems with Antibody-Dependent Enhancement; but they redesigned the mRNA, did extensive testing, and no longer problem.

As for current mRNA Covid vaccines. Normally one does animal studies, finishes, writes up, then FDA takes it times, approves, then Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3; but this time they did animal studies, immediately Phase 1, then Phase 2, each completed, written up and sent to FDA; but Phase 3, placebo-controlled double-blind randomized clinical trial with over 30,000 conducted normally. After ALL subjects had been followed up for a least two months, presented to FDA and approved for Emergency Use Authorization; but they have continued with follow-up, and, for instance, Moderna study with four months follow-up was published in February. And despite what you choose to believe, having worked in and studied vaccines, no credible evidence of long-term problems. If nothing noticed within first couple of months, probability almost zero. I recently did a PubMed search for just the Moderna vaccine and there are now 400 published papers, from all over the world, with follow-ups up to 6 and 8 months. All of these papers have found extremely few vaccine-related serious adverse events and have found the vaccine extremely good at preventing serious disease, hospitalizations, long covid, and death. I suggest you simply go to PubMed and type in: “Moderna mRNA vaccine” and/or “Pfizer mRNA vaccine.”

As for VAERS, an analogy. Imagine there is some serious crime committed. The police bring in more than 20 suspects for questioning. Maybe, one is guilty. maybe none; but if an antivaxxer approach was used, would assume ALL guilty.

Here are two papers I suggest you read, one on how CDC uses VAERS, the other the paper on Moderna mRNA vaccine (just cut and paste titles):

Shimabukuro (2015 Aug 26). Safety monitoring in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

Baden, Spector (2021 Feb 4). Efficacy and Safety of the mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine.

I realize that nothing will change your mind; but others following this blog can read what i write and check out the two references.

@ coschristi

Have you heard of QAnon? Well, lots of people believe it true. How about the massacre of 26, 6 teachers and 20 elementary school kids at Sandy Hook School, Newtown, CT was a hoax? Well, lots of people believed it. How about Trump winning election? Huge humber of people believe it? And on and on it goes. Antivax websites have mushroomed during the past decade. Social media has mushroomed in the past decade. And the United States has a long history of paranoid conspiracy theories. Twice Pulitzer Prize winning historian, Richard Hofstadter wrote a class paper that you should read: The Paranoid Style in American Politics. Available at: https://faculty.washington.edu/jwilker/353/Hofstadter.pdf So, not surprising that, given my previous comment, together with antivax websites and social media and people believe the worst about the mRNA vaccines and attribute anything and everything to them. In actuality, without the vaccines and mitigation, both undermined by those not cooperating; but still we have avoided 2 million or more deaths; but if more had been vaccinated and practiced mitigation, far fewer than the current 820,000 and climbing.

There is also a great book by David Bennett. The Party of Fear: From Nativist Movements to the New Right in American History. Well worth reading.

HItler wrote in Mein Kampf that the bigger the lie, the more people believe it. Why? Because paranoid gullible people say to themselves no one could make up such a big lie, so it must be true. So, you believe thousands of people are dying and being seriously injured by the covid vaccine. You do realize that the mRNA doesn’t enter the nucleus, breaks down rather quickly, a few hours, and only gets ribosomes in cell cytoplasm to produce a modified version of S-Spike Protein. It is what attaches covid virus to cell, so if immune system learns to recognize it, then immune system is prepared. Think of someones finger tip, first joint of finger. Imagine you cut it off, took it to lab to fingerprint. It couldn’t pull a trigger. It couldn’t poke you in the eye. It couldn’t do anything because not attached to tendons and muscles. Well, by analogy, basically S-Spike Protein. The cell mounts it on outside of cell on two different protein arms, MHC1 and MHC2, one allows antibodies to view, the other t-cells. What if some of S-Spike proteins break loose. Well, they have no source or ability to get nutrition, so they won’t last long and the immune system will still get them. Believe what you want; but that’s it. And the delivery system is lipid nanoparticles, that is FATS. Not a threat to us. Can some people have an adverse reaction? Yep, but rare if serious; but do believe RFK and others that literally 10s of thousands are dying. And if the S-Spike protein is so dangerous, then what does that say about the intact covid-19 virus??? Exponentially more dangerous! ! !

Well Joel went from Qann to gun control to Hitler in one post.
Invoking “Goodwin’s Law’ in probably the fastest time ever for this blog.

Joel went from Qann to gun control to Hitler in one post.
And invoked Goodman’s Law in record time for this blog.

@ Charles

I guess you didn’t understand the point I was making. I was giving EXAMPLES of how easily people believe BIG LIES.

And I gave one specific example of an event, Sandy Hook; but didn’t generalize to or discuss gun control.

And it’s Godwin’s Law. At least get it right. And I wasn’t going to Nazi’s, just using one phrase from a book by Hitler; but I could have found someone else who said the same thing. Or just said it myself.

Just for others following this discussion, not you, I repeat, giving large numbers of people killed by or injured by the mRNA covid vaccines results in many people believing it, not because it is true; but because in their minds no one would make up such large numbers if they weren’t true.

You just continue as several others to make a fool of yourself.

3 june 2021 CNN Fauci
“ with 50% vaccinated I feel fairly certain you’re not going to see the kind of surges we’ve seen in the past”

We have almost tripled the number of cases since the vaccine.

News clip from, 7 news.com.au
.youtube.com>watch?=LM_cjbeaoxg
“With 79,000 adverse reactions, the Australian government to compensate victims up to 600,000.00”

@Charles:

Cut the crap. Most of the 79000 adverse reactions reported are a sore arm, headache, fever and chills. This is out of 36.8 million doses.
The compensation (starting at A$ 5000) offered by the Australian Government is for income replacement for those hospitalized for vaccine reactions. 10000 people have applied. I’m confident that the number who will actually qualify for this payment will be a minuscule fraction of those who applied. We shall see.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-11-16/australia-faces-compensation-bill-for-vaccine-side-effects-smh

TBruce’s numbers are a bit out of date. The Australian COVID vaccine compensation scheme now pays compensation from AUD1000 to AUD20000, not a minimum of AUD5000.

Also, most minor reactions are explicitly excluded from the scheme:

Harm not covered by the scheme includes:

the following other injuries unless they form part of the symptom complex of a clinical condition listed above: headache; fatigue; injection site reaction; muscle or joint pain; dizziness; diarrhoea; pain in extremity; fever; insomnia; nausea; vomiting; lethargy; hyperhidrosis; chills; decreased appetite; malaise; lymphadenopathy; somnolence; abdominal pain; puritus; urticaria or rash; influenza-like illness; angioedema; anxiety-related reactions such as hyperventilation and fainting.

To claim compensation, you need to have been hospitalised by the condition for at least one night:

For claims between $1,000 and $20,000, claimants need to have been hospitalised for at least one night

though there are some exceptions to this.

The scheme compensates for medical costs and lost wages, though hospital treatment as a public patient in Australia is free.

https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccine-claims-scheme

The claimed AUD600000 payout in Charles’s post would only give the minimum compensation to 600 people, or the maximum compensation to 30 people.

Paying the maximum compensation to 79000 people would be nearly AUD1.6 billion.

Charles’s link to the news.com.au video is so mangled I have no idea how I should try to use it. The most recent article I could find from news.com.au’s web site about the scheme was from Nov 2021, indicating that 10000 people had registered an interest in applying for compensation. To register interest, all you need to do is supply contact details. It doesn’t ask for any details of the claimed vaccine injury.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/work/at-work/more-than-10000-aussies-plan-to-claim-for-covid-injuries-under-the-governments-nofault-indemnity-scheme/news-story/4d4e8a1ff7489b6f0728766ebee5c8b2
https://www.health.gov.au/about-us/contact-us/register-interest-in-claims-scheme

@ Charles

You write: “We have almost tripled the number of cases since the vaccine.”

I guess you are too stupid and/or ideologically biased to understand the difference between cases, that is, test shows infected with virus, and severe disease, hospitalization, long covid, and deaths. The statistics are quite clear that the vast majority of those hospitalized, etc. are among the unvaccinated. As I’ve written before, our bodies contain both internally and externally a number of potentially pathogenic microbes; e.g., Clostridium difficile in intestines, Staphyloccocus aureus in nasal cavities. And we are exposed daily to thousands of potentially pathogenic microbes from our environment; but because our immune systems recognize them, most of the time we aren’t even aware of their being blocked and/or rapidly eliminated. As long as our immune systems are functioning, no problem. So, yep, someone who is vaccinated could be infected with the virus, usually found with a nasopharyngeal swab. The immune system because of the vaccine could completely eliminate it after a few weeks or just keep it in check.

And, yep, some vaccinated will get severely sick; but almost ALL are among those who were most vulnerable in the first place; e.g., senior citizens, especially with comorbidities, and younger with autoimmune diseases and comorbidities. So, these are people who the vaccines because of their already weakened immune systems don’t confer as much protection; but even many among them have been protected by the vaccines.

I’m sure you don’t care what the science says; but, just in case you have even a pittance of an open mind, I suggest reading one excellent book on immunology, only 160 pages, well-written, well-illustrated. Maybe then you will understand how vaccines actually work: Lauren Sompayrac. “How the Immune System Works (6th Edition)”

Well if you are going to use the Nazi’s/Hitler please quote the right one.

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Joseph Goebbels

there is some dispute over attribution, as Hilter said something similar in Mein Kampf but he was speaking of the Jews and their lies, “Everyone tells small lies, Hitler reasoned, but few have the guts to tell colossal lies Because a big lie is so unlikely, people will come to accept it.”

Now the quote is highly applicable to the NIH/CDC/Fauci/Biden et al regarding the vaccine/origins of covid and a whole host of measures that have been proven not to work.

Let review.
‘Covid-19 is not a major threat and not something Americans need to worry about ”
Newsmax 21 January 2020 Fauci

‘If Americans want to go to the mall, the movies, the gym, there’s n reason to change what you’re doing>”
NBC 29 Feb 2020 Fauci

““There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is. And, often, there are unintended consequences — people keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face.”
60 minutes 8 March 2020 Fauci

“You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations,” and “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the ICU unit, and you’re not going to die.”
Joe Biden CNN July town hall.

“Data have emerged again that [demonstrate] that even if you were to get infected during post vaccination that you can’t give it to anyone else,”
Rochelle Walensky Congressional Hearing

“Our data from the CDC today suggests that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick.”
“(A)nd that it’s not just in the clinical trials,” the director added, “but it’s also in real world data.”
Rochelle Walensky 29 March 2021 MSNBC

I could go on but ….

The other half of the quote ” It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” the suppression of opposing views in the news, twitter, facebook and from our own government and the labeling of other opinions on such things as lab leak, adverse effects of vaccine, social distancing rules (remember 6 feet was a made up distance), 15 days to flatten the curve, facemasks (you do know that cloth mask are just decorations, now), covid is for the states to figure out (Joe Biden), number of boosters needed ( the Netherlands is planing on a total of 6 shots), we are over counting hospitalization (that WAS a conspiracy theory at one time), the infection rate (cases) don’t matter any more and of course economics (cause you know 10 days isolation will hurt the economy, but 15 days didn’t).

We’ve got to do this again?

Let’s review what Charles left out about Fauci saying early on that he didn’t consider Covid-19 a major threat.

Full quote via Politifact:

“Obviously, you need to take it seriously and do the kind of things the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the Department of Homeland Security is doing. But this is not a major threat to the people of the United States and this is not something that the citizens of the United States right now should be worried about.”

(italics added)

“So Fauci, in a qualified response said, don’t worry “right now;” “you need to take it seriously;” and although “this is not a major threat,” keep an ear open to the CDC and Homeland Security.”

“On Jan. 26, Fauci gave an interview to John Catsimatidis, a syndicated radio host in New York. “What can you tell the American people about what’s been going on?” Catsimatidis asked. “Should they be scared?”

“I don’t think so,” Fauci said. “The American people should not be worried or frightened by this. It’s a very, very low risk to the United States, but it’s something we, as public health officials, need to take very seriously.”

“Fauci reiterated that COVID-19 “isn’t something the American people need to worry about or be frightened about” because, at the time, it was centered in China and the U.S. could screen travelers from that nation.”

But Fauci also twice described the virus as “an evolving situation,” and said, “Every day, we have to look at it very carefully.”

The situation evolved as did our response.

I’ll take public health professionals over dimwits who shade the truth and peddle outright lies.

Did you notice that quotes were very old, from the start of the pandemic, We have learned a lot since then.

Did you notice that quotes were very old, from the start of the pandemic, We have learned a lot since then.

In Charles’ world, “No fair! That doesn’t count!”

@ Charles

So, I paraphrased it. It is you that automatically assumed I was playing the Nazi card. Actually I read Mein Kampf over 50 years ago and, as a Jew who grew up knowing many sole survivors of families murdered by the Nazis, I have devoted a lot of time to reading on the Holocaust and history of Nazi Germany. I met even more survivors when I lived in Israel for 6 months. As I’ve written before, even a broken clock gets the time right twice a day, so, though almost ALL of Mein Kampf is a pack of lies about historical events, etc. Hitler was a near genius, I’m not joking, in understanding mass psychology and how to manipulate some people. Besides his “big lie” he also said that the public orator was just the loud speaker for the innermost thoughts of the audience, again a paraphrase. Though Hitler NEVER was supported by the majority of Germans, and even some of those who voted for him, didn’t support his killings, they actually believed he was a peace candidate, he was right. Just look at some supporters of Trump, alt-right, proud boys, etc., Trump basically has given them what they want, encouraged violence, hate, etc. So, keep twisting what people say.

And, as Dangerous Bacon makes clear, you and your ilk are just plain dishonest, taking quotes out of context and/or using quotes from early on in pandemic, ignoring that we learn as we go.

Keep making a fool of yourself! ! !

Nothing I posted was a lie, Dangerous Bacon you just re posted what I posted and called it a lie, “I don’t think so,” Fauci said. “The American people should not be worried or frightened by this. It’s a very, very low risk to the United States, but it’s something we, as public health officials, need to take very seriously.”

The first items were from Jan 2020 the last items were from the spring/summer of 2021. The back tracking, sorry the ‘evolution’ is astonishing.
In reality the public health officials were grasping at straws and didn’t know what to do, but were afraid to say “at this point we just don’t know enough” as highly paid officials they should have had the fore site to anticipate airborne viruses and what a public health response should look like. How many billions of dollars were wasted on things like plastic shields, cloth masks, 6 feet, 15 days etc. The last quotes were posted to show those public health officials still have not learned much.
Quotes out of context, did I need to post the whole interviews, Dangerous Bacon didn’t.

So, Mr Smartypants, what do you think should have been done? You obviously know better than those ignorant slobs who have spent their lives studying virology and epidemiology.

And after new information is discovered about a previously unknown illness, no doubt you would have continued the same recommendations because: What? It would have made you look inconsistent otherwise?

You would also quote out of context, then, when challenged, whine that you can’t be expected to quote the entire interview. Then whine “Well, he did it TOO!”

Enough with the shovelling. You’re going to strain something.

I-was-just-practicing-deception-and-not-telling-outright-lies isn’t much of a defense, Charles.

Next time you cut-and-paste a bunch of incomplete and out of context quotes, expect a similar reception.*

*unless you’re posting on Newsmax or AoA. They eat up that stuff.

@ Charles

You write: “How many billions of dollars were wasted on things like plastic shields, cloth masks, 6 feet, 15 days etc.”

And if they hadn’t done anything, no mitigation efforts, no vaccine, we would have easily had 2 million deaths; but, heh, give your full name, CV/resume and I would be happy to contact my member of Congress asking that she submit your name to be Presidential Pandemic Advisor or, perhaps, head of CDC. I’m sure they would jump at opportunity.

There have been many problems and mistakes during the pandemic, partly political, partly because this is a nation of individuals, many who don’t understand even the basics of science, a polarized nation, and, yep, given an evolving pandemic, with a different virus from earlier ones, and dealing with the other aforementioned problems, mistakes were made; but, again, should they have done nothing? There are several excellent books that document the problems we’ve had with the pandemic; but I doubt you would be willing to read them or even understand them.

Having followed this blog for some time, I have seen a number of commenters like you, commenters who don’t understand the basics of science, immunology, microbiology, infectious disease history, and epidemiology; but comment as if you are confident in what you write OR, perhaps, you are just regressing to the terrible twos, age when children just are oppositional, that is, you just get a kick out of provoking/irritating people. If so, what does that say about you? That you are such an unhappy unsatisfied person that the only joy you get is provoking/irritating others?

TBRUCE

or should I call you “mr poopie pants”, since you’re into school yard taunts.

“You obviously know better than those ignorant slobs who have spent their lives studying virology and epidemiology.”
It obvious that those people studying virology and epidemiology their whole lives didn’t know what they were doing either and are/were just winging it (remember when herd immunity was described as 60% to 70% of the adult population vaccinated), as I posted earlier

“You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations,” and “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the ICU unit, and you’re not going to die.”
Joe Biden CNN July town hall.

“Data have emerged again that [demonstrate] that even if you were to get infected during post vaccination that you can’t give it to anyone else,”
Rochelle Walensky Congressional Hearing

“Our data from the CDC today suggests that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick.”
“(A)nd that it’s not just in the clinical trials,” the director added, “but it’s also in real world data.”
Rochelle Walensky 29 March 2021 MSNBC

As I stated before did you ever hear one of those experts say “at this point we are unsure” or ‘we just don’t know” other then to describe how long the protection from the jab lasts.

Argument by quote-mining is pretty feeble, but it’s all you’ve got, obviously. Joel has capably dealt with your nonsense, so I have nothing further to add.

BTW, here’s a definition of smarty-pants: a would-be clever person
(Collins English Dictionary).

It’s not an insult, it’s a description.

Charles, do you also yell at the weather reporter when the forecast for August 9th no longer applies on January 14th?

This pandemic is a rapidly changing situation where we have exponentially more information about this virus, its transmission, the disease and the disease progression and effective prevention strategies than we did two years ago.

That is a testament to the amazing hard, collaborative work of millions of people all over the world. But here you are whining that the messaging hasn’t been completely perfect in a way that only hindsight can show.

“How many billions of dollars were wasted on things like plastic shields, cloth masks, 6 feet, 15 days etc.”

Joel
“And if they hadn’t done anything, no mitigation efforts, no vaccine, we would have easily had 2 million deaths”
That is an assumption on your part. and a lot of things that were done, lead to even more deaths (New York nursing homes for example).

Those things I listed didn’t work or have you forgot what the experts said about them. And yesterday the US had over 1 million cases of covid, and states with the tightest restrictions and highest vaccine rates have seen the largest increase in cases.

“In reality the public health officials were grasping at straws and didn’t know what to do, but were afraid to say “at this point we just don’t know enough” as highly paid officials they should have had the fore site to anticipate airborne viruses and what a public health response should look like.”

The problem is they are still grasping at straws and have learned very little over the past 2 years even Biden gave up on a federal response and gave it back to the states.

@ Charles

You exaggerate the negatives and ignore the positives. Yep, can’t prove if we had done nothing would have had 2 million dead; but having studied infectious diseases, history of pandemics, and the current pandemic, probability extremely high. I actually have and have read six books on what went wrong during the pandemic, plus probably 100 papers.

You write: “And yesterday the US had over 1 million cases of covid, and states with the tightest restrictions and highest vaccine rates have seen the largest increase in cases.”

Both right and WRONG. Here in California we have some of the highest restrictions and highest vaccine rates; but we also have areas not following restrictions and low vaccination rates. The mayor of a nearby city has made it clear and instructed their police force to NOT enforce state mandates and a couple of their churches throughout the pandemic have had indoor services with NO requirements of masks.

And, perhaps, more people are ignoring the mandates and vaccines because they think omicron is mild. Well, yes, and no. For many it is mild; but if they don’t wear masks, get vaccinated, they could pass it on to someone, a loved one, grandparent, sibling with comorbidities, who could end up seriously ill. In today’s newspaper, front page, our hospital emergency rooms are overburdened with covid cases, having to divert ambulances to distant hospitals. So, as I’ve written before, yep, most OK with omicron; but the more people infected the higher the numbers who will suffer. I’m sure you could care less?

By analogy, we have laws against drinking and driving. What do you think would happen if in certain areas police didn’t enforce them and people increased alcohol consumption?

When I go to Costco, people wear masks outside; but once inside, some lower it below nose. I’ve ask Costco workers to enforce; but they don’t.

So, you just ignore what is happening in reality.

And, please, tell us how you would have dealt with the pandemic? What is your expertise on viruses, pandemics, public health, etc.

The biggest problem faced by the U.S. is we are not a nation. “Rugged individualism” predominates. We are polarized. And public health has been way underfunded and ignored long before this pandemic. Public health in the U.S. is the stepchlld of our health care system. If our public health officials, seriously understaffed; but still got it completely right, our politicians, some bought and paid for by corporations and the super wealthy, others just libertarian ideologues, together with polarized public, and what would have worked???

@ Charles

You write: “a lot of things that were done, lead to even more deaths (New York nursing homes for example).

The New York nursing homes occurred at the absolute beginning of the pandemic when New York was the first place hit and hit hard.

You write: ““You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations,” and “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the ICU unit, and you’re not going to die.” Joe Biden CNN July town hall.”

Well, yep, vaccinated can still get infected; but the risk of being hospitalized, ending up in ICU, and even dying is EXPONENTIALLY less than unvaccinated. I don’t live in a perfect world. I live in the real world and vaccines, both historically, and the current covid vaccines may not be perfect; but for anyone who understands infectious diseases, they reduce risk of severe infection EXPONENTiALLY. And, in some ways, Biden was right by saying won’t get COVID if vaccinated. For most, may be infected, that is, virus found in nasal cavity; but for the vast majority, the immune system prevents severity and I think for most COVID means actually illness. Our bodies have potentially pathogenic microbes in and on them all the time and are invaded daily by some; but our immune systems either hold them in check and sometimes even eliminate. But only if they recognize, which is what a vaccine does, enables the adaptive immune system to recognize SARS-CoV-2.

You write: “In reality the public health officials were grasping at straws and didn’t know what to do, but were afraid to say “at this point we just don’t know enough” as highly paid officials they should have had the fore site to anticipate airborne viruses and what a public health response should look like.”

Foresight to anticipate airborne viruses? Really, historically many pandemics have had insect vectors, water as a vector, etc. and they did rather quickly realize it was airborne, which is why by mid February they were discussing masks and physical distancing, etc.

I realize that you are incapable of understanding the above.

An order of magnitude more ‘coincidence’ is an order of magnitude more ‘coincidence’. If there is not enough in VAERs to serve as a cautionary signal for these vaccines (more reactions than history in orders of magnitude) then there is nothing at all that would convince you all out of your own confirmation bias. You will ignore any and all safety signals in favor of the Pharma apology narrative.
At least some healthcare professionals who care about safety did some more research: https://doctors4covidethics.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/end-covax.pdf

@ jlbatx

It’s not worth my while to go point by point through the article you linked to; but just one example, they write: “Vaccines that are injected into the muscle – i.e., the interior of the body – will only induce IgG and circulating IgA, not secretory IgA. Such antibodies cannot and will not effectively protect the mucous membranes from infection by SARS-CoV-2.” And I could refute each and every point in article, including completely misrepresentation of the S-Spike Protein, etc.

Anyone who understands immunology knows that even if the mucous membranes are infected, IgG antibodies will stop the virus from spreading through the body. We have a number of vaccines that prevent disease from airborne viruses, e.g., MMR vaccine; yet still work. I suggest you learn a little immunology. A well-written, only 160 page, inexpensive book is:

Lauren Sompayrac’s “How the Immune System Works (6th Ed)” Available on Amazon.com

And VAERS contains reports of “SUSPECTED” vaccine-associated problems. The CDC has teams who investigate any VAERS reports of serious adverse conditions, including obtaining, when possible patient’s medical record. On average 2,300 Americans have a heart attack every day, so if someone, for instance, gets a flu vaccine, couple days later has a heart attack, reports to VAERS, CDC may find in medical record, obese, smoker, awaiting a bypass operation. CDC also compares, adjusted for population, number of heart attacks before flu vaccine season, and even previous years.

A great article available online that explains how VAERS works:

Shimabukuro (2015 Aug 26). Safety monitoring in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

Another article worth looking at:

CDC (2021 Dec 28). Selected Adverse Events Reported after COVID-19 Vaccination

As an analogy, imagine some serious crime committed. Police bring in 20 potential suspects. Maybe one is the perpetrator and maybe none. For antivaccinationists, each and everyone would be guilty.

This antivax vs pro vax is the binary thinking of cult/dogma followers. We are talking about covid vaccine and right now there is a surge in reported adverse reactions that has yet to be adequately presented and explained by the medical establishment that pushes on with boosters for children who are not at risk. Personally, my faith in mainstream medicine is at rock bottom. Remember when if you got the vaccine you wouldn’t get covid? It’s unreal how much apology one has to go through to continue to support and grant any credibility to the Pharma/Medical cartel.

I am sure that no public health person said that if you get vaccine, you cannot get COVID. No medical intervention 100% efficient. (Clinical trials and follow up studies showed 95%).

There have been 100 millions people vaccinated. Calculate how many people among 100 million would die even if vaccinated.This calculation is hardly pharma narrative,
Your concerned doctors does not know basics of immunology, class switching. B cells produce all types of antibodies, including IgA

@pri. You are, of course right. Iwas speaking about VAERS and people vaccinated in US

@ jlbatx

It’s not worth my while to go point by point through the article you linked to; but just one example, they write: “Vaccines that are injected into the muscle – i.e., the interior of the body – will only induce IgG and circulating IgA, not secretory IgA. Such antibodies cannot and will not effectively protect the mucous membranes from infection by SARS-CoV-2.” And I could refute each and every point in article, including completely misrepresentation of the S-Spike Protein, etc.

Anyone who understands immunology knows that even if the mucous membranes are infected, IgG antibodies will stop the virus from spreading through the body. We have a number of vaccines that prevent disease from airborne viruses, e.g., MMR vaccine; yet still work. I suggest you learn a little immunology. A well-written, only 160 page, inexpensive book is:

Lauren Sompayrac’s “How the Immune System Works (6th Ed)” Available on Amazon.com

And VAERS contains reports of “SUSPECTED” vaccine-associated problems. The CDC has teams who investigate any VAERS reports of serious adverse conditions, including obtaining, when possible patient’s medical record. On average 2,300 Americans have a heart attack every day, so if someone, for instance, gets a flu vaccine, couple days later has a heart attack, reports to VAERS, CDC may find in medical record, obese, smoker, awaiting a bypass operation. CDC also compares, adjusted for population, number of heart attacks before flu vaccine season, and even previous years.

A great article available online that explains how VAERS works:

Shimabukuro (2015 Aug 26). Safety monitoring in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

Another article worth looking at:

CDC (2021 Dec 28). Selected Adverse Events Reported after COVID-19 Vaccination

As an analogy, imagine some serious crime committed. Police bring in 20 potential suspects. Maybe one is the perpetrator and maybe none. For antivaccinationists, each and everyone would be guilty.

1) Anyone who understands immunology knows that even if the mucous membranes are infected, IgG antibodies will stop the virus from spreading through the body. Okay – that doesn’t stand in conflict. What they said is the mucosal can still be infected. We don’t test for asymptomatic MMR. It would be interesting indeed to compare such data to case numbers we have now.

“We don’t test for asymptomatic MMR.”
OK, that seems like a non sequitur, but here goes.
Measles, mumps and rubella are reportable diseases. This means that when a case is identified in the community it is reported to the local health authorities who investigate the case to see where the patient contracted the (extremely contagious) disease.

Measles is one of the most contagious human diseases in the world. If there was even a small amount of people who were asymptomatically infected with measles we’d know in a real hurry because they’d transmit that disease to unvaccinated kids who would be identified very quickly. Measles isn’t a subtle or vague disease. It’s a giant rash with very specific characteristics. And then there’s plenty of lab tests.

So your question is weird, but here’s the answer. Nope.

Anyone who understands immunology will know that IgM protects mucosal surfaces…

Everybody who knows immunology knows that disease can spread from mucosal surface. Immune system cannot stop all diseases.

2) “And VAERS contains reports of “SUSPECTED” vaccine-associated problems.
And when such ‘suspected’ problems go up by orders of magnitude there is a log of smoke. It’s up to the safety proponents to show lack of fire, not the other way around.” Show your work in concluding that their safe or the rational conclusion is that they aren’t.
3) “The CDC has teams who investigate any VAERS reports of serious adverse conditions, including obtaining, when possible patient’s medical record.” Given the low quality science the Pfizer trial, and the CDC’s political desires (to protect its own) I find it highly unlikely that anything would come from that. We are past the point of no return for government agencies. That are tripling down on boosters for kids for a variant that would hardly even justify vaccination in the first place. Science? Maybe if you’re a chump.

The denominator has gone up by several orders of magnitude. Also, people were actively solicited for their vaccine reactions for all of the COVID vaccines (my goodness the fixation on Pfizer is annoying).

When I got my COVID vaccine (Moderna), I signed up to get a health check in from the CDC regularly (first daily, then weekly, then maybe monthly and then at 6 months).

When I got a TDaP booster a month or so later? No sign up or check ins, just the usual information sheets.

So when you vaccinated many, many orders of magnitude more people than usual (on a yearly basis), and you ask regularly about how their health is, and you as doctors to be extra vigilant about reporting, of course you’re going to get more reports! That’s how you know the system is working!

(You want an example? My friend’s dad got vaccinated last year. And then he died of melanoma. I have no idea if his doctor reported the temporal relationship between the vaccination and his death, but if he did, does that mean the vaccine killed him? Hell no. It was the cancer.)

Who find myocarditis signal ? If “CDC wants to protect its own”, why it was not suppressed ?
Show your data about omicron variant. Why do you think it causes a mild disease

There are legal requirements on what must be reported to VAERS, and there are things that must be reported no matter the suspected causality. The requirements for COVID vaccines are broader than for many other vaccines. You walk out the door and get hit by a bus? By law, that has to be reported. That’s it. That’s the story,

@ jlbatx

You write: jlbatx
says:
January 4, 2022 at 3:27 pm
This is how science is done, Big Pharma style: https://thecovidworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Pfizer-1.mp4

And, of course, you take what they say as gospel. I don’t have time to go through everything they claimed point by point; but first you can find some refutations:

For instance: “CCA claims represent more than 500 “independent doctors, scientists and health care practitioners,” but has not released the names or affiliations of its members” (Note. I found their website and, yep, no list)
“The video claims that animal testing was “skipped” during the vaccine’s development, leading to compromised safety. That is false. Pfizer-BioNTech tested the mRNA shot on rhesus macaques and that data was reviewed by Health Canada prior to authorization of the vaccine.”
“The video includes several clips of news broadcasts, including one from the Euro 2020 football tournament in which Danish footballer Eriksen collapsed on the pitch during a match against Finland on June 12, 2021. At the time, AFP investigated claims that Eriksen’s collapse was related to a Covid-19 vaccine, but the Danish Football Association and the director of his club Inter Milan said he had not been vaccinated.”
“multiple independent national regulatory agencies all over the world” are studying data from their populations — not the pharmaceutical companies — to make decisions about the safety of the Covid-19 vaccines.”
“The researcher said people should be skeptical of organizations like CCCA which fail to disclose the identities of their members and which may profit from prescribing Covid-19 treatments such as ivermectin that have not been shown to be effective in treating or preventing the disease.”
[Marisha Goldhamer (2022 Jan 3). Video repeats false claims about safety of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine. Yahoo news.]

I won’t go through their manipulation of statistics because I highly doubt you would understand; but I will point out several important points:

Yep, vaccine was given Emergency Use Authorization after 2 months of data. Having spent over 40 years studying and working as an epidemiologist, there is NO credible evidence of long term severe adverse events following a vaccine if they don’t show within first month or two. Is it possible an extremely rare genetic predisposition could result in severe adverse reaction after two months. Well, anything is possible; but highly unlikely and number would be very few, if any.

Yep, because of EUA, volunteers in clinical trial were offered vaccine in January and almost all opted for them; however, they continued in trial, though the placebo group (those who rejected offer of vaccine) was small; but could determine if any long term severe adverse events.

It would have been absurd to wait for three year end of trial when hospitals were being overwhelmed with patients, many long covid, many deaths. Given what I wrote about two months for determining severe adverse reactions and the difference in deaths between two groups, a smart move.

They play games with statistics. Bottom line is there were 77 cases of covid among vaccinated and 850 among unvaccinated. And “During the blinded, placebo-controlled period, 15 participants in the BNT162b2 group and 14 in the placebo group died; during the open label period, 3 participants in the BNT162b2 group and 2 in the original placebo group who received BNT162b2 after unblinding died.” Some of the causes of death were: arteriosclerosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer metastatic, shigella sepsis. None of these could possibly been caused by a vaccine. So, almost 800 more covid deaths in unvaccinated. Perhaps, you think this is trivial; but if you multiply it (about 30,000) times total population, easily several million deaths prevented in U.S., etc)
[S.J.Thomas et al. (2021 Nov 4). Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine through 6 Months. New England Journal of Medicine; 385: 1763-73.
S.J.Thomas et al. (2021 Nov 4). Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine through 6 Months. New England Journal of Medicine; 385: 1763-73. SUPPLEMENTARY APPENDIX]

And I found this:
“Doing Business As: Canadian Covid Care Alliance
Company Description: Canadian Covid Care Alliance is located in Toronto, ON, Canada and is part of the Health and Personal Care Stores Industry. Canadian Covid Care Alliance has 2 total employees across all of its locations and generates $651,200 in sales (USD).”
[Canadian Covid Care Alliance Company Profile | Toronto, ON, Canada | Competitors, Financials & Contacts – Dun & Bradstreet]

@ jlbatx

Oops! I wrote: “So, almost 800 more covid deaths in unvaccinated. Perhaps, you think this is trivial; but if you multiply it (about 30,000) times total population, easily several million deaths prevented in U.S., etc)”

Meant more cases; but we know from up-to-date data that almost ALL covid deaths since vaccines began were among unvaccinated. And the highest number of covid deaths have been in states/areas with lowest vaccinate rates. Two different stats, by state/area and actual data from hospitalized and patients who died.

jlbatx: “At least some healthcare professionals who care about safety did some more research: https://doctors4covidethics.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/end-covax.pdf

What research?

According to the PubMed scientific literature database, Bhakdi has not been an author on any papers related to Covid-19, either the disease or the vaccines. Burkhardt hasn’t published anything in the fields of infectious disease or vaccinology, and no papers at all since 2012.

[…] My last post of 2021 discussed how that had been the year that the old antivaccine tactic of “dumpster diving” in the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) database had been mainstreamed by antivaxxers as part of their ongoing efforts to portray COVID-19 vaccines as deadly. I was reminded of this earlier this week, when I learned of the death of Gayle DeLong, PhD. One reason is that Dr. DeLong’s passing reminded me of a phenomenon that has come to dominate bad science about COVID-19, specifically an expert in one discipline unrelated to vaccines and infectious disease thinking herself an “expert” in COVID-19 vaccines. […]

What’s the deal with the adverse effects per batch of the COVID19 vaccines, when grouped by batch number?

The VAERS data seems to show some batches causing a surprisingly high number of adverse effects (far more than typical flu vaccines) but then other batches (from the same pharma company) producing hardly any …

It would suggest the batches contain a varying concoction of ingredients.

If they are all manufactured by the same processes to the same standard, how is this divergence explained?

I’m sure there’ll be a perfectly rational explanation …

It was a man at the bar in the King’s Arms. He had a large black dog called Erwin.
I thought he was a pirate, because he would keep saying “Arrrr”, and the skull and crossbones on his cocked hat only reinforced the impression.

As he departed he said “This has hit the bullseye, and their dominoes will fall like a house of cards. It’s checkmate, me hearty”.

I had just gone out for a quiet drink …

Assuming this is true, it suggests that certain batches ended up in geographic areas that have a high number of vaccine-hesitant as well as anti-vaccine people. There would be a higher rate of reporting of supposed reactions, than in areas with less anti-vax rumours and propaganda. Might be interesting to compare batch number and VAERS data of Vermont vs Idaho, for instance.

Well … apparently whole batches were not shipped en masse to specific areas as a cohesive unit, but were further sub-divided and the sub-sets of the whole batch were diffused into multiple, wide-ranging areas.
In other words – it is perfectly possible that areas in both Vermont AND Idaho received sub-sets of the same batch ID.

So – this ought to smooth out regional variations of social affinity to the concept of vaccination?

All this is surely easily verifiable, because the pharma corps are required to record all this information, right? i.e. Mapping geographical location to batch ID: dates / locations / batch IDs.

Well … apparently whole batches were not shipped en masse to specific areas as a cohesive unit, but were further sub-divided and the sub-sets of the whole batch were diffused into multiple, wide-ranging areas

You know this for a fact? And have a reference as well? That would be nice.

Even if what you say is true, it is rather beside the point, since VAERS data is merely the starting point of the investigation into adverse effects from COVID vaccines.
.
Show me the follow up of these investigations, then we might have something to discuss.
.

@ Cthulhu

Or, it would imply that certain batches were distributed in areas with more people who monitor antivax websites, social media, etc., so more made reports to VAERS. VAERS is at best reports of suspected vaccine reactions, which in the vast majority of cases are found by investigation of the CDC to NOT be associated with vaccines. The number of reports to VAERS does NOT correlate even closely with CDC verified vaccine-associated serious adverse events. However, a few VAERS reports of serious adverse events have led to very early confirmed findings by CDC, so, despite the vast majority being wrong, VAERS does serve a vital function.

Hmm. I was under the impression that the vast majority of VAERS submissions were made by qualified medical personnel?

But in any case – I think batch IDs were further sub-divided and diffused to many different regions. See my response to TBruce.

The “hot vaccine lots” myth dies hard. From the W.H.O.:

“…vaccine lots are not the same. The sizes of vaccine lots might vary from several hundred thousand doses to several million, and some are in distribution much longer than others. Naturally, a larger lot or one that is in distribution for a longer period will be associated with more adverse events, simply by chance.”

Too bad (?) antivaxers have so little imagination that they have to endlessly recycle the same hoary old myths.

The lot size is a fair point – I made the assumption that the batches would contain the same number roughly. Also the “time in circulation” must be related to the batch size, unless these phials “go off” with prolonged time (in which case you would reasonably expect them to lose their potency, more than anything).

So – the VAERS counts associated with batches need to be weighted against the size of the batch, and without the actual numbers of shots per batch the counts per batch are fairly meaningless.

Point taken.

I’ll tell you what though: If Professor Moriarty and Uncle Fester REALLY HAD managed to somehow infiltrate the global pharma manufacturing chain to implement their World depopulation plan, having to watch you guys apologize to an angry yet smug bunch of anti-vax wingnuts would be absolutely priceless.
XD

@Cthulhu VAERS report do contain lot number
Interesting thing is that you go into fiction. Try actual arguments just for chance,

@ Cthulhu

You write: “Hmm. I was under the impression that the vast majority of VAERS submissions were made by qualified medical personnel?”

WRONG.

Well – OK, whatever.

But let’s say for arguments sake that the 4 points raised by the pirate in the pub were demonstrable true w.r.t. the COVID19 vaccine VAERS data. (I haven’t checked the data, personally):

There is a correlation between certain batch numbers and a high count of adverse reactions.
Some batches from the same manufacturer have negligible adverse reactions reported.
The highest counts are significantly higher than the highest counts for other “standard” flu vaccines.
The batches were sub-divided and widely distributed, thus eliminating the “regional vaccine affinity” bias.

What (if any) conclusions would you draw, if these points could be shown to be true?

I would say do a follow-up study using the VSD.

There are 10 studies for Covid-19 currently listed.

I think there was concern about one vaccine batch a few years ago, but I forget what the determination was.

It is an interesting hypothesis. One potential conclusion is that the vaccines are actually less problematic than previously thought. If some of the severe side effects linked to the vaccine are actually cased by issues related to production/purity etc., then they are not caused by the vaccine technology…
Are there any specific side effects linked to these ‘hot batches’?

I would also say that you’d need to be sure that the so called ‘hot batch’ numbers were not publicised before trusting the data. If someone highlighted a particular batch, even on just a couple of supposed bad reactions, the information can spread easily. Meaning, a reaction that might not have been suspected as linked gets a boost because it’s associated with a suspect batch.

I reckon that if I publicised the batch numbers, on social media, from my vaccination card as dangerous. There’d be a rush of people reporting all sorts of stuff.

Negative vaccine effectiveness is not uncommon. Was Public Health England in the Department of Health and Social Care an antivaxxer organization? Their reports on influenza vaccine effectiveness sure didn’t inspire confidence in influenza vaccine efficacy.

[…] I’ve written about the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) database many times, particularly how antivaxxers have weaponized its contents to falsely portray COVID-19 vaccines as deadly and, before the pandemic, to falsely link childhood vaccines with autism, infertility and premature ovarian insufficiency, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and more. It is a longstanding strategy that has been used by the antivaccine movement going back at least two decades. The reason for this is simple. As a passive reporting system into which anyone can enter any adverse event after vaccination (e.g., that a vaccine turned one into the Incredible Hulk), VAERS was never intended to provide an epidemiologically reliable estimate of the frequency of specific adverse reactions to vaccines. Rather it was intended to be a “canary in the coalmine”, a hypothesis-generating system in which increased reports of specific adverse events can raise safety signals that generate hypotheses. These hypotheses are then tested in more rigorous active reporting systems, such as the Vaccine Safety Datalink. Because of its nature, VAERS is subject to serious reporting bias, both under- and over-reporting depending on the specifics, and antivaxxers who incompetently analyze its contents (including sometimes even those who aren’t antivaccine) often fail to consider the underlying baseline rate of the various adverse events in the database. For example, the number of deaths reported after COVID-19 vaccination might seem alarmingly large until one takes into account how many people in the US die each and every day (over 3 million/year, or over 8,000/day), vaccination or no vaccination and estimates how many people would be expected to die sometime soon after a COVID-19 vaccination by random chance alone, particularly taking into account the various age groups. […]

[…] Combined with the speculative claims about biological mechanism is also an exercise in dumpster diving into the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) database in a manner very much like how Tracy Beth Høeg and other COVID-19 contrarians did for myocarditis last summer in an echo of how Mark and David Geier did it 16 years ago trying to “prove” that mercury in the thimerosal preservative that was used in some childhood vaccines until around 2001-2 caused autism, other antivaxxers tried to link the H1N1 vaccine to miscarriages (sound familiar?), and how Stephanie Seneff used the same deceptive technique to try to demonstrate in 2012 that aluminum adjuvants in vaccines and exposure to acetaminophen caused autism. Since COVID-19 vaccines hit the scene in December 2020, weaponization of VAERS reports has been a constant among antivaxxers. […]

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