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.)
“Dumpster diving” is a term used to describe studies using data from the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System database by authors, almost always antivaxxers, who don’t understand its limitations. Last week, non-antivax doctors who should know better fell into this trap when they promoted their study suggesting that COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are more dangerous to children than the disease.
With the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines continuing apace, so are the efforts of antivaxxers to portray the vaccines as dangerous. This time around, they’ve resurrected the old antivaccine trick of deceptively misusing the VAERS database to imply causation from VAERS reports. That’s not how VAERS works, however.
Antivaxxers have been publicizing reports of myocarditis in young people, mostly male, after COVID-19 vaccination. ACIP will be meeting to discuss these reports to the VAERS database today. Is there a connection between mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines and myocarditis?
Writing in The Guardian, Musa al-Gharbi tries to explain vaccine hesitancy to “the left.” Unfortunately, he parrots antivax conspiracy theories to do it.