For decades, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS, has been exploited by people opposed to vaccination. Here, we’ll explain how VAERS works and run through five misconceptions that anti-vaccination activists wield to mislead people about vaccines.
Health problems that are reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System after vaccination are not necessarily caused by a vaccine. Yet social media posts distorted a comment from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official about such reports to falsely say he admitted the vaccines cause “debilitating illnesses.”
A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that side effects such as a sore arm or headache following a booster dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were less frequent than after the second dose. But a Facebook video from a chiropractor misrepresents the report’s findings, the systems that record adverse events and the availability of information on those events.
Increase in COVID-19 VAERS Reports Due To Reporting Requirements, Intense Scrutiny of Widely Given Vaccines
Expanded reporting requirements and intense scrutiny of the hundreds of millions administered COVID-19 vaccine doses have driven record reporting of potential side effects to one of the government’s vaccine safety monitoring systems. Social media posts, however, have misleadingly insinuated that the increase in reports means the vaccines are unsafe.
There is no evidence that a door-to-door campaign to encourage vaccinations against COVID-19 means President Joe Biden and Democrats “are coming to your front door to force you to take the vax,” as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted. She also cited a figure for reported deaths after vaccination, which is not the same as deaths caused by vaccination.
The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System accepts any reports of adverse side effects following vaccination to help regulators detect potential problems. Anyone can submit a report, whether or not the incident is vaccine-related. Fox News host Tucker Carlson misrepresented the VAERS data to suggest that thousands have died from COVID-19 vaccines.