Fact check: Reports of adverse effects in US database aren’t confirmed to be linked to vaccination
A video is being shared on social media that sees a presenter examining data from a US system that collects reports of adverse health events that follow the administration of a vaccine.
The video (here) features data collected by the US Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which is freely available to download (list of files here: here, an updated version of the dataset shown in the video can be downloaded here: here).
Anyone can report events to VAERS (vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html) and a disclaimer on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says: “The reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable” (here). When downloading the data, users are presented with a further disclaimer that the data does not include information from investigations into reported cases. The disclaimer also says “the inclusion of events in VAERS data does not imply causality” (here).
The presenter says she is looking at adverse reactions and deaths in people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine (timestamp 0.10) and then filters this data to show people who are reported to have died. She says this now shows only people who have died within seven days of receiving a vaccine. This is incorrect, there is no limit on reporting deaths related to adverse effects following a vaccine (here). The data includes deaths reported more than seven days after receiving a vaccine ( see VAERS ID 916890). As she scrolls through this filtered list, the presenter says: “These people did not survive the vaccine”.
However, on its website, the CDC says the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires vaccination providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS.
“Reports of death to VAERS following vaccination do not necessarily mean the vaccine caused the death,” it says.