MILWAUKEE — Sen. Ron Johnson on Thursday attempted to take censors at Twitter to task for "blocking" an earlier tweet this week, citing data from the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) to highlight claims of adverse effects and deaths tied to current COVID-19 vaccines. A doctor is pushing back on those claims citing misuse of the data.
"Unsurprisingly, Twitter blocked my VAERS chart tweet," Sen. Johnson tweeted Thursday. "The numbers are from the CDC and FDA. CDC Dir. Walensky cited VAERS when asked where the public can get info about adverse events to COVID-19 vaccines. Why do the COVID gods consider CDC and FDA data 'misinformation'?"
VAERS is an open public reporting system where anyone may submit a report or claim about a vaccine, and while the CDC and FDA eventually analyze those reports from the public, only those initial, unverified reports are the ones the public can see on their website.
The website also clearly states that "reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable," and that the "number of reports alone cannot be interpreted or used to reach conclusions about the existence, severity, frequency, or rates of problems associated with vaccines."
"No vaccine in recent history has undergone the degree of examination and monitoring that the COVID-19 vaccines have," Dr. John Su, head of the VAERS team on the COVID-19 response and member of the CDC's Immunization Safety Office, said. "The more serious adverse events are really rare and I would encourage people to talk with their care providers to learn more about these vaccines, and of course the CDC's website as well. They're safe. Go get them."
Various anti-vaccination groups have continued to push out the unverified reports and data off the VAERS website since the pandemic began.
As for claims of "death after vaccination" based off VAERS data, healthcare providers are required to document any death after a vaccination, even if there's absolutely no link between the two (i.e. a death from a heart attack or cancer could technically be a "death after vaccination").
"Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem," according to the CDC's website. "More than 496 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from Dec. 14, 2020, through Dec. 20, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 10,688 reports of death (0.0022%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine."
"People choose what they want to report to VAERS and they choose how much information to provide," Dr. Su added. "So, there are some reporting biases and other potential limitations that don't allow VAERS to determine whether or not the reported adverse event was caused by the vaccine."
The entire interview may be viewed above.