If we go to a doctor or clinic for a vaccination, be it an influenza shot or a COVID-19 vaccine, we go with the expectation that it is safe.
We usually dismiss mild symptoms, such as headaches, fever, pain, and redness at the injection site, since we are typically informed of them beforehand and expect them to be transient in duration. Thankfully, most of the time, people recover from them and proceed with their lives as before.
However, since the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, a significant proportion of vaccinated people have experienced many unusual adverse events. Doctors are raising concerns. Public health officials and vaccine manufacturers are also addressing the high incidence of blood clots, myocarditis, pericarditis, and menstrual irregularities.
Yet, there are thousands more documented health conditions reported to the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)—some appearing very frequently—that have not yet been given the same level of attention.
Since their rollout, COVID-19 vaccines have prompted more VAERS adverse event reports than all VAERS reports made in the previous 30 years, comprising over 55 percent of vaccine injury and death reports. These reports have thousands of different adverse event labels.
Although nearly 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccine injury and death reports have been made to VAERS, studies say the true number of adverse reactions is many times higher. The 2005–2009 HHS-funded Harvard Pilgrim study found that less than 1 percent of adverse events following 1.4 million vaccines administered were reported to VAERS; several independent analysts estimate that only 2.5 percent of COVID vaccine adverse reactions are reported to VAERS.
The system is also notorious for its redundancy: injection site swelling, vaccine site swelling, and swelling are recorded as separate events, and a person reporting to the system may select one or all three events.
Another study found that more serious adverse events are more likely to be reported.
This article examines several now-common adverse events following COVID vaccination. The figures are from the most recent update on Nov. 18, 2022.
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