Using and Misusing VAERS Reports

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is considered “an early warning system to detect possible safety issues with U.S. vaccines.”

Created as part of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act in 1990, anyone can report possible vaccine reactions to VAERS. Just remember that just because something is reported to VAERS and is included in the VAERS database, that doesn’t automatically mean that a vaccine caused the reaction.

Additional information is sometimes requested to further look into these reactions, including medical records. Again, it is important to understand that “It is generally not possible to find out from VAERS data if a vaccine caused the adverse event.”

For example, one study of VAERS reports found that only 3% of the adverse events following immunization “were classified as definitely causally related to vaccine received.”

Despite its limitations, VAERS works well.

It was using VAERS data that CDC and FDA vaccine experts quickly discovered that the older RotaShield rotavirus vaccine was associated with an increased risk of intussusception.

For more information:

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