When making a medical choice, check your facts–from a reputable source

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With many decisions being made daily around medical treatment, health, and keeping ourselves and our loved ones “safe”, many individuals opt to go online to research medications, vaccines as well as other therapies.  However, it is important to know whether your source is credible and whether or not the information that you are consuming is within context.

A recent article published by Reuters tackles this topic, and in particular, addresses some “facts” taken out of context, citing the U.S. Centers for Disease control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS).

The article points out, and quite correctly, that anyone can upload information to these sites, and cautions consumers, particularly when adverse reactions are being reported such as some posts that went viral on social media comparing adverse events and deaths between ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, flu vaccines, dexamethasone, Tylenol and COVID-19 vaccines, as reported by U.S. Centers for Disease control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) (click here and here to see posts);

“This is missing context: both the VAERS and FAERS websites make clear that the existence of a report in their system does not imply causation.”  It goes on to say, “Anyone can report events to VAERS (www.vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html), with a disclaimer on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) saying: “The reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable” (here).”

Reuters, reminds people to read the disclaimers that appear when they are accessing information.

“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).”

As the article was written in response to claims of adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccinations, comment was sought from the CDC.  Martha Sharon, from the CDC Vaccine Task Forced, COVID Response Public affairs team shared a page with Reuters which reads, in part,

“When a serious adverse event is reported, like death, CDC follows-up to get medical records, death certificates which specify the cause of death, and autopsy reports. CDC reviews these records and verifies the certified cause of death. Then does further analysis to see if there’s anything unusual or unexpected happening.”  It then continues, “A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records, has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines. (ie// A “plausible causal relationship” has been found between the Janssen vaccine and rare, serious blood clots that have caused deaths (here).”

The final word from Reuters?

“VERDICT

Misleading. The data shown for adverse events and deaths are from FAERS and VAERS data, which does not provide information on verified, causal cases. The information can be submitted by anyone and does not show causation.”

–with files from Reuters.com

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