The New York Times explained Twitter’s decision to permanently ban Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene in an article on Sunday. That article also discussed VAERS — the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System — as a “decades-old system” that relies on self-reported cases from patients and health care providers.
The Times wrote that Greene pulled information from a “government database of unverified raw data.”
VAERS, it reported, is managed by the FDA and CDC.
“(VAERS) has been cited in many coronavirus falsehoods to push the idea that side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines have been underreported,” the Times wrote. “A spokeswoman for the FDA declined to comment, but pointed to an overview of the VAERS database on the FDA’s website that said VAERS reports ‘generally cannot be used to determine if a vaccine caused or contributed to an adverse event or illness.”
For what it is worth, research shows fewer than one percent of vaccine reactions are actually reported to VAERS.
In addition, a 2005 survey was conducted to assess knowledge, attitudes and practices among healthcare providers about reporting to VAERS. While 71 percent of respondents were familiar with VAERS, only 17 percent said they were very familiar. While 37 percent of providers had identified at least one adverse event after immunization, only 17 percent stated they had ever reported to VAERS.
While the New York Times is focused on minimizing the importance of VAERS and questioning its value, essentially, this is taken from a publication on the CDC’s website:
“Despite its limitations, VAERS is useful in that it generates signals that trigger further investigations. VAERS can detect unusual increases in previously reported events. As noted earlier, the sentinel role of VAERS is particularly significant for newly licensed vaccines, as evidenced in 2009 by the VAERS publication of the first summary of post-licensure H1N1 pandemic influenza safety data.”