Benefits Outweigh Risks of Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine, Contrary to Posts Misusing VAERS Data - FactCheck.org

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Viral social media posts continue to misuse the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System data, and flawed calculations, to claim the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children is unsafe and will cause many more deaths than it will prevent.
An FDA spokesperson told Reuters that said the agency "strongly disagrees" with that analysis, saying there is no evidence to suggest that the number of reported deaths are underestimated to "such a large degree."

The VAERS website acknowledges that underreporting is a limitation to this system. However, the "degree of underreporting varies widely." Minor side effects, such as soreness at the site of injection, are often not reported. "On the other hand, more serious and unexpected medical events are probably more likely to be reported than minor ones, especially when they occur soon after vaccination, even if they may be coincidental and related to other causes," the VAERS website says.

Rogers said he used reports of 128 fatalities in VAERS for those ages 12 to 24, because there wouldn't be data for kids ages 5 to 11 since the vaccine had just been authorized for that age group.

When we searched the VAERS database on Nov. 23, we found 30 reports of deaths for the age group 6 to 17 and another 124 reports for the age group 18 to 29. But as we said, the VAERS reports are unverified, and everyone is encouraged to report any post-vaccination event, even if it's unclear whether there's a connection to the vaccine. As an example of this, two of the deaths among the 6-to-17 age group were suicides.

"Just because somebody reports death doesn't mean that the vaccine caused the death. So we don't use VAERS to determine death rates or anything concerning death," a CDC spokesperson told us previously.

When a death is reported, the CDC investigates, using medical records, autopsy reports and death certificates. For example, the CDC says, "A review of reports indicates a causal relationship between the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and TTS, a rare and serious adverse event—that causes blood clots with low platelets—which has caused or directly contributed to six confirmed deaths." As of Nov. 17, more than 16.2 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the…
Lori Robertson, Jessica Mcdonald
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