Journalist inaccurately reports VAERS data

In a post that has been widely shared on social media, a former New York Times reporter is claiming that a person is 300 to 900 times more likely to die from a COVID-19 vaccine than the flu vaccine. This conclusion was made using data from the Vaccine Adverse Reporting System (VAERS). This post continues a trend of incorrectly using self-reported VAERS data to draw causal links between vaccines and adverse health events. The VAERS is a passive surveillance system in which any individual can self-report any health problem following self-reported immunization. VAERS is the official US vaccine adverse event reporting system, maintained and monitored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. However, reports to the VAERS do not determine if a vaccine caused a reaction or death; if a report is found to have merit, it begins the first of many subsequent steps taken by health officials to investigate adverse events.

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