54% of US Voters Are Concerned About COVID Vaccine Side Effects: Why They Are Justified

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In Brief

  • The Facts:
    • A new survey found that 54% of likely US voters are concerned about COVID vaccine side effects.

    • The survey asked questions to 1000 US citizens via telephone and internet.

    • Data in vaccine adverse event reporting systems seem to justify people's concerns, however, not all take data in VAERS seriously.

  • Reflect On:
    • If the CDC tells citizens to report adverse events to VAERS, but the CDC does not investigate VAERS claims, what use is the reporting system?

    • If VAERS is not a reliable source, what is a reliable source for tracking nation wide adverse vaccine reactions?

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According to a new Rasmussen report, over 50% of likely US voters are concerned that COVID-19 vaccines could have harmful side effects, as a result, they opposed federal vaccine mandates.

A national telephone and online survey between Dec 1 and Dec 2 polled 1000 likely voting American’s and found that that 54% are worried over COVID vaccine side effects, with 27% of them considered very concerned. While 44% say they aren’t worried, with 19% stating they are not concern at all.

Currently in the US, 234,269,053 people (71% of the population) have received at least one dose, and 197,838,728 people (60% of the population) have been fully vaccinated.

Are They Justified?

I believe there is a signal coming from vaccine reporting systems that is justifying the feelings people have around vaccine safety. Instead of assuming people come to these conclusions from ‘online misinformation’, let’s explore what the data say.

Firstly, these 54% of voters are considered anti-vaxxers. Not just by mainstream media propaganda, but because the definition in the Miriam Webster dictionary for ‘anti-vaxxer is as follows: a person who opposes the use of vaccines or regulations mandating vaccination.

This sort of sentiment and propaganda has muddied the vaccine injury conversation around the globe and created a divisive culture we are living in. Instead of being curious, wishing to understand our fellow humans with an open heart, we have become tense, judgmental, and are holding our positions firmly.

To set a context for this sensemaking exercise, I invite you to keep in mind the following. A study from July 2021 by John P.A. Ioannidis concluded that your chances of dying from COVID if you are infected with it, in the following age groups is:

0-19 = 0.0027%
20-29 = 0.014%
30-39 = 0.031%
40-49 = 0.082%
50-59 = 0.27%
60-69 = 0.59%
70+ = 2.4%

These numbers represent infection fatality rates.

In the US, car accident mortality is 1 in 106, just under 1% according to The National Safety Council. But do we have a deep level of fear getting into a car everyday? Not really, yet our chances of dying from a car crash is similar to that of dying of COVID, but public sentiment around COVID mortality has created a great deal of fear that we’ve lost sense of relative risk.

When we lose sense of relative risk we lose a clear understanding of how to mitigate our risk, a basic human tendency that we use everyday. Risk mitigation is subjective. Not all of us are going to assess risk the same way, but that’s where autonomy of choice comes in.

Pfizer COVID vaccine trial data indicates severe adverse events are occurring in about 1.2% of people who are vaccinated. Perhaps those who are young, who’s chance of COVID death is extremely low, are assessing risk and saying “why take a vaccine that may be more risky than COVID itself?”

To explore more closely, in the US, the case mortality rate is 1.7% according to Johns Hopkins University, which means, if you get COVID, the observed chance of dying across all age groups combined is 1.7%. This includes 80+ year olds who have a 600X greater chance of death compared to 18 – 29 year olds for example.

Crude mortality rate would be much lower than 1.7% of course, as this rate also includes your risk of infection, which we don’t have clear numbers on but we know is not that high based on case numbers.

Here I’m comparing risk of death to severe injury, which isn’t entirely fair, but since crude mortality is so low for young people when it comes to COVID, the chances of severe injury combined with death from the vaccines are a reasonable comparison based on the data available. This is important as what humans are doing right now in making vaccine choices is assessing there risk.

A person would also have to consider how their choice affects others in their community, which is a fair statement to make. However, at the same time, others have to be able to respect that a person is putting themselves at risk when taking medical interventions, and thus people should have the right to assess that risk for themselves. The current COVID vaccines don’t stop transmission or infection, making them a symptom management tool, not ‘vaccines’ by classic definition.

Beyond the Pfizer data, do we know how safe the vaccine is? As of Dec 2021, according to the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), there have been 927,740 reported adverse events, with 57,143 of them being serious injuries. They have also been 8,986 recorded in the US.

VAERS reports are not verified, but it is all we have since the CDC tells doctors and citizens who experience problems with vaccines to report them to VAERS. We must take VAERS cases seriously as they are the signal that something is going wrong.

Then there is the issue of underreporting. How common is it?

In a grant final report titled “Electronic Support for Public Health–Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (ESP:VAERS)” from 2011, the authors Ross Lazarus, Michael Klompas, and Steve Bernstein report that:

“Preliminary data were collected from June 2006 through October 2009 on 715,000 patients, and 1.4 million doses (of 45 different vaccines) were given to 376,452 individuals. Of these doses, 35,570 possible reactions (2.6 percent of vaccinations) were identified. This is an average of 890 possible events, an average of 1.3 events per clinician, per month. These data were presented at the 2009 AMIA conference.

Adverse events from drugs and vaccines are common, but underreported. Although 25% of ambulatory patients experience an adverse drug event, less than 0.3% of all adverse drug events
and 1-13% of serious events are reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Likewise, fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported. Low reporting rates preclude or slow the identification of “problem” drugs and vaccines that endanger public health. New surveillance methods for drug and vaccine adverse effects are needed.”

Electronic Support for Public Health–Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (ESP:VAERS)

Since this report was finalized in 2011, the US government has known they have no reliable reporting system for vaccine injury, yet they have done nothing to improve the system or create a new one. Why?

As a side, and to reiterate, the only meaningful data returned so far from accurate vaccine reporting comes from Pfizer’s most recent interim report, where records show the Pfizer vaccine causes ‘severe adverse events’ in about 1.2% of those who received the vaccine.

Pfizer trial data from a recent Freedom of Information request states that serious adverse events can be facial paralysis otherwise known as Bell’s palsy, spontaneous abortion, heart attacks, myocarditis, seizures, brain hemorrhage etc.

Given these data points, no one can say with any form of certainty how common severe reactions are, making it a difficult topic to report on and discuss. To say vaccine events are ‘extremely rare’ would be inaccurate and disingenuous – because it can’t be known, and we have a signal from VAERS that needs our attention.

This is why the belief that things are black and white when it comes to the safety of vaccines, and that “the science is settled,” continues to be legitimately challenged in many ways, yet pro-vaccine advocates continually use ridicule and labels like “antivax conspiracy theory” in order to paint the perception that there are no issues. What is causing us to be so divided? Have we lost our sense of connection with one another?

For me, if the COVID vaccine was completely safe, effective & necessary to protect other people for the good of the planet, I’d be the first one in line. My heart is in the right place and so are the hearts of many others. So if anyone is going to entice me or others who are hesitant to take the shot, they’re going to have to provide good information, and not stick to ridicule.

The invitation here is for humans to embrace curiosity. Join one another with an open heart, side by side, and explore what is happening here so we can keep people as healthy and thriving as possible. The moment we believe we KNOW for sure, we get ourselves into trouble. Things become tense, divisive and this leads nowhere good.

Make an attempt to listen to those you might not agree with. How did they arrive at their conclusions? Ask them, understand their story their data and their worldview. Perhaps we can learn something from one another instead of just aggressively defending out beliefs.

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