Updated: September 27, 2021 12:30 PM
Created: September 27, 2021 08:57 AM
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has received calls asking us to look into an online tool to monitor COVID-19 shots and other vaccinations.
Unverified information on social media is claiming it shows the COVID-19 vaccines are causing thousands of deaths. However, those numbers are missing important context.
It's all based off of a website that uses data from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention system called Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS.
If you scroll down a bit on its website, you'll see a list of the top six things to know about VAERS.
Among them, it says VAERS accepts reports from anyone, including patients, family members, health care providers and vaccine manufacturers.
With that in mind, the CDC reports out of more than 386 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines given from Dec. 14, 2020, until Sept. 20, 2021, there have been 7,899 reports of death among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine.
Important to note: The CDC says that VAERS reporting of adverse events following vaccination, including deaths, does not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem. That information is found via the CDC's "Selected Adverse Events Reported after COVID-19 Vaccination" webpage here.
The CDC says information in those reports can include incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverified information.
A guide to interpreting VAERS data, via the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, states the following:
When evaluating data from VAERS, it is important to note that for any reported event, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established. Reports of all possible associations between vaccines and adverse events (possible side effects) are filed in VAERS. Therefore, VAERS collects data on any adverse event following vaccination, be it coincidental or truly caused by a vaccine. The report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has received emails and calls pointing to a different website called OpenVAERS, which is not a government-run website.
It shows nearly twice as many deaths at more than 15,000.
But that website has a disclaimer at the top showing that its default data reflects all VAERS data, including reports from other countries.
In the United States, that website shows 6,981 reports of deaths.
Those listed on this site were not necessarily caused by the vaccine.
They just occurred after someone was vaccinated but could have been caused by a different medical condition.
Also, anyone can report a death to the site, and it is posted without verification whether it's accurate.
The OpenVAERS website does have a frequently asked question section that says it was developed by a small team of people with vaccine injuries or children with vaccine injuries.
Again, it's important to note the CDC warns the vaccine did not necessarily cause the deaths listed on this site. They happened to occur after someone was vaccinated but could've been caused by a different medical condition.
Also, again, anyone can report a death to the site and post it without verification, whether it's accurate.
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