Facts Matter! VAERS Offers None
To the Editor:
It always amazes me how anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists and right wingers use data from questionable organizations in an attempt to prove their outrageous claims. Alison Despathy’s letter in the October 22nd Edition of the Caledonian-Record is a textbook case of just that. Ms. Despathy clearly doesn’t understand that fact checking is as easy as a Google search these days. She uses the organization VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System) to validate her opinions. In short, VAERS’ use of facts is questionable at best. The Reuters News Agency has fact checked VAERS and here’s their conclusion “Posts show the number of VAERS deaths reported out of context to falsely claim that thousands of U.S. vaccine recipients who died after getting the vaccine, died as a result of getting the vaccine”. In other words, VAERS lies! Ms. Despathy fails to tell readers that anyone can post a claim on the VAERS website and also fails to print VAERS own disclaimer “reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable”. Honestly, would you trust your decision making to any website, organization or individual who had such a disclaimer???
Ms. Despathy’s statements about the swine flu vaccine are even more outrageous. Here are the facts. Nine states halted the swine flu vaccine after 3 elderly people died in close proximity to receiving the vaccine. Reputable Federal and State Health Departments stated at the time “there was no evidence that the deaths resulted from the vaccine”. NO EVIDENCE!
I applaud Ms. Despathy’s concern for our wellbeing. But it is clear that Ms. Despathy has no firsthand knowledge of what she reports; she is not a scientist; she holds no medical degrees; she does not work for any legitimate health organizations such as the CDC or Vermont Department of Health. Her entire case is based on what she reads from questionable websites and discredited “health” organizations. Moral of the story…GET VACCINATED!
Oh, and to answer Ron Pal’s question. NO!!!