WorldNetDaily has been one of the biggest purveyors of a particular bit of COVID misinformation: that the federal government's VAERS database is proven, verified documentation of direct links between vaccines and claimed side effects. In a Nov. 20 WND article, Art Moore is trying a new reinterpretation, deliberately misinterpreting numbers from a different database while reframing its VAERS conspiracy. He stated this way:
A total of 30,551 fatalities and 1.1 million adverse events due to COVID-19 vaccines have been reported by the European Union's official database.
The European Medicines Agency site's figures, through Nov. 13, are from reports regarding the Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AztraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.
The U.S. reporting site, the the CDC's Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System, or VAERS, has reported 18,853 deaths and 1.7 million adverse events through Nov. 12.
But as with VAERS, that claim -- made about EMA's EudraVigilance database -- is not true. As an actual fact-checker found:
Reuters presented the claims to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which said: “The data circulating in many articles and social media posts are incorrect.”
“The collection of all reports of suspected adverse drug reactions is one of the pillars of the EU safety monitoring system,” the EMA told Reuters by email. “Spontaneous reporting serves as a tool to detect unusual or unexpected issues related to the use of a vaccine which may require further investigation and risk assessment.
“Reports of suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) alone are rarely sufficient to prove that a certain suspected reaction has been caused by a specific medicine, i.e. a COVID-19 vaccine. EMA’s detailed assessments take into account all available data from all sources (clinical trials, medical literature, observational studies, etc.) to draw a robust conclusion on the safety of the vaccine.
“For most medicines and vaccines, the vast majority of suspected side effects are not eventually confirmed as side effects. For cases with fatal outcome, it is difficult to state with certainty the real cause of death even if all data, including autopsy results, are available. Please note that it is not EMA’s role to adjudicate the cause of death.”
According to the EMA’s website, the safety of COVID-19 vaccines is continuously monitored and evaluated – and have been found to be “safe and effective”.
Moore followed that with grudgingly acknowledging that VAERS isn't what WND's conspiracy-mongerers have repeatedly insisted it was -- but he then tried to fashion a new conspiracy:
The U.S. Health and Human Services Department points out that a VAERS report is not documentation that a link has been established between a vaccine and an adverse event.
However, HHS also notes that VAERS is a "passive" system of reporting, and it "receives reports for only a small fraction of actual adverse events." Many health care workers have disclosed they are instructed by their superiors not to report to VAERS any harm caused by COVID vaccines.
And the website OpenVAERS, which compiles summaries of the data on VAERS, points to an analysis known as the "Lazarus Report," which concluded VAERS represents only 1% of vaccine injuries.
But that report covers only a period of time from 2007 to 2010, and says nothing about the reporting rate of suspected COVID vaccine side effects.And Moore's source for this claim, OpenVAERS, is a misinformation-laden website run by a California woman who won't talk to reporters that plucks unverified medical data out of contexts to cater to anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorists like Moore.
That's not the only bit of misinformation Moore has spread regarding across-the-pond statistics. He wrote in a Nov. 23 article:
Vaccinated people under age 60 are dying from all causes at twice the rate of the unvaccinated in the United Kingdom, according to data compiled by the British government.
"I don’t know how to explain this other than vaccine-caused mortality," wrote former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson on his Substack page.
But Reuters also detailed how Berenson misled in pushing these statistics:
Indeed, of 1,521 over-80s who died from COVID-19 during this time, 1,272 were fully vaccinated, the data shows. Forty-three had received one vaccine dose, while 198 were unvaccinated. Meanwhile, 607 out of 801 70 to 79-year-olds who died from COVID-19 had received two vaccine doses (164 hadn’t been vaccinated) and of 411 60- to 69-year-olds, 258 were fully vaccinated (125 were unvaccinated).
However, the numbers alone miss the context necessary to understand the impact of COVID-19 vaccines. This data does not show that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are more likely to die from the virus.
When much of a population has been vaccinated, most infections and deaths are “expected to be among those vaccinated”, Dr Muge Cevik, a clinical lecturer in infectious diseases and medical virology at the University of St Andrews, previously told Reuters (here).
On Sept. 19, 64.9% of over-16s in England had received one vaccine dose, with 59.5% having also received the second, according to the document.
When adjusted proportionally to display the rate per 100,000 people in all age groups, the number of COVID-19 deaths is higher in the unvaccinated population than in the vaccinated population, the data shows.