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Health News Florida
News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida can help. Our responsibility is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Worried about vaccine side effects? Here's how the CDC's VAERS database works.

A vaccination center worker inoculates a woman with the Biontech vaccine against Covid-19 in Lower Saxony.
Moritz Frankenber
/
dpa/picture alliance via Getty I
Reports to VAERS come from doctors and health care systems as well as directly from the public. The information collected has been publicly available via the internet since 2001.

On Gulf Coast Life, we talk about the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System with Dr. Tom Shimabukuro, captain of the U.S. Public Health Service and deputy director of the CDC Immunization Safety Office.

Since 1990, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration have collected information about adverse reactions to immunizations through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS.

Reports to VAERS come from doctors and health care systems as well as directly from the public. The information collected has been publicly available via the internet since 2001.

Just because a negative reaction following a vaccination is included in the VAERS database, it doesn’t necessarily mean the reaction was caused by the vaccination. Reports of all serious reactions are followed up on to determine whether they were caused by the vaccine, or were coincidental.

Since the first COVID vaccines began being administered, the number of reports made to VAERS has spiked and include things like:

  • Anaphylaxis, a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.
  • Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia, which causes clots in large blood vessels and low platelet counts
  • Myocarditis and pericarditis, inflammations of the heart muscle or of the outer lining of the heart
  • Death.

On Gulf Coast Life, we talk about VAERS with Dr. Tom Shimabukuro, captain of the U.S. Public Health Service and deputy director of the CDC Immunization Safety Office. Click the Listen button above to hear the conversation.

Here's how reporting to VAERS works, what happens when serious adverse events are reported and the rates at which serious adverse events are happening following COVID vaccinations.

There are two ways to submit a report

1. Submit a VAERS Report online external icon (Preferred): The online VAERS report must be completed and submitted in the same session; it cannot be saved and edited at a later time. Note that sessions time out after 20 minutes of inactivity; no information is saved.

2. Download a Writable PDF Form and upload when ready external icon: The writable PDF form can be downloaded and completed on your own time. When ready, return to the VAERS Writable PDF page (use link above) and follow Step 2 instructions to upload the form.

More information on reporting an adverse event to VAERSexternal icon.

Further assistance, email info@VAERS.org or call 1-800-822-7967.

Copyright 2022 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.