What the reporting system shows about reactions to the COVID vaccine in CT


Of the nearly 39,000 adverse reactions from COVID-19 vaccines reported in Connecticut, the most common is headache, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.

VAERS allows doctors and patients to submit reactions, called “adverse events”, related to vaccines.

In Connecticut, 38,915 of these COVID-19 vaccine reactions were submitted.

“When I fell asleep it was like a ton of bricks,” says a report. Another reported dizziness, chattering teeth, headaches, chills, fatigue and a “feeling of weariness”. One patient said: “I feel weird, a little high; Metallic taste. “

Research in data reveals reports of ‘bumps around the perimeter of my tongue’, multiple cases of sore arms, vision in the right eye becoming ‘blurry’ with ‘flashes of color’ and thousands more reactions.

There are 314 reports of “feeling abnormal”, 262 cases of diarrhea, 250 cases of malaise, 228 cases of tinnitus, 57 cases of “seizures” and many more.

VAERS reports consist of 8,565 individual event types, although many are similar. For example, there are 1,216 reports of “pain”, 1,002 reports of “pain in extremity” and 514 reports of “pain at injection site”.

“Someone said he was vaccinated against COVID and it turned his patient into the Incredible Hulk,” said Rick Martinello, infectious disease manager at Yale New Haven Health. “From what I understand, it’s in the dataset now.”

The public nature of the reporting system means the data “should be interpreted with a grain of salt,” said Asha Shah, director of infectious diseases at Stamford Health. “VAERS is an open forum. “

Another problem is causation. A patient can fall after being vaccinated, but there may not be a relationship between the two events.

This is likely the case with the 11 reports of spontaneous abortion, Martinello said.

“It’s important to know that spontaneous abortions are incredibly common,” he said. “And, in fact, this has been formally studied, and they found no greater risk of spontaneous abortions in vaccinees compared to non-recipients. No significant difference.

Shah also said that the “denominator” is important. She said there had been more than 5.5 million individual vaccine doses administered in Connecticut. According to VAERS data, there have been 35 reports of myocarditis, and “35 out of 5.5 million is a very small percentage,” she said.

“There are over 85,000 people we have vaccinated in our sites, there were no immediate reactions,” she said. “Side effects happen, adverse events happen. This is the case with any treatment. Nothing is risk free, but I think it is clear that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Colleen Teevan, as Manager of the Clinical Pharmacy Program, is responsible for capturing all adverse events reported to Hartford HealthCare vaccinators. She said the number of adverse events “goes up and down”.

“As new age groups are approved or new boosters are approved, they tend to increase because we are just vaccinating more people,” she said. “In total, what we’ve reported since we started administering vaccines is 750 events in total. And we have administered over 500,000 vaccines.

Teevan acts as a sort of clearinghouse for this data, using her judgment on the events she reports.

“Anything that brings a patient to the hospital or emergency room, I tend to point it out,” she said. “While things that are expected of vaccines like the next day, people will sometimes have aches, fever or chills, which I don’t report because we only have a lot of these reports. “

There are those reactions that concern Teevan, such as reports of high blood pressure and faster heartbeat, although she said, “Often these end up being associated with other underlying conditions of the heart. patient”.

“Because vaccines are all very new and we’re still collecting data about them, anything that is significant like that, or seems odd and can’t be attributed to anything else, the ones I’m pointing out just in case,” she declared. noted.

Despite the fact that the VAERS data is not verified, Martinello said it has some value.

“What Health and Human Services does is they are constantly reviewing this dataset to see if there are any worrying signals about the issues,” he said. “Especially if there is something like a death, they will devote more resources to the investigation.”

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine hiatus earlier this year was the result of reports in VAERS data, which showed six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot.

“Using the statistics, they can actually identify hypotheses from that, which they can then examine in a more formal way,” Martienllo said. “So this is a data set that generates hypotheses and not the one that should be used to draw conclusions. “

Shah said this is “useful data, but it should be interpreted with caution.”

While she said, “It’s good to have a national surveillance system,” Shah does not use VAERS data to make medical decisions.

“I tend to use clinical trial data, things that are more peer reviewed, to guide any clinical response or direction,” she said.


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