PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

Confusion over VAERS: Why the vaccine safety reporting system should be renamed

Confusion over VAERS:  Why the vaccine safety reporting system should be renamed
2023-05-24
(Press-News.org) PHILADELPHIA – The federal health system for reporting “adverse events” after vaccination, known as VAERS, is designed to assist in the early detection of complications and responsive action. But when the pandemic and advent of new vaccines for Covid-19 turned a spotlight on this formerly little-known system, the flood of web and social media references to it was accompanied by confusion about what the system is and what the reports in it signify.

A new report from the Annenberg Public Policy Center examines misconceptions about the government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS. The report urges the government agencies that manage the system to change its name to a clearer alternative such as “Vaccination Safety Monitor” or “Vaccination Safety Watch,” and make additional changes to reduce the likelihood its information will be misinterpreted or misused.

“Minimizing public susceptibility to misconceptions about the effects of vaccination: Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS),” is the first in a series of case studies produced by the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) of the University of Pennsylvania in partnership with Critica, a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve public understanding and acceptance of scientific evidence and counteract health- and science-related misinformation.

“As we’ve seen during the pandemic, public susceptibility to misconceptions about vaccination is increased by confusion about the nature of events reported to VAERS,” Jamieson said. “For example, nearly three-quarters of the public does not know that deaths reported to VAERS are not confirmed to have been caused by the Covid-19 vaccine. The recommendations in our report would help to clarify what this reporting system is and does.” 

What is VAERS? VAERS is a national program managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to “monitor the safety of all vaccines licensed in the United States,” the CDC says. The program “collects and reviews reports of adverse events that occur after vaccination,” including deaths.

Anyone can submit a report to VAERS. The presence of a report in VAERS does not mean it is vaccine-caused. As noted in the Annenberg report, the CDC says VAERS reports “may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable.”

To illustrate this point, one doctor famously reported to VAERS that after getting a flu shot, “his skin turned green, his muscles grew and he started having rage problems,” signs that he may have been turning into the Marvel Comics superhero the Incredible Hulk. That report was flagged for its unusual nature, investigated, and removed with the doctor’s consent.

Confusion about VAERS There were few references to VAERS in digital media until November 2020, when the public learned that vaccines were on track to be authorized to fight Covid-19. After that point, web references to VAERS and public interactions with that content greatly increased.

Yet nearly two years later, there remained vast public confusion about what VAERS is and does. In a nationally representative August 2022 APPC survey, nearly two-third of U.S. adults (63%) were not sure whether deaths reported by VAERS were confirmed or not confirmed to have been caused by Covid-19 vaccination, and another 10% said, incorrectly, that VAERS deaths were confirmed to have been caused by Covid vaccination. Only a quarter of U.S. adults (27%) knew that VAERS deaths were not confirmed to have been caused by Covid vaccination.

An analysis of April 2022 APPC survey data found that the belief that deaths reported in VAERS are confirmed to have been caused by Covid-19 vaccines is positively associated with the belief that these vaccines are responsible for thousands of U.S. deaths. Among the people who believe that VAERS deaths are confirmed to be vaccine-caused, over half also believe that Covid-19 vaccines are responsible for thousands of deaths.

Recommendations To clear up the public confusion surrounding VAERS, the Annenberg report recommends a series of steps:

Change the name of VAERS to “Vaccine Safety Watch: Incident Reporting System.” Pending a name change, routinely point to VAERS’ clarifying subtitle, “A National Program for Monitoring Vaccine Safety.” Routinely describe the data as raw or unconfirmed. In all public statements, reiterate that VAERS data are unverified. To read more about these findings, download the report here.

Some of the research included in the report was conducted as part of a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed in the report do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center was established in 1993 to educate the public and policy makers about communication’s role in advancing public understanding of political, science, and health issues at the local, state, and federal levels.

Critica is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop and test new methods of advancing public acceptance of scientific evidence, counteracting scientific misinformation, and promoting the use of scientific evidence in public policymaking.

END

[Attachments] See images for this press release:
Confusion over VAERS:  Why the vaccine safety reporting system should be renamed

ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

A better way to match 3D volumes

A better way to match 3D volumes
2023-05-24
CAMBRIDGE, MA — In computer graphics and computer-aided design (CAD), 3D objects are often represented by the contours of their outer surfaces. Computers store these shapes as “thin shells,” which model the contours of the skin of an animated character but not the flesh underneath. This modeling decision makes it efficient to store and manipulate 3D shapes, but it can lead to unexpected artifacts. An animated character’s hand, for example, might crumple when bending its fingers — a motion that resembles how an empty rubber glove deforms rather than the motion of a hand filled with bones, tendons, ...

Chemical Insights Research Institute and the Campus Safety, Health, and Environmental Management Association publish guidance for the safe use of 3D printing in institutions of higher education

2023-05-24
Atlanta (May 24, 2023) - Chemical Insights Research Institute (CIRI) of UL Research Institutes and the Campus Safety, Health, and Environmental Management Association (CSHEMA), announce the publication of, “UL 200B: Guidance Document for Safe Use of 3D Printing for Institutions of Higher Education.” The availability of 3D printing has fostered creative and innovative learning experiences for many within the large population of students in higher education. There are roughly 17.3 million undergraduates in the U.S. alone. Because 3D printers are affordable compact, and user friendly, they can ...

SWI/SNF complexes “bookmark” cell identity during division

SWI/SNF complexes “bookmark” cell identity during division
2023-05-24
(Memphis, Tenn.—May 24, 2023) When a cell divides, it retains information about how to grow and instructions about what type of cell to become. Scientists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have gained a new understanding of how these processes can work, revealing a previously unappreciated role for the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex. The study was published today in Nature. When a cell undergoes differentiation, stem cells (the earliest cells that develop) undergo changes that transform them into a different type of cell, typically one with a more specialized function (such as a skin or muscle cell). As ...

Watching molecules relax in real time

Watching molecules relax in real time
2023-05-24
– By Rachel Berkowitz Designing the next generation of efficient energy conversion devices for powering our electronics and heating our homes requires a detailed understanding of how molecules move and vibrate while undergoing light-induced chemical reactions. Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have now visualized the distortions of chemical bonds in a methane molecule after it absorbs light, loses an electron, and then relaxes. Their study provides insights into how molecules react to light, which can ultimately be useful for developing new methods ...

Announcing the Johnson & Johnson nursing innovation fellows

2023-05-24
PHILADELPHIA (May 24, 2023) – The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing is pleased to announce that ten teams from health systems around the country have been selected for the Johnson & Johnson Nurse Innovation Fellowship Program (JJNIF), powered by Penn Nursing and the Wharton School–a ground-breaking, one-year, team-based nursing fellowship for Chief Nursing Officers, nurse executives, and senior nurse leaders. The fellowship is unique in that two nurse leaders – one Chief Nursing Officer or nurse executive and one other senior ...

Tambourine announces the ALS breakthrough research fund, releases inaugural request for proposals

2023-05-24
Washington, DC (May 24) – Tambourine, in partnership with the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy, today announced the ALS Breakthrough Research Fund and released the Fund’s first Request for Proposals (RFP). The Fund seeks to change how we understand and treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) by supporting innovative basic and discovery-focused research around the world. It particularly focuses on soliciting and funding creative, high-risk, high-reward ideas that might not otherwise fit existing grant programs but hold the potential to ...

MD Anderson Research Highlights for May 24, 2023

2023-05-24
HOUSTON ― The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Research Highlights showcases the latest breakthroughs in cancer care, research and prevention. These advances are made possible through seamless collaboration between MD Anderson’s world-leading clinicians and scientists, bringing discoveries from the lab to the clinic and back. Recent developments include a new treatment option for relapsed/refractory mantle cell lymphoma, a better understanding of protein variants that trigger tumor cell death and activate ...

Study finds daily multivitamin supplements improved memory and slowed cognitive aging in older adults

2023-05-24
Few effective strategies have been shown in randomized clinical trials to improve memory or slow cognitive decline among older adults. Nutritional interventions may play an important role because the brain requires several nutrients for optimal health, and deficiencies in one or more of these nutrients may accelerate cognitive decline. The COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS), a large-scale nation-wide randomized trial directed by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), a founding member of Mass General Brigham, included two separate clinical trials ...

New chemical compound demonstrates potential in nerve regeneration

2023-05-24
Research led by UCL, in partnership with the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (MRC LMB) and AstraZeneca, has identified a new compound that can stimulate nerve regeneration after injury, as well as protect cardiac tissue from the sort of damage seen in heart attack. The study, published in Nature, identified a chemical compound, named ‘1938’, that activates the PI3K signalling pathway, and is involved in cell growth. Results from this early research showed the compound increased neuron growth in nerve cells, and in animal models, it reduced heart tissue damage after major trauma and regenerated lost motor function in a model of nerve injury. Though further research is ...

New research finds dramatic increase in illegal ketamine seized by authorities, sparking concern about potential dangers of rising recreational use

2023-05-24
A new analysis led by NYU Grossman School of Medicine and the National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) at the University of Florida found a 349 percent rise in seizures of illicit ketamine by drug enforcement throughout the United States from 2017 through 2022. The study findings suggest that rising use of ketamine, a short-acting dissociative anesthetic commonly prescribed off-label to treat chronic pain and depression, can increase the likelihood that people who use recreationally or who use inadvertently may encounter an adulterated and potentially harmful version of the drug. The study publishes online May 24 in JAMA Psychiatry. “This ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

Federal Trade Commission actions on prescription drugs, 2000-2022

Fluoride exposure during pregnancy linked to increased risk of childhood neurobehavioral problems, study finds

The Ukraine war caused migrating eagles to deviate from their usual flight plan

Endangered migrating eagles impacted by Ukraine war

Study explores association between fluoride exposure in pregnancy and neurobehavioral issues in young children

Using magnetic resonance spectroscopy to design safer, higher-performance lithium batteries

Should your exercise goals be in minutes or steps? Study suggests they are equally beneficial

Racial and ethnic inequities in cancer care continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic among those with SARS-CoV-2

Effect of sleep restriction on adolescent cognition by adiposity

Webb Telescope offers first glimpse of an exoplanet’s interior

Alkyl-aromatic hybrid micelles formed from emergent umbrella-shaped molecules

First study from the African Ancestry Neuroscience Research Initiative identifies key genes in the brain that account for higher rates of some brain disorders in Black Americans

NIH awards Coast-to-Coast Consortium $5.6 million for All of Us Research Program

Ben-Gurion University scientist hunts for drug candidate to treat brain tumors

New Health Blueprint maps healthier future for rural, underserved Southwest Virginia

Survival benefit associated with participation in clinical trials of anticancer drugs

Expanding on the fundamental principles of liquid movement

Chemical Insights Research Institute partners with Duke University and the East-West Center to examine dust and ash from devastating Hawai’ian wildfires

NCCN publishes new resource for patients with intestinal cancer type most have never heard of before diagnosis

Subduction zone splay faults compound hazards of great earthquakes

Record low Antarctic sea ice ‘extremely unlikely’ without climate change

After hundreds of years, study confirms Bermuda now home to cownose rays

Scientists uncover promising treatment target for resistant brain cancer

Revolutionizing cancer treatment by intracellular protein delivery using hybrid nanotubes

Chemist Julian West makes C&EN magazine’s ‘Talented 12’ list

Robot-phobia could exasperate hotel, restaurant labor shortage

Study offers new detail on how COVID-19 affects the lungs

Body’s ‘message in a bottle’ delivers targeted cancer treatment

1 in 4 parents say their teen consumes caffeine daily or nearly every day

What makes some brown algae shimmer and others not?

[Press-News.org] Confusion over VAERS: Why the vaccine safety reporting system should be renamed