Florida Health Department Issues COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Alert

Health officials say the state observed a 1,700% increase in VAERS reports after the COVID-19 vaccine became available, compared to a 400% increase in vaccine reports overall during the same timeframe.

On February 15, the Florida Health Department released a statement alerting public health professionals and the general public of a substantial increase in VAERS, or the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, reports following the release of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

VAERS is a national early warning system established in 1990 to detect safety issues with United States-licensed vaccines. The system is passive, meaning that anyone can report an adverse event.

Though VAERS does not determine whether a specific vaccine caused a health problem, it can help health officials identify vaccine-related safety concerns.

According to the statement, in 2020, adverse vaccine event reports submitted to VAERS from people in Florida totaled 2,466. In 2021, that number jumped to 41,473.

Although VAERS reports fell to 9,104 in 2022, Florida health officials say that this data shows "a 1,700% increase in VAERS reports after the release of the COVID-19 vaccine, compared to an increase of 400% in overall vaccine administration for the same time period."

Additionally, reports of life-threatening health conditions increased by over 4,400%.

Florida health officials also note that this increase in VAERS reports is new and was not observed during the 2009 H1N1 vaccine rollout.

In addition, the statement highlights three studies linking the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines to adverse heart-related events, Bell’s palsy, and thromboembolic and thrombocytopenic events.

In the alert, the Florida Department of Health states:

"To support transparency, the State of Florida reminds healthcare providers to accurately communicate the risks and benefits of all clinical interventions to their patients, including those associated with the COVID-19 vaccine as additional risks continue to be identified and disclosed to the public."

Also on February 15, Florida State Surgeon General Joseph A. Ladapo, M.D., Ph.D., sent a letter addressing the issue to Robert M. Califf M.D., Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D, M.P.H., Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"In addition to Florida's analysis of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, academic researchers throughout our country and around the globe have seen troubling safety signals of adverse events surrounding this vaccine. Their concerns are corroborated by the substantial increase in VAERS reports from Florida, including life-threatening conditions. We have never seen this type of response following previous mass vaccination efforts pushed by the federal government," Ladapo wrote.

"These findings are unlikely to be related to changes in reporting given their magnitude, and more likely reflect a pattern of increased risk from mRNA COVID-19 vaccines," Ladapo adds. "To claim these vaccines are 'safe and effective' while minimizing and disregarding the adverse events is unconscionable."

Ladapo’s letter to the FDA and CDC also expressed the need for unbiased research to better understand the COVID-19 vaccines' short- and long-term effects.

"I request that your agencies promote transparency in health care professionals to accurately communicate the risks these vaccines pose. I request that you work to protect the rights and liberties that we are endowed with, not restrict, and diminish them," Ladapo states.

However, former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, M.D., refuted Ladapo’s claims in a February 19 Tweet, stating that the Florida Surgeon General "draws wrong conclusions from COVID data in his vaccine warning."

The first COVID-19 vaccine — Pfizer-BioNTech — was available under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) on December 11, 2020, to people 16 years or older. On May 10, 2021, the EUA expanded to include adolescents aged 12 to 15. However, the FDA officially approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine on August 23, 2021.

According to the CDC, all available COVID vaccines continue to undergo intensive safety monitoring to ensure they are safe. The agency also says serious side effects are rare after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Therefore, the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks.

The Florida Department of Health told Healthnews the CDC and FDA have not responded formally to the health alert or Ladapo's letter.


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