When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna permission to distribute their experimental mRNA coronavirus vaccines to Americans on an “emergency use” basis in December, it opened the floodgates for other countries to quickly follow suit.
By Jan. 11, counting China and Russia, 43 countries had administered at least 26 million doses of vaccine — especially Pfizer’s — with far more ambitious plans for the coming year. The companies’ global delivery targets for 2021 include two billion Pfizer/BioNTech doses and at least 600 million Moderna shots.
Drawing on the tried-and-true marketing technique of drumming up the “illusion of scarcity” to “accelerate demand,” U.S. officials have been attempting to direct the public’s attention to the concocted drama of vaccine supply shortages and a slower-than-expected rollout.
However, as the early warning signs already apparent during clinical trials begin to translate into serious adverse reactions on a wider scale, officials now face a new public relations challenge — that of “managing expectations” to ensure population willingness to take the vaccine.
As more people hear about adverse events, and more adverse events occur — ranging from life-threatening anaphylaxis and emergency room visits to brain inflammation and death — “selling” the experimental injections may become an increasingly uphill battle.
Deaths … so far
In the U.S., the primary mechanism for reporting adverse reactions is the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a flawed passive surveillance system that relies on the willingness and ability of parents and professionals to submit reports voluntarily.
As Children’s Health Defense Chairman Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. wrote on Dec. 18, 2020 to the co-chair of the new COVID-19 Advisory Board, VAERS has been an abject failure, with fewer than 1% of adverse events ever reported, according to a 2010 federal study.
Given the abysmal track record of VAERS in capturing serious adverse events, it is noteworthy that 13 deaths — a subset of 3,916 total adverse events reported following COVID-19 vaccination — had already been recorded by the system by the end of December (as per the MedAlerts search engine).
Nine of the deaths followed the Pfizer vaccine and four followed the Moderna shot (see table below). Nearly all of the deceased were institutionalized (primarily in nursing homes), although one 63-year-old male received the injection at work.
Five (and possibly six) of the deaths occurred on the same day as vaccination, all in women and sometimes within 60 to 90 minutes of the injection — and without any “immediate adverse reaction” having been observed.
The reports describe outcomes ranging from “foaming at the mouth” to “massive heart attacks.” Three of the deceased were in their early to mid-60s. Read full article >