NVIC: Information that’s not. Exhibit B.

So I’ve already told you about VAERS and how it’s not really true “evidence” of how mean and bad vaccines can be (because they’re not). I also told you that the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) takes information on vaccines and seems to only be presenting you, the consumer, with the bad parts about vaccines. Very seldom do they present the good side of vaccines. In fact, I’m yet to read anything from them that shows how vaccines have vanquished two viruses (one very bad for humans and one bad for cattle) and reduced the incidence of some very horrible diseases. For exhibit B in this little “indictment”, let’s look at how they misuse VAERS data themselves.
First, let’s look at the official page for VAERS, which you can find here. It has several sections. First, the guide to interpreting the data:

“When evaluating data from VAERS, it is important to note that for any reported event, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established. Reports of all possible associations between vaccines and adverse events (possible side effects) are filed in VAERS. Therefore, VAERS collects data on any adverse event following vaccination, be it coincidental or truly caused by a vaccine. The report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event.”

Did you read that? It reads “any adverse event following vaccination, be it coincidental or truly caused by a vaccine”. Furthermore, just to re-emphacize, a “report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event“. One more time, just to be clear: is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event. And again: is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event.

Are we clear?

This is what the NVIC page about VAERS, with access to the data, has to say about VAERS:

Oh, they’ll send you to the official link, like I did, but no where do they say that reports are not documentation that vaccines caused the events. Of course not. Also not that they write that the reports are of “adverse health events that follow the administration of vaccines”.

Let’s continue our comparison.

The official page reads the following:

“More than 10 million vaccines per year are given to children less than 1 year old, usually between 2 and 6 months of age. At this age, infants are at greatest risk for certain medical adverse events, including high fevers, seizures, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Some infants will experience these medical events shortly after a vaccination by coincidence.
These coincidences make it difficult to know whether a particular adverse event resulted from a medical condition or from a vaccination. Therefore, vaccine providers are encouraged to report all adverse events following vaccination, whether or not they believe the vaccination was the cause.”

Did you catch that last part? They state that “vaccine providers are encouraged to report all adverse events following vaccination, whether or not they believe that vaccination was the cause.” Again, “whether or not they believe that the vaccination was the cause”.

NVIC? What do they say about causality?

Well, nothing. The two previous screenshots are all that NVIC has to say about causality as it relates to VAERS reports. Well, all they have to say before you access the data.

CDC, on the other hand, has one more section for you to read:

“When reviewing data from VAERS, please keep in mind the following limitations: VAERS is a passive reporting system, meaning that reports about adverse events are not automatically collected, but require a report to be filed to VAERS. VAERS reports can be submitted voluntarily by anyone, including healthcare providers, patients, or family members. Reports vary in quality and completeness. They often lack details and sometimes can have information that contains errors.
 “Underreporting” is one of the main limitations of passive surveillance systems, including VAERS. The term, underreporting refers to the fact that VAERS receives reports for only a small fraction of actual adverse events. The degree of underreporting varies widely. As an example, a great many of the millions of vaccinations administered each year by injection cause soreness, but relatively few of these episodes lead to a VAERS report. Physicians and patients understand that minor side effects of vaccinations often include this kind of discomfort, as well as low fevers. On the other hand, more serious and unexpected medical events are probably more likely to be reported than minor ones, especially when they occur soon after vaccination, even if they may be coincidental and related to other causes.
 A report to VAERS generally does not prove that the identified vaccine(s) caused the adverse event described. It only confirms that the reported event occurred sometime after vaccine was given. No proof that the event was caused by the vaccine is required in order for VAERS to accept the report. VAERS accepts all reports without judging whether the event was caused by the vaccine.
 DISCLAIMER: Please note that VAERS staff follow-up on all serious and other selected adverse event reports to obtain additional medical, laboratory, and/or autopsy records to help understand the concern raised. However, in general coding terms in VAERS do not change based on the information received during the follow-up process. VAERS data should be used with caution as numbers and conditions do not reflect data collected during follow-up. Note that the inclusion of events in VAERS data does not infer causality.”

Wow, that’s a lot of information before you even start looking at the data! I thought information was NVIC’s job, being the “information” center and all. But, no, they link to the official site, but then they allow you to dive into the data.

We’re going to dive into the data as well, comparing the two systems for accessing the data. For [expletive] and giggles, let’s look at reports of deaths following the HPV vaccine, a subject that’s all the rage lately. The official site has one more thing for you to acknowledge:

NVIC doesn’t ask you to read and understand the statements about causality. Those “pharma shills” from CDC do.

Here is CDCs search page. And here is NVICs search page. Using the same criteria, death associated with any of the three HPV vaccines, the official page gave me 74 entries. NVICs page gave me 110 or 143 entries, depending on what you’re counting. So, either CDC is hiding something or…

Ah, the “information center” database is counting a single event as multiple entries “because some events have multiple vaccinations and symptoms”. The HPV vaccine is given in a series of shots, so they’re counting one associated death several times, depending on how many of the vaccine’s series shots were given.

To be fair, let’s look at the first five reports from both systems, and you tell me if they’re definitely caused by the vaccine, as many anti-vaccine advocates would want you to believe.

First case is VAERS ID 275428-1:

“presented to ED with Ventricular tachycardia. Preliminary autopsy finding of myocarditis. 4/3/07 Spoke w/ME who stated prelim COD as acute myocarditis, presumably viral. States patient had PMH of heart murmur which was evaluated by ped cardiologist who found mild aortic & mitral valve insufficiency & regurgitation. ME states did not see evidence of that on autopsy but did find cardiomegaly. Also states patient had been taken to ER on day of death for abdominal pain w/fever & was dx w/gastroenteritis. CXR at that time revealed cardiomegaly. No EKG or cultures were done. Was d/c to home & continued to not feel well. Parent found patient in bathroom unresponsive at approx 2AM & was transported to a second ER where she expired. ME states patient had approx 2 week hx of cough & runny nose prior to death. 6/12/07 Received final Autopsy Report which reveals COD as acute probable viral etiology myocarditis & manner of death as natural. 6/29/07 Received ER records from hospital where patient expired which reveal patient was in respiratory arrest & had been intubated by EMS. ACLS measures were unsuccessful & patient pronounced. 8/24/07 Received cardiology consult which reveals patient evaluated for heart murmur in 2005 which had been diagnosed for long time but never evaluated. Patient admitted to palpitations & nervousness. Patient history did not reveal any evidence of rheumatic fever. Antibiotic endocarditis prophylaxis recommended prior to dental & surgical procedures. Patient was to f/u w/cardiology in 2-3 yearrs to document progress of valvular insufficiency. FINAL Cardiology DX: Aortic & mitral valve insufficiency of unknown etiology.”

So we have a patient who unfortunately died of myocarditis causing a ventricular tachycardia. Ventricular tachycardia is a heart malfunction where the heart beats are irregular. This is not a good thing. The patient’s heart was not right. Was it caused by the vaccine? Well, look at this part: “Received cardiology consult which reveals patient evaluated for heart murmur in 2005 which had been diagnosed for long time but never evaluated. Patient admitted to palpitations & nervousness. Patient history did not reveal any evidence of rheumatic fever. Antibiotic endocarditis prophylaxis recommended prior to dental & surgical procedures. Patient was to f/u w/cardiology in 2-3 yearrs to document progress of valvular insufficiency.”

Without knowing more, we can still infer that this patient had heart problems for a while. Did the vaccine aggravate these problems? Was it mere coincidence? Would this lethal heart condition have caused the patient’s death eventually, vaccine or not? We will never know, but that doesn’t stop conspiracy theorists from declaring the vaccine culpable:

The second case is VAERS ID 275438-1:

“Given Gardasil vaccine dose #1 3/12/07. No adverse reaction reported. Collapsed and died on 3/26/07 secondary emboli (records unavailable). 4/3/07 Spoke w/investigating deputy who stated autopsy done at Medical Center. T/C to physician at Medical Center who is actually a cardiologist, not pathologist, who had responded to the code & pronounced. Spoke w/secretary who states from Death Certificate COD is sudden cardiac death and pulmonary embolism. Echocardiogram revealed very enlarged right ventricle & small left ventricle as well as large blood clots within both the right atrium & right ventricle. 6/25/07 Received Autopsy Report which reveals following anatomic diagnosis: 1. Pulmonary embolism, occlusive a. pulmonary trunk, left hilar & peripheral vessels b. acute cor pulmonale (by echocardiogram) 2. Pulmonary congestion & edema, bilatera a. no evidence of anomalous coronary artery distribution b. no evidence of ventricular dysplasia This is in follow-up to report(s) previously submitted on 6/11/2007. Information has been received on request from the FDA under the Freedom of Information Act and from a physician who presented at the “”Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety World Health Organizaqtion”” concerning a 19 year female nonsmoker with no history who on 12-MAR-2007 was vaccinated IM into the left arm with a first dose of GARDASIL lot #655849/0263U). Concomitant therapy included oral contraceptives. There was no adverse reaction reported. Subsequently on 26-MAR-2007 the patient, while exercising on a field collapsed, began convulsing and died secondary to emboli. An autopsy was done and on the death certificate the following is documented “”sudden cardiac death and pulmonary embolisem.”” An Echocardiogram revealed a very enlarged right ventricle and small left ventricle as well as large blood clots within both the right atrium and right ventricle. Coronary artery thrombosis and thrombosis were alsor reported. Upon internal review convulsing was considered an other important medical event. The original reporting source was not provided. A standar lot check investigation was performed. All in-process quality checks for the lot number in question were satisfactory. In addition, an expaned lot check investigation was performed. The testing performed on the batch prior to release met all release specifications. The lot met the requirements of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research and was released. No further information is available. This report was filed with the FDA. The VAERS number is 275438.”

Here is another unfortunate death from a blood clot to the lung (pulmonary embolism). The patient was vaccinated on March 12 and collapsed and died on March 26. But, did you catch one key piece of information? It’s right there, and it’s significant. Here it is:

“Concomitant therapy included oral contraceptives.”

Why is it key? It’s key because oral contraceptives (“the pill”) are associated with increased risk of – you guessed it – blood clots. But the conspiracy theorists won’t tell you this. Instead, they’ll paint a scary picture that this patient got the shot and died two weeks later, so it must have been the shot. No similar line of reasoning with regards to the pill.

The third case is VAERS ID 275990-1:

“Information has been received from a physician’s assistant (PA), via a company representative, concerning a female patient who was vaccinated (date unspecified) with a dose of Gardasil the PA reported that “”the patient died of a blood clot 3 hours after getting the Gardasil vaccine.”” The PA clarified that the patient was not vaccinated at her office. Additional information has been requested.”

A rumor. Let’s go to the fourth.

The fourth case is VAERS ID 278865-1:

“Onset of symptoms on 3/1/07: fever, sore throat, cough, and myalgia. Respiratory failure on 3/6/07. 6/1/07 Received Death Certificate from epidemiologist which reveals COD asmultiorgan system failure and influenza B viral sepsis with contributing cause of staphyloccoccal secondary infection. Medical records included w/death certificate indicate patient was transferred to higher level of care on 3/6, was intubated & in PICU w/pneumonia & ARDS. Reportedly had been in good health until 3/1/07 when she developed sore throat, nasal congestion, rhinnorhea & low grade fever. COntinued to worsen & developed myalgias, chest pain & nonproductive cough w/higher fever. Seen by PCP on 3/5 & rapid strep was neg & dx was probable influenza. Sent home & developed nausea, vomiting & diarrhea as well as petechial rash over abdomen. Taken to outlying ER on 3/6 & found to be in respiratory failure, intubated & transferred to higher level of care. Respiratory status declined further & was placed on oscillator & ECMO. Peds ID consult done. Consult states had HPV vax at PCP on 3/2 & no other recent vaccines. 6/1/07 Received fax medical & vaccine records from CDC who had contacted provider. Reveals that on 1/2/07, patient received TDaP & HPV. On 3/2/07 received HPV #2. VAERS database updated w/same. On day of vax patient also dx w/right CTS, migraine HA, scoliosis. She was referred to Neuro & PT for the CTS & HA.”

This one is simple. The patient had influenza B sepsis and a secondary Staph infection. This is not unheard of. In Maryland, there was a recent cluster of cases where several people died from influenza and Staph. Why are they linking it to the vaccine? Because the patient had the vaccine on June 2, a day after the onset of symptoms and four days before the patient died.

Last case is VAERS ID 279592-1:

“Information has been received from a licensed visiting nurse via a nurse practitioner. The nurse practitioner was told by a friend that a female patient was vaccinated with Gardasil and two weeks alter developed a blood clot. Subsequently the patient died. The cause of death was from the blood clot. The reporting licensed visiting nurse considered the blood clot to be immediately life-threatening and disabling. Additional information has been requested.”

But wait. Isn’t the medical establishment in league with Big Pharma? Why would a nurse report something against a product from Big Pharma? Never mind that. Notice that this one is also a bit of a rumor. The patient is somehow related to a person who told the nurse that someone died of a blood clot two weeks after the vaccine. The nurse then reported it to VAERS. And this is somehow evidence. For all we know, this case could be the second one in our analysis, leading to a question of how many of these cases are duplicates. (And don’t even get me started on how many of these blood clots may have been due to contraceptive use.)

But let’s look at a bonus case, VAERS ID 287888-1:

“Information has been received from a nurse practitioner concerning a 22 year old female patient with no pertinent medical history or drug allergies who on 21-MAY-2007, was vaccinated IM with a 0.5ml dose of Gardasil (Lot# 657736/0389U). Concomitant therapy included hormonal contraceptives (unspecified) (“”MERCET””). On 23-MAY-2007, the patient died suddenly. The cause of death was unknown. Unspecified medical attention was sought. Laboratory diagnostic studies included an autopsy which showed no findings. No product quality complaint was involved. The reporter stated that Gardasil did not cause the patient’s death. Additional information is not expected. 7/2/08-records received-Adverse effect of drugs.Toxicology survey findings:urine positive for methadone, benzodiazepines, benzoylecgonine (from cocaine), cannabinoids, nicotine, diphenhydramine and naproxen.”

Did you read the last part? “Cocaine, cannabinoids, nicotine, diphenhydramine and naproxen.” No, no, no, I’m sure it was the vaccine.

One more thing…

There is this guy who claims that he analyzes the data in VAERS and puts together some fancy graphs. He writes for the NVIC blog about VAERS. Here is his entry on the HPV vaccine and pregnant women. He created this very scary tree of symptoms and conditions associated with pregnancy and HPV vaccine (click to see larger):

Without placing ANYTHING in context, he makes it look like all these horrible things are caused by the HPV vaccine if you give it to a pregnant woman. He even writes:
“As you can see, the most common issue is “Foetal complications” followed by “Abortions and stillbirth” and “Maternal complications”. The graph continues deeper, showing more symptom detail. So it appears that, according to VAERS reports involving pregnant women who received the HPV vaccine, they indeed had substantial pregnancy-related difficulties and the pattern of symptoms appears to be different than what is generally reported to VAERS.”

Information? Maybe. The correct information, one that includes the risks of HPV-related tumors – or other vaccine-preventable diseases – and the real numbers (nominators and denominators) as well as the fact that studies (case-control ones) have been done on vaccines and have not found them to be unsafe… That information seems to be somehow missing from NVIC, the “information” center.

Exhibit C coming soon.

3 thoughts on “NVIC: Information that’s not. Exhibit B.

  1. @Anonymous – That wasn't my comment. That comment was made by the epidemiologists and administrators of the VAERS system. You know, people who are very well versed in the science of vaccines and immunology? That comment is found in the disclosure section of the VAERS site, the disclosure and – ironically – information that NVIC will not give it's audience.On the other hand, your statement that "there is NO study testing vaccines or a placebo against the disease it is supposed to prevent" is simply false. All vaccines are tested before and after licensing for their effectiveness. Guess what? They're both safe AND effective, hence the decline of vaccine preventable diseases once vaccines are introduced.HPV vaccine, for example, had the following development cycle: "Merck & Co. conducted a Phase III study named Females United to Unilaterally Reduce Endo/Ectocervical Disease (FUTURE II). This clinical trial was a randomized double-blind study with one controlled placebo group and one vaccination group. Over 12,000 women aged 16–26 from thirteen countries participated in the study. Each woman was injected with either Gardasil or a placebo on day 1, month 2, and month 6. In total, 6,082 women were given Gardasil and 6,075 received the placebo. Subjects in the vaccine group had a significantly lower occurrence of high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia related to HPV-16 or HPV-18 than did those in the placebo group. On February 27, 2006, the independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board recommended the clinical trials be terminated on ethical grounds, so that young women on placebo could receive Gardasil. Merck tested the vaccine in several hundred 11- and 12-year-old girls."Look! They gave – say it with me – placebo to half of the randomized group!Next, the study you cite this study: http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD001269/vaccines-to-prevent-influenza-in-healthy-adultsIn the conclusions section is this: "Influenza vaccines have a modest effect in reducing influenza symptoms and working days lost. There is no evidence that they affect complications, such as pneumonia, or transmission." You state, however, that "the flu vaccine for instance is worthless." There is a vast difference between "modest effect in reducing influenza symptoms and working days lost" and "worthless". Furthermore, the study is called a "meta analysis", a very weak study, just a little bit stronger than a survey. Why don't you use your Googleabilities and Google a randomized clinical trial of the flu vaccine then come back and talk to me?Finally, it WOULD make sense to criticize wrongly designed vaccine studies causing deaths and injury among ALL children (not just American) before criticizing the data collection through VAERS. It really would. You have to cite me those studies, first. Then I'll criticize. Until then, my blog, my [expletive] rules.

  2. Your comment "report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event" creates the appearance that you favor causation over correlation. That should make you a vaccine critic as there is NO study testing vaccines or a placebo against the disease it is supposed to prevent. Even worse, a study searching the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials encompassing 70,000 subjects shows that the flu vaccine for instance is worthless. People receiving the vaccine were as likely to get the flu. Wouldn't it make sense to first criticize wrongly designed vaccine studies causing deaths and injury among American children before criticizing the data collection through VAERS?

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