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Odds of Vaccine Harm are One in a Million?

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“As of now, we are totally in the dark regarding who will and who won’t suffer a severe vaccine injury and from which vaccine.” — Tetyana Obukhanych, PhD

It is commonly believed that vaccines are safe. Many doctors and public health officials will tell you that serious adverse effects from vaccines are “extremely rare”—that they occur in less than “one in a million” vaccine doses given. One in a million. It sounds like pretty good odds that you would be fine.1 2 3 4 However, is this one in a million merely an idiom being used to convey the idea that the odds are very small, or is it truly a fact based on accurate and observable data?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Any medication can cause a severe allergic reaction. Such reactions from a vaccine are very rare, estimated at fewer than 1 in a million doses, and usually happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.” The CDC adds, “As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death.”1 

But what is the basis for the CDC using phrases like “very rare” and “very remote”? What is the basis for the estimate of “fewer than 1 in a million doses”?

One of the ways the U.S. government monitors vaccine safety is through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)—”a national vaccine safety surveillance program jointly run by CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”5 

VAERS serves as an early warning system to detect possible safety issues with U.S. vaccines by collecting information about adverse events (possible side effects or health problems) that occur after vaccination.5
VAERS was created in 1990 in response to the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. If any health problem happens after vaccination, anyone—doctors, nurses, vaccine manufacturers, and any member of the general public – can submit a report to VAERS.5 

Actually, VAERS was not created in response to the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA), it was an integral part of the vaccine safety provisions secured in that law by the co-founders of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) to gather critical information on health problems occurring after vaccination that could be analyzed and used to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths. VAERS is a national vaccine reaction monitoring system that all doctors and other vaccine providers are required per the 1986 law to report to when a person who has been given a federally recommended vaccine experiences serious health problems, is permanently injured or dies.

It seems fairly straightforward. An early warning system to detect health problems that may occur after vaccinations. Certainly, over time, such a system would show whether certain vaccines were more problematic than others or whether there was an obvious pattern of harm caused by government recommended and mandated vaccines in general.

The problem is that VAERS was never designed to scientifically estimate the incidence of vaccine adverse effects or to determine cause and effect in terms of each individual reports. It was designed to be a post-marketing tool to identify serious vaccine reactions that are not identified in pre-licensure clinical trials. In addition, it is a monitoring system that provides at least some transparency. It gives descriptions of vaccine reaction symptoms and related health problems, injuries and deaths that not only doctors administering vaccines, but also the people who receive vaccines can directly can report to and access.

And if all vaccine providers would report, it would give a much clearer picture of what is happening after millions of vaccinations are given in the U.S. every year, which could serve to stimulate well designed research into reported vaccine adverse effects. The CDC uses the large electronic medical records Vaccine Safety Database (VSD) from eight HMOs (health maintenance organizations) to do that. The VSD “conducts vaccine safety studies based on questions or concerns raised from the medical literature and reports” to VAERS.6 

But all vaccine providers do not report to VAERS. In fact, most don’t. That is one of the big flaws in the system for gauging injuries and deaths associated with or caused by vaccines. Estimates of the percentage of reactions to vaccines that are actually reported to VAERS range between one and 10 percent.7 8 

Many doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals who administer vaccines are busy and reporting to VAERS has not been made a high priority in standard of care. Or they do not associate the events with the vaccinations because they have been taught to simply believe vaccines are safe and, therefore, health problems that occur after vaccination couldn’t possibly be the cause and are usually only a “coincidence.” Imagine the impact of this kind of circular logic on reporting rates.9 10 11 12 

According to computer scientist Steven Rubin, PhD:

Because the reports are submitted voluntarily, many patients and doctors do not report vaccine reactions. Different estimates exist for the amount of underreporting and range from a factor of 10 to as much as a factor of 100 (meaning that the true number of vaccine reactions is between 10 and 100 times higher than what is reported to VAERS).13 

It is important to stress that, although there is a  requirement under the 1986 law for vaccine providers to report to VAERS, there are no legal penalties or fines for not reporting. As Barbara Loe Fisher of NVIC has noted, the NCVIA, in which Congress established VAERS, “contained no legal sanctions for not reporting; doctors can refuse to report and suffer no consequences.”12 

Additionally, many within the medical community are not even aware that VAERS exists. As Suzanne Humphries said in a 2016 interview, “It was never told to me, there were no posters in the hospital about the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. I didn’t know that there was a reporting system for any drug, let alone for vaccines.”14 There are countless vaccine reactions that have occurred over the years that will never be a part of the public record because for this reason alone.

In a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, Thomas Verstraeten, MD and his research team wrote:

The proportion of cases of an adverse event after vaccination that are reported to VAERS (i.e., VAERS reporting completeness) is mostly unknown. Therefore, the risk of such an event cannot be derived from VAERS only.15 

In another study published in the journal Vaccine, epidemiologist Elaine Miller, RN, MPH and her team wrote:

[M]aking general assumptions and drawing conclusions about vaccinations causing deaths based on spontaneous reports to VAERS—some of which might be anecdotal or second-hand—or case reports in the media, is not a scientifically valid practice.16 

Using VAERS data and, by extension, VSD-based research to conclude that serious adverse effects occur in one out of every million vaccine doses given is unsound practice. Immunologist Tetyana Obukhanych, PhD perhaps came much closer to the truth when she stated, “As of now, we are totally in the dark regarding who will and who won’t suffer a severe vaccine injury and from which vaccine. No guarantees can be made. Basically, vaccinate yourself at your own risk.”17 

So, it turns out that the best that can be said about the “one in a million” (or less) estimate is that it is merely an idiom. We do not know how safe vaccines are. It is possible that side effects from vaccines are extremely rare, but it’s unclear what that means.

If you were to look at a study conducted in Canada and published in the journal PLOS One in 2011, you would see that vaccination led to an emergency room visit for one in 168 children after their 12-month vaccinations and one in 730 children after their 18-month vaccinations.18 

One in 168? That’s far from extremely rare. That’s drawing closer to autism rates.19 


References:

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Understanding Side Effects and Adverse Events. CDC.gov.
2 Fine Maron D. Fact or Fiction?: Vaccines Are Dangerous. Scientific American Mar. 6, 2015.
3 ImmunizeBC. Vaccine safety. ImmnizeBC.ca
4 What about vaccine side effects?MedBroadcast. 
5 CDC. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). CDC.gov.
6 CDC. Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD). CDC.gov.
7 Braun M. Vaccine adverse event reporting system (VAERS): usefulness and limitations. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
8 Rosenthal S, Chen R. The reporting sensitivities of two passive surveillance systems for vaccine adverse events. Am J Public Health 1995; 85: pp. 1706-1709.
9 Cave S, Mitchell D. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations. Hachette Book Group September 2001.
10 Fisher BL. In the Wake of Vaccines. NVIC.org September/October 2004.
11 Bark T. Vaccination and Autoimmunity, is There a Link?
12 National Vaccine Information Center. Report Vaccine Reactions. It’s the Law! NVIC.org.
13 Rubin S. The Limits of VAERS. MedAlerts February 2012.
14 Vaxxed Stories: Dr. Suzanne Humphries on Filing VAERS Reports. YouTube.com (published Oct. 4, 2016)
15 Verstraeten T, Baughman AL, Cadwell B, Zanardi L, Haber P, Chen RT. Enhancing Vaccine Safety Surveillance: A Capture-Recapture Analysis of Intussusception after Rotavirus Vaccination. American Journal of Epidemiology (2001) 154 (11): 1006-1012.
16 Miller ER, Moro PL, Cano M, Shimabukuroar T. Deaths following vaccination: What does the evidence show? Vaccine June 26, 2015; 33(29): 3288–3292.
17 Frompovich CJ. An Interview With Research Immunologist Tetyana Obukhanych PhD, part 2. International Medical Council on Vaccination June 20, 2012.
18 Wilson K, Hawken S, Kwong JC, Deeks S, Crowcroft NS, Van Walraven C, Potter BK, Chakraborty P, Keelan J, Pluscauskas M, Manuel D. Adverse events following 12 and 18 month vaccinations: a population-based, self-controlled case series analysis. PLOS One December 2011;6(12):e27897
19 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. U.S. Autism Rates Unchanged in New CDC Report. Mar. 31, 2016.

25 Responses to Odds of Vaccine Harm are One in a Million?

  1. john Reply

    September 11, 2017 at 10:42 am

    last year’s flu vaccine gave me a sizable local reaction and some vague systemic symptoms but when I asked the vaccine nurse to report this to VAERS she said it was not important so if you ask me under-reporting is a significant issue

  2. Rita Reply

    September 10, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    The quote below is from page 8 of the March, 2016 Vaccine Choice Canada Vaccine Safety Report. https://vaccinechoicecanada.com/wp-content/uploads/Vaccine-Safety-Report-March-2016.pdf

    The “1 in a million” quote is tracked to the US Vaccine Court data:

    Rare Adverse Events or Rare Reporting?

    One more important topic that needs to be considered is the question of the number of reported vaccine-related adverse events. We have all heard that serious adverse events are rare. “One in a million” is a favorite media mantra. This is a very deceptive statement.

    This “one in a million” is likely based on the number of serious vaccine related injuries that were compensated during an 8-year period by the USA Vaccine Injury Court (pdf). In the court reports­, under the page 1 heading, How many claims have been compensated?, one reads the following information:

    “From 2006 to 2014, over 2.5 billion doses of covered vaccines were distributed in the U.S. according to the CDC. 3,300 claims were adjudicated by the Court for claims filed in this time period and of those 2,054 were compensated. This means for every 1 million doses of vaccine that were distributed, 1 individual was compensated.”

    To put those 2,054 compensated cases in context, the VAERS database has 33,445 serious adverse event reports during that same 8-year time period.

    Conclusion: The “1 in a million” compensation rate for serious events has nothing to do with the rate of serious adverse events reported for any specific vaccine or for all vaccines. Further, doses distributed is not the correct denominator in any calculation of reporting rates of adverse events. Doses administered should be the number used to arrive at reported adverse event rates.

    The Vaccine Court pdf is here: https://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/data/

  3. Erwin Alber Reply

    September 10, 2017 at 9:26 am

    The harm vaccines inflict on children as well as adults is such that some people involved in the vaccination issue refer to the situation as a “vaccine holocaust.”

    If we lived in a halfway sane instead of this greedy, corrupt and misinformed society, this medical fraud and child abuse would have been halted decades ago.

    Vaccination programmes have nothing to to with protecting the public health. They are slow genocide, while mandatory vaccination is accelerated genocide.

    • Louise Gallagher Reply

      September 14, 2017 at 8:30 pm

      I agree wholeheartedly. The government wants complete control and they are getting it. As Hitler said get the children and you can conquer the world. This is true. They are slowly killing us all. Medicare is absolutely worthless and certainly controlling. It will pay for what THEY want to and not what is needed most of the time. The country is in a dangerous situation.

  4. G. Edward Browning, Ph.D. Reply

    September 10, 2017 at 2:19 am

    The concept of harm is very broad, from scarcely noticed by the person to the extreme of death. With every “vaccination” harm is inflicted, as heavy metals and other poisons are injected into the body. The concept that “vaccination” has ended contagious illnesses is not substantiated by scientific research. Infectious disease death rates had declined well before vaccines were marketed. Measles deaths had declined by almost 100%. Genuine research documents that unvaccinated-children-have-significantly-fewer-health-problems than vaccinated children.

  5. drbhelthi Reply

    September 9, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    The blood pollutants that are labled “vaccines” do not vaccinate. They contain heavy metals which poison the human body and require removal by chelation with specially-devised preparations such as EDTA. The diseased tissue that “vaccines” contain inflame and infect the tissue into which they are injected, requiring neutralization by the immune system. “Vaccines” that contain adjuvants cause additional harm to the body. The concept that “vaccination” has removed some infectious diseases from mankind is not supported by evidence. Recent studies demonstrate that children who are “vaccinated” get sicker more often than children who are no vaccinated. Dr. Maurice Hillman virologist for the Merck Pharmacy Corporation stated that vaccines cause rather than cure diseases.

  6. Kay Reply

    September 8, 2017 at 11:39 am

    …even the vaccine inserts and the cdc publish “side effect” stats that are much much higher than 1 in a million. some as high as 1 in 10,000 or greater risk. So, what is it really???

  7. Mary Pollard Reply

    September 8, 2017 at 10:39 am

    I doubt that even the VAERS people would take it seriously if people who noticed autistic behaviors in their children post vaccination actually reported it. I believe autism is a much greater danger from vaccination than acute sickness or death.

    Also, the Canadian study only recorded emergency room visits. That leaves the whole autism problem unexamined.

  8. Caroline Reply

    September 8, 2017 at 8:14 am

    First time I have ever heard there was a “report” place at all. Do know vaccinations can cause discomfort to paralysis to death, however. When I studied Chinese Medicine and we had to study what we call Western Medicine with doctors teaching the classes, I don’t even think the doctors knew or know. Suggest emailing our President so he is informed about this as in CA vaccinations are compulsory or else and that is something that needs to change NOW as more people are being hurt or killed: whitehouse.gov/contact#page I know I will never get the flu shot but only update for HepA and HepB as we are required to get. Thank you NVIC for great articles and caring.

  9. Cypher Reply

    September 8, 2017 at 1:29 am

    To Animal Mama:

    I’m sorry to read your story of your beloved pets. Vaccine damage to pets is very real. As for wishes for presidential intervention, please don’t get your hopes up. I had hopes that he would work with RFK to form a vaccine safety commission, but it hasn’t materialized.

    The government no longer represents the people. It doesn’t matter which political party sits in the white house. We must take a stand ourselves if we want real change.

  10. N Dingley Reply

    September 7, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    Our daughter was severely damaged in 1986 from her initial dpt vaccine at 3 months of age with seizures beginning within hours of the vaccination. We were told her damages were one in 3 million. When it’s your child, it’s 1:1. Today, she is 31, still suffers from daily grand mals, is on a feeding machine, trach and on ventilator for sleep, and in a wheelchair permanently disabled. Thanks to the arduous five years it took for an award to be given from the Vac comp program, I am able to care for her at home and give her whatever is necessary to not only sustain her life but help her thrive despite her damages. It’s not 1:1 million. For us, it’s 1:1.

    • G. Edward Browning, Ph.D. Reply

      September 10, 2017 at 11:32 am

      The 1:1 Million concept is a fraudulent creation by the pharma industry.
      The reality is 1:1 for each injection, and each victim of “vaccination”.
      Congratulations for “hanging in there” and doing your best ! Doc B.

  11. Howard Friedberg Reply

    September 7, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Read

  12. Yb Reply

    September 7, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    I have seen reactions to vaccines in my urgent care office but to take the time to report it is not expected. When I would like to do so later on my own time is almost impossible as the patient information is not handy and they don’t ask for it so I feel strange contacting them later. When reporting abuse or other mandatory events we make time. The system wasn’t meant to pick these up.

  13. Leslie Reply

    September 7, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    Enjoyed this article. Poked at a statement I had really never thought to examiner and just taken at face value.

  14. Alexis Keser Reply

    September 7, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    I think reporting to VAERS must be very low. I might have reported some incidents that happened in my family had I known this was an option. At this point if someone has received a vaccine I consider them “vaccine injured” even if they don’t report issues. That is because the vaccine does not produce natural, sustained immunity and by necessity contains preservatives and adjuvants which are often very toxic. Not to mention the contaminants which have been found when vaccines are tested by third parties. No thanks on any more vaccines. I will be seeking medical exemptions for my children and I would quit any “job” that would demand me to be vaccinated.

  15. Robert L Wachsmuth Sr Reply

    September 7, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    MURDER HEALTH CARE SYSTEM , DOCTORS INCOMPETENCE WOULDN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT A VACCINE INJURY LOOKS LIKE . NEW YORK CITY DOCTORS TO INCOMPETENT TO PRACTICE MEDICAL .
    INSURANCE THEIVES
    SOCIOPATHS
    ĶILLING MY FAMILY !
    FOur TRILLION DOLLAR SCAM .

  16. CATRYNA WHITE Reply

    September 7, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    One in a million, huh? Well, that certainly contradicts myself and my 5 siblings suffering autoimmune diseases from the OPV we all received back in the 1960’s. Vaccines have always been dangerous, since their inception 200 years ago. Smallpox epidemics were caused by the vaccine.The “Spanish Flu” between 1917-1920 was caused by the Flu vaccine. Many, many older people’s lives were damaged or totally destroyed in 1976 and again in 2009 when they experimented on pregnant women with the H1N1 Flu vaccines with the result of hundreds of miscarriages. Last year, one of my friends suffered stroke after her Flu shot and another friend died after receiving an anit viral drug/vaccine. It’s wholesale murder by the medical profession.

    • Louise Gallagher Reply

      September 14, 2017 at 8:25 pm

      You are absolutely correct. Our government does not care as they sleep with the pharma corp. I used to take the flu shot but after discovering NVIC I have been informed. My dog does not get all of those vaccines that the sorry vets want to give her either. Thank you for your comment…

  17. Animal Mama Reply

    September 7, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    My husband and I have no children. It just didn’t happen for us and we never looked into it medically. We were both vaccinated as children and also mistakenly got 1-3 vaccines as adults before we knew the facts so it’s very possibly because of vaccination.

    We can’t speak to human vaccine damages as well but can tell you that 100% of the vax’d animals we and our family, friends and neighbors have owned have ALL suffered vaccine damage. Everything from abnormal behaviors and low intelligence (brain inflammation) to chronic disease, general poor health and much shorter lives. Having also had a few unvax’d critters, it’s easy to see the incredible difference. The last 2 cats were from an unvax’d line and never had any vaccines. Both lived to be just over 23 years old and were never ill or suffered from behavior problems, low intelligence, etc. They were a joy to live with.

    This family is praying that all forced vaccination is stopped under President Trump. The fact that he’s gathered some outstanding experts who are telling the truth about these poisons gives us great hope.

    Thank you for having the courage to tell it like it is and for sharing this information on your website.

    • mkf Reply

      September 8, 2017 at 1:49 am

      Good to know that Trump has gathered around him, people who are telling the truth about vaccines. I didn’t know that for sure, so your reporting it was encouraging. So sorry about your vax’d animals. :(

  18. Car San Reply

    September 7, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Thank goodness Canada is keeping a clear record. That’s what I am going to go off of not this one in a million lie.

    • Erwin Alber Reply

      September 10, 2017 at 9:09 am

      As far as I am concerned, EVERY vaccinated child is a vaccine-injured child even if the harm is not obvious. The injuries vary in degree, from mild at one end of the scale of severity to severe injury and death at the other.

    • Rita Reply

      September 10, 2017 at 11:01 am

      Car San, how is Canada keeping a clear record? That is not what reports from Vaccine Choice Canada researcher Nelle Maxey say: https://vaccinechoicecanada.com/in-the-news/vaccine-safety-report-2-2015-adverse-events-data-databases/ “We have learned that Canadians deserve far more timely, accessible, accurate and comprehensible data on vaccine-related adverse event reports. Informed consent is impossible without access to this data.”

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