Health Alert on mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine Safety
February 15, 2023
The COVID-19 pandemic brought many challenges that the health and medical field have never encountered. Although the initial response was led by a sense of urgency and crisis management, the State Surgeon General believes it is critical that as public health professionals, responses are adapted to the present to chart a future guided by data.
The State Surgeon General is notifying the health care sector and public of a substantial increase in Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) reports from Florida after the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Overall reports submitted to VAERS, Florida 2006–2022
In Florida alone, there was 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 (Figure 1).
The reporting of life-threatening conditions increased over 4,400%. This is a novel increase and was not seen during the 2009 H1N1 vaccination campaign. There is a need for additional unbiased research to better understand the COVID-19 vaccines’ short- and long-term effects.
The findings in Florida are consistent with various studies that continue to uncover such risks. To further evaluate this, the Surgeon General wrote a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) illustrating the risk factors associated with the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and emphasizing the need for additional transparency.
According to a study, Fraiman J et al, Vaccine. 2022, mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were associated with an excess risk of serious adverse events, including coagulation disorders, acute cardiac injuries, Bell’s palsy, and encephalitis. This risk was 1 in 550 individuals, which is much higher than other vaccines.
A second study, Sun CLF et al, Sci Rep. 2022, found increased acute cardiac arrests and other acute cardiac events following mRNA COVID-19 vaccination.
Additionally, Dag Berild J et al, JAMA Netw Open. 2022, assessed the risk of thromboembolic and thrombocytopenic events related to COVID-19 vaccines and found preliminary evidence of increased risk of both coronary disease and cardiovascular disease.
While the CDC has identified safety signals for stroke among individuals 65 and older following the bivalent booster administration, there is a need for additional assessments and research regarding safety of all mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.
To support transparency, the State of Florida reminds health care 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.
The State of Florida remains dedicated to protecting communities from the risks of COVID-19 and other public health concerns, specifically by promoting the importance of treatment and promoting prevention through healthy habits. We encourage our health care partners and providers to do the same.
About the Florida Department of Health
The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.
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