In what might be the Food and Drug Administration’s most ridiculous and tone deaf social media post since “You are not a horse,” this week @US_FDA took to X to mansplain what an incredible job they’re doing keeping Americans healthy, safe, and informed

“Monitoring vaccine safety is an important responsibility shared by @CDCgov and the FDA,” the post declared. “And there’s no part of America’s vaccine safety system more talked about than the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).”

More talked about… That’s one way to put it. (For reference: There’s no pint-sized climate activist more talked about than Greta Thunberg and no philanthropath more talked about than Bill Gates.) Also, wait. Are there other parts of our vaccine safety system?

Is the FDA in Damage Control Mode?

For those not in the know, VAERS was established in 1990 jointly by the CDC and FDA as a national vaccine safety surveillance program. It allows healthcare providers, patients, and vaccine manufacturers (as if! hahahahaha) to report adverse vaccine reactions so that, at least theoretically, health authorities can detect and investigate potential concerns. For what it’s worth, VAERS is the single system we’ve used since its inception to pull prior vaccines from the market for a scant handful of adverse reactions.

In what reeks of a desperate attempt at damage control, the FDA’s thing-that-was-once-called-a-tweet links to a self-congratulatory essay describing what VAERS was designed to do (detect and monitor danger signals) and detailing just how diligently and effectively it does this (ahem) while, of course, highlighting its limitations: Anyone can submit a report. Navigating the database can be confusing. The data can be incomplete or inaccurate. There’s no verification process or procedure. There’s no control group.

They left out my personal, platitudinous favorite: correlation does not equal causation, perhaps because the correlation is off the charts?

(On that note: Correlation may not equal causation, but it can certainly imply it. Let’s say you invite me and 11 other pals over for a lovely meal and I wake up the next day doubled over in abdominal pain. In the absence of any other correlation, I’d have a hard time definitively pinning my digestive distress on your chicken piccata. But if every single one of your dozen guests finds themselves participating in an unplanned internal cleanse at the exact same time within hours of your otherwise delightful dinner party, it doesn’t take an Einstein-level IQ to connect the dots.)

Rather than acknowledging the alarming, unprecedented spike in adverse events since the COVID jab rollout, the FDA spin job features VAERS “success stories” like these:

“After VAERS detected an increase in rare, life-threatening allergic reactions just weeks after the first vaccines were administered, for example, the CDC and the FDA provided information and guidance to help prevent and manage them.

Just days after VAERS detected that six out of the more than 6 million patients who received the Janssen vaccine had developed blood clots, the CDC and the FDA paused the use of the vaccine to better understand this adverse event.

And after detecting myocarditis following the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, the CDC provided advice to healthcare providers about the potential risk and recommended that some people, primarily teen and young adult males, space out their vaccines.”

See? They’re not only carefully monitoring these very rare side effects, they’re also encouraging the radical notion of not getting dozens of inoculations at once. They’ve even gone so far as to pause use of one of the vaccines for five minutes (although they neglected to add the pause was almost immediately lifted)! They are on it, you guys.

The piece goes on to claim that serious reports are investigated and responded to within days, painting a romantic picture of heroic FDA and CDC physicians and scientists working side by side late into the night to evaluate submissions together. After acknowledging a backlog in 2020, the piece boldly claims that the pileup of serious reports was cleared within a month. (I imagine a VAERS employee being given a shiny new rubber REJECTED stamp and instructions to “clear this backlog!”)

The whole thing reminds me of this caustic exchange from the hilarious 1980s movie, About Last Night:

Bernie: What do you do?

Joan: Me?

Bernie: Well, yeah, for a living?

Joan: I’m a neurosurgeon, you?

Bernie: I’m a professional boxer. You know much about the fight game?

Joan: No.

Bernie: I’m the heavyweight champion of the world.

The essay accidentally forgot to mention one of VAERS’ greatest limitations—as acknowledged right on the site: underreporting. It’s not even buried in some obscure hyperlink at the bottom; this disclaimer lives rent free on the home page in surprisingly robust type: “[VAERS] is a voluntary reporting system that has been estimated to account for only 1% of vaccine injuries.” [Emphasis mine.]

Flipped on its unfathomable head, that statement suggests that you would have to multiply the already astronomical VAERS numbers a mind-bending 100 times to get something more closely resembling the actual carnage. Keep that staggering calculation in mind as you peruse the latest stats available on the Open VAERS website: