EXCLUSIVE: CDC Reveals Details of COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Monitoring Teams

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
September 21, 2022 Updated: September 21, 2022

About 30 people are working on monitoring data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed to The Epoch Times.

The disclosure came in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The Epoch Times sought details on the U.S. government’s COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring, which officials have repeatedly described as “the most intensive” in U.S. history. The CDC previously declined to name any of the employees working on VAERS, and falsely said it was performing a type of analysis on the data from the system starting in early 2021. The agency and its director later acknowledged the method, called Proportional Reporting Ratio, was not performed until March 2022.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, meanwhile, which co-manages VAERS with the CDC, says that it has performed a different type of analysis called empirical Bayesian data mining, but refused to share any of the results.

CDC Workers

Approximately nine full-time CDC workers are on the VAERS team, which is led by Dr. John Su, the CDC told The Epoch Times in a letter. Another 20 contractors are on the team.

The staffing numbers vary “depending on the agency needs and has been larger and smaller in the past,” the team said in a statement conveyed through the CDC’s records office.

The Epoch Times asked for all documents concerning the creation of the team and two associated efforts, which focus on post-vaccination heart inflammation, or myocarditis, and blood clotting with low blood platelets, or thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS)—two known serious side effects for COVID-19 vaccines.

That included all materials outlining the mission for each team, documents sent for recruiting purposes, and the number of employees on each team.

The CDC provided no materials about the mission for each team. It said the VAERS team “is understood to mean the team tasked with administering and monitoring VAERS” and pointed to the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which led to the establishment of VAERS in 1990.

The teams focusing on heart inflammation and blood clotting “are basically ad hoc groups that are formed to address needs but are not part of any formal organizational structure,” the CDC said, adding that the sizes of the groups “have varied between approximately 2 to over 20, depending on workload.”

“There is no documentation with regard to formal authorization and chronology of creating these ‘teams’, when they started their work, or their size,” the CDC added.

Recruitment

The only actual document provided was a four-page recruitment missive sent in November 2020 to members of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, which includes more than 6,500 employees of the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, and other agencies.

The VAERS team asked for workers “with clinical backgrounds,” including expertise in medicine, dentistry, and veterinary services.

Potential members were told that controlling the COVID-19 pandemic “hinge[s] upon safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines” and that the vaccines were expected to be available soon.

“As more people receive COVID-19 vaccines, side effects or ‘adverse events’ will occur. The VAERS Team will monitor adverse events reported after COVID-19 vaccines for unusual adverse events or patterns of reporting that might indicate the need for further safety analysis. For selected adverse events, medical record abstraction will be performed to learn more about the reported patient, Additionally, the VAERS Team will respond to public inquiries about COVID-19 vaccine safety- including from healthcare providers. The VAERS Team will coordinate with CDC’s Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment Project on particularly complex and/or medically urgent inquiries,” the missive said.

It told prospective applicants that the work “offers a unique opportunity to contribute to the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, and to learn about COVID-19 vaccines.”

Knowledge of and experience with vaccine safety was not required, nor was a background in infectious diseases.

Accepted applicants would work 100 percent remotely—the CDC has shifted drastically to offsite work during the pandemic—and were not expected to have to work nights or weekends.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.