By Jondi Gumz
Responding to a September Freedom of Information Act request, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data showing more than 500 “safety signals” for Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines, including Bell’s palsy, blood clotting and death.
The Epoch Times obtained the monitoring results, based on an analysis of adverse event reports submitted to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, which is run by the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as an “early warning system” for vaccine issues.
The CDC analysis compared adverse events reported from Dec. 14, 2020 to July 29, 2022, after a Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 vaccine compared to reports filed after non-Covid vaccines.
“Safety signals” mean a condition may be linked to a vaccine and further analysis is warranted.
The Epoch Times filed the FOIA request after the CDC refused to make the analysis public.
VAERS is where healthcare professionals are supposed to file reports on post-vaccination issues. Reports do not prove causality; studies show the number of reports often is an undercount of post-vaccination adverse events.
On Jan. 13, the CDC reported a safety signal for ischemic stroke in people 65 and older after getting Pfizer’s bivalent Covid-19 vaccine, and looked at other studies, including one by Pfizer, but did not find an increased risk. CDC said no change in vaccination practice is recommended.
On Jan. 11, the Biden administration extended the Covid-19 emergency until May 11, giving health care providers time to prepare for the end of the emergency.
Gov. Newsom plans to lift the state of Covid-19 emergency in California on Feb. 28.
Hospitalizations and intensive care bed use are down statewide and locally, and the state is closing Optum Covid testing sites. The Veterans Building site in Watsonville closed Jan.19; sites at the Santa Cruz County Governmental Center, 701 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, close Feb. 3, and Felton Public Library, 6121 Gushee St., Felton, closes Feb. 5.
California’s test positivity rate is down from 10.6% to 4.9%.
In January, a much milder Omicron variant became the most pervasive, according to weekly Nowcast projections by the CDC:
- XBB.1.5: Up from 18.3% of cases to 61.3%
- BQ.1.1: Down from 35.7% to 21.8%
- BQ.1: Down from 27.4% to 9.3%
- BA.5: Down from 6.9% to .7%
The XBB.1.5 variant is the most infectious yet, mutated so that neither vaccination or a prior infection provides protection.
Medical experts say for most people, XBB.1.5 will be mild, like a common cold. Afterward comes natural immunity.
The once-pervasive BA.5 variant is in the “bivalent” booster along with the original 2020 coronavirus.
Scientists in new independent studies published in Nature and the Lancet report the bivalent booster “did not produce robust neutralization against the newly emerged BA.2.75.2, BQ.1.1, or XBB.1” — in other words, these newer subvariants can evade immunity from infection and vaccination.
The bivalent combo was expedited by federal officials who asked drug-makers to test on mice rather than humans.
Pfizer submitted data based on 8 mice, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization.
On Dec. 8, the FDA amended that emergency use authorization to allow bivalent Covid-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer for children as young as 6 months.
California reports 23.8% got the bivalent booster.
In Santa Cruz County, 31.9% got the bivalent booster.
A study published in January in BMC Infectious Diseases based on an online survey in December by 2,840 people found that those perceiving loved ones harmed by the Covid-19 illness were more likely to be vaccinated, but those who knew someone who had been injured by the Covid-19 vaccine were more likely to be unvaccinated.
Of those who responded, 34% indicated they knew at least one person who had experienced significant health problems from Covid-19, including 165 people who had died, and 22% indicated they knew at least one person who experienced a health problem after Covid-19 vaccination, and 57 indicated the adverse event was death.
“The large difference in the possible number of fatalities due to Covid-19 vaccination that emerges from this survey and the available governmental data should be further investigated,” concluded study author Mark Skidmore, economist at Michigan State University.
On Jan. 31, Pfizer reported 2022 earnings were a record $100 billion, with $37.8 billion from sales of its Covid vaccines and $18.9 billion from Covid pill Paxlovid.
Vaccine revenue rose only 3% from 2021, as demand for vaccination slowed.
Pfizer told investors that as the world emerges from the pandemic, revenue could decline in 2023 by $67 billion to $71 billion, a 33% drop.
Last year, Pfizer shared plans to raise the price of Covid vaccines, from about $30 per dose to $110 to $130 per dose.
Vaccine maker Moderna plans to charge $110-$130 per dose; the U.S. paid $26 per dose for boosters.
Out of Work
A study by the New York State Insurance Fund, that state’s largest workers’ compensation carrier, reports 18% of the people with “long Covid,” a chronic illness with new, returning or ongoing symptoms after Covid infection, have not returned to work after a year, and 40% returned to work after 60 days but were still receiving medical treatment, reducing their hours. This can be contributing to a labor shortage.
The study analyzed more than 3,000 Covid-19 workers’ compensation claims initiated between January 2020 and March 2022.
Leading the top 10 symptoms were shortness of breath, fatigue, post-concussional/amnesia, and depression/anxiety.
There is no test for “long Covid” and no treatment. Research is ongoing.
During a meeting, Dr. Tom Shimabukuro, CDC deputy director, said, “We are aware of these reports of people experiencing long-lasting health problems following Covid-19 vaccination. We hope for improvement.”
On Jan. 19, New York City police officers, firefighters and healthcare workers who lost their jobs for refusing to comply with the city’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate filed a $250 million lawsuit against the city and Mayor Eric Adams seeking to end the mandate.
The 72 fired workers demand the city overturn the mandate, reinstate their jobs and compensate them with punitive damages.
The workers contend the mandate should be found “arbitrary and capricious” given that “President Joe Biden, Governor Kathy Hochul and Senator Chuck Schumer have all declared that the pandemic is over,” and that it was already rescinded for private sector employees and students, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in the Bronx County.
On Jan. 13, New York Supreme Court Judge Gerard Neri declared the state’s vaccination mandate “null, void, and of no effect” and that it was “arbitrary and capricious” on the basis that Covid-19 vaccines do not stop transmission of the virus.
On Nov. 27, a published report by six pathologists from Heidelberg (Germany) University Hospital who performed autopsies on 25 individuals who died unexpectedly at home and within 20 days after Covid vaccination.
They found five cases where “autopsy findings indicated death due to acute arrhythmogenic cardiac failure. Thus, myocarditis can be a potentially lethal complication following mRNA-based anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccination.”
None had signs of a pre-existing heart disease.
The study, “Autopsy-based histopathological characterization of myocarditis after anti-SARS-CoV-2-vaccination,” appeared in Clinical Research in Cardiology, official journal of the German Cardiac Society.
The CDC says on its website that deaths after Covid-19 vaccination are rare and that reports of adverse effects after vaccination, including deaths, “do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem.”
Deaths per day in the U.S. fell this week to 627, according to ycharts.com, compared to 3,000 when the Delta variant raged.
Data for 2021 and 2022 show deaths peak in January, but that did not happen in 2023.
Santa Cruz County reports 51 Covid deaths after Omicron, compared to 225 as of Dec. 15, 2021, before Omicron.
No local deaths were reported in the last two months.
The last nine deaths were people who were vaccinated, according to the county dashboard, all 65 or older with medical conditions.
Tests at Home
Santa Cruz County reports 317 active Covid cases, half the number from a month ago.
Dr. John Swartzberg, clinical professor emeritus of infectious diseases and vaccinology at UC Berkeley School of Public Health, contends Covid case data are not valuable for monitoring the virus because so many people buy tests sold at drugstores for use at home, which escape tracking by public health officials.
The Santa Cruz County Office of Education reported 706,100 tests with Inspire Diagnostics.
According to the Santa Cruz Office of Education, cases in schools peaked at 4,407 on Jan. 27, 2022, and in January 2023 were 273.
The 14-day positivity rate, 12.25% in January 2022, was 2.33% in January 2023.
On Jan. 23, the FDA announced plans to offer a single dose of Covid-19 vaccine each fall, retiring the original vaccine and offering only the bivalent vaccine.
The CDC plans to provide a recommended vaccine schedule in 2023.
On Oct. 20, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously in favor of adding the Covid vaccine to the federal recommended immunization schedule for children and adults.
The existing schedule recommends 27 doses of vaccine between birth and age 6.
The committee heard Dr. Tom Shimabukuro report the death of a boy 13 days after his first dose of Pfizer Covid vaccine. The autopsy showed the cause of death was heart inflammation known as myocarditis; tests found no evidence of viral infection.
The death was reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System, and verified by the CDC. Committee members determined Covid vaccine benefits outweigh the risks.
The CDC said its recommendation is not a mandate, with the decision up to states, counties and municipal officials.
California’s SB 277 requires students be vaccinated to attend public school; no exemptions for personal belief. Homeschoolers are exempt.
To order a free at-home test kit, visit www.covid.gov/tests or call 1-800-232-0233.
Local info: www.santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus or (831) 454-4242 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Santa Cruz County
In hospital with positive Covid test: 11
Intensive care: 0
COVID Deaths: 276
As of Jan. 31
85 and older: 121 • 75-84: 64 • 65-74: 49 • 60-64: 15 • 55-59: 4 • 45-54: 10 • 35-44: 8 • 25-34: 5
Yes: 226 • No: 50
Yes: 39 • No: 237
White 163 • Latinx 90 • Asian 16 • Black 3 • Amer Indian 1 • Hawaiian 1 • Another 2
Men: 140 • Women: 136
At facility for aged: 118 • Not at a facility: 158