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CDC director: Getting 'hit by a truck' after COVID vax must be reported to vax injury system

Often criticized for making far-fetched COVID claims, Walensky turns heads in heated exchange with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in CDC guidance hearing.

Published: June 13, 2023 3:09pm

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has faced recurring criticism for two years for overstating the power of COVID-19 vaccines, going so far as to claim that clinical trials and "real-world data" showed that "vaccinated people do not carry the virus," which her agency walked back a few days later.

She made another claim that puzzled observers at a House Oversight Coronavirus Pandemic Subcommittee hearing Tuesday, about what must be reported to the federal government's Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) noted that COVID vaccines were the subject of more than 700,000 VAERS reports in 2021 compared to about 14,000 for the next-most reported vaccine, for shingles. The Biden administration imposed large employer and federal contractor COVID vaccine mandates that fall.

Laughing incredulously, Walensky said VAERS was designed for "over-reporting" because anyone can submit a report and that "untoward event[s]" aren't necessarily vaccine-related.

But she also nodded toward mandatory reporting requirements by healthcare providers and vaccine makers. "If you got hit by a truck after you got your vaccine, that was reported" to VAERS, which is why officials "comb through" every report "to see if they are related," Walensky told Greene.

In some circumstances, reporting a truck injury would seem to be required under the COVID vaccine section of the FAQ page for VAERS. It requires mandatory reporters to submit all serious adverse events, which include death, "life-threatening" reactions, inpatient hospitalization and "substantial disruption of the ability to conduct normal life functions."

The CDC and Department of Health and Human Services, which runs VAERS, did not respond to requests to comment on Walensky's response to Greene.

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