Feds try to delay release of non-public COVID vaccine safety data until at least 2026

Biden administration seeks 18-month stay before processing Just the News open records request, America First Legal calls delay request "shocking."

Published: June 19, 2024 11:35pm

Updated: June 20, 2024 7:48am

The Biden administration is seeking to delay until at least 2026 the release of COVID-19 vaccine safety data that has been kept outside the government’s normal adverse events reporting system.

The Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services asked U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton this week to issue an 18-month stay that keeps them from having to release the Food and Drug  Administration’s data to Just the News under the Freedom of Information Act.

The federal agencies alleged that “exceptional circumstances” exist to necessitate the delay in compliance with the open records law because the FDA is stretched thin by numerous other requests for public information related to the pandemic.

The agency “has been dealing with an unprecedented workload requiring FOIA productions involving approximately 5.7 million pages of COVID-19 vaccine records in a compressed timeframe,” the government argued in the motion filed Tuesday night.

The government revealed it has secured stays in seven other cases seeking records and asked Walton to do the same with the Just the News request. Federal lawyers claim the agency hired several new employees to try to speed up processing but that it can take up to two years to train new staff to process such requests.

“Thus, despite the Branch’s good-faith investment in increasing its future processing capacity by training new employees, its resources remain limited during this lengthy onboarding period,” the government claimed.

Just the News, which is represented in the case by the America First Legal public interest law firm, is opposing the stay and a status conference is scheduled Thursday before the judge.

Gene Hamilton, America First Legal’s general counsel and vice president, on Wednesday dismissed the government’s request as a delay tactic that will keep patients who might consider getting additional vaccine boosters from having full data to make an informed decision.

“This is a typical government excuse which is,’ Oh, we're so busy, we don't have the resources to help provide you, the American people with the information that you need,’” Hamilton told the Just the News, No Noise television show.

“So you just need to wait until 18 months from now. And maybe you'll get to see it, maybe you won't. And what they're hoping to do is stretch this out to the point where everybody forgets about it,” he added.

Hamilton said his law firm found evidence recently that FDA had enough resources to post Internet memes during the pandemic and that it could certainly find personnel or contractors to speed up release of the vaccine safety data that can be important to patients and doctors making health decisions,

The database contains information that “everyone has a right to know,” Hamilton said. “People need to have the right to engage in informed consent before they're about to engage in some kind of medical procedure. People have the right to know things that are about their health, about the risks, and if there's any benefits, certainly, but if there's all of the risks.

“They need to know what the government knows, and the fact that we're having to sue with y'all to try to get access to this information, just to provide people with what they need to make their own decision, should be totally unacceptable and shocking to every American,” he added.

Just the News and America First Legal sued the Biden administration in February, asking the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to order the Department of Health and Human Services to comply with two Freedom of Information Act requests to the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seeking COVID-19 reactions data kept in a back-end, nonpublic system to the nation’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

VAERS is the nation’s repository for all reports of patients suffering reactions or adverse events – up to and including death – after receiving vaccines.

The suit quoted government officials, news articles and private-sector scientists working with the government on VAERS data who stated publicly there is a private database affiliated with VAERS that includes data that is not accessible to the public but includes important safety information specifically on COVID-19 jabs.

“The public-facing database contains only initial reports, while the private, back-end system contains all updates and corrections – such as a formal diagnosis, recovery, or death,” the lawsuit explained.

You can read the full lawsuit here:

ECF 001 - Solomon v. HHS, Complaint.pdf

The lawsuit provided the court a powerful example of the type of information that is currently not being given the public in the VAERs because it is kept in the backend system, according to information published recently by the major medical journal publishing company BMJ.

“The public VAERS database reportedly did not include an autopsy examiner’s conclusion that the death of a 15-year-old boy was caused by ‘stress cardiomyopathy following [his] second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine,’” the suit said.

Just the News filed FOIA requests for the back-end data with both the FDA and the CDC on Jan.6. The FDA assigned a control number for its request but never complied with providing any data, the suit said.

The CDC came back in February declining to provide any data, claiming the requested information “fell under the jurisdiction of the [FDA]” and “referred Mr. Solomon’s initial request to FDA and administratively closed the initial request,” the suit stated.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who has held hearings on concerns and public mistrust about COVID-19 vaccines, told Just the News earlier this year that drug companies and their allies in the regulatory agencies have been so invested in the success of MRNA vaccines technology and the profits of the COVID-19 vaccines that he fears they are keeping negative information from coming to light.

“They're going to continue to cover up the real the damage being done by these what I would consider now very dangerous, very suspect mRNA vaccines,” he said.

Drugmakers, the FDA and CDC have acknowledged there is evidence of adverse events like myocarditis – inflammation of the heart – but that such affects are rare  and shouldn’t scare Americans from getting the shots.

In fact, the CDC recommended in February that Americans over the age of 65 should get an additional vaccine booster in 2024.

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