Information on The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)

The Federal VAERS database tracks Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting for the U.S. – but what else is it being used for?


Background and Public Health Importance

Medical professionals working with vaccines

Established in 1990, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a national early warning system to detect possible safety problems in U.S.-licensed vaccines. VAERS is co-managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). VAERS accepts and analyzes reports of adverse events (possible side effects) after a person has received a vaccination. Anyone can report an adverse event to VAERS. Healthcare professionals are required to report certain adverse events and vaccine manufacturers are required to report all adverse events that come to their attention.

VAERS is a passive reporting system, meaning it relies on individuals to send in reports of their experiences to CDC and FDA. VAERS is not designed to determine if a vaccine caused a health problem, but is especially useful for detecting unusual or unexpected patterns of adverse event reporting that might indicate a possible safety problem with a vaccine. This way, VAERS can provide CDC and FDA with valuable information that additional work and evaluation is necessary to further assess a possible safety concern.

Objectives of VAERS

The primary objectives of VAERS are to:

  • Detect new, unusual, or rare vaccine adverse events;
  • Monitor increases in known adverse events;
  • Identify potential patient risk factors for particular types of adverse events;
  • Assess the safety of newly licensed vaccines;
  • Determine and address possible reporting clusters (e.g., suspected localized [temporally or geographically] or product-/batch-/lot-specific adverse event reporting);
  • Recognize persistent safe-use problems and administration errors;
  • Provide a national safety monitoring system that extends to the entire general population for response to public health emergencies, such as a large-scale pandemic influenza vaccination program.

Click here to go to the CDC VAERS website

Click here to go to the HHS VAERS link

Click here to report an adverse event

Click here to read a PolitiFact article about the VAERS database

Much disinformation is fueled by people who claim this government data tool as their source.  Anyone can post anything they want on this data entry platform, it is not vetted, evaluated, or screened by anyone before it is made available to the public.  It was not designed to be used as evidence for anything.  It was designed to be a starting point for researchers and physicians, not to be used as a tool to spread unscientific information under the pretext of “official government data” in order to intentionally lend it false credibility to lay people. 

Let us know what you think about this information by leaving us a comment.

Ms. Jenn Landers | Patient Advocate Alliance LLC
Edited by Dr. Justin Groode

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