In a “huge win for transparency,” a federal judge this month ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to disclose the entirety of a critical COVID-19 vaccine safety database to independent researchers and the public.
The ruling requires the CDC to produce more than 7.8 million free-text reports detailing adverse reactions submitted by COVID-19 vaccine recipients through the V-safe monitoring app. The agency must release the texts according to a strict schedule over the next year.
The judge rejected the CDC’s claims that confidentiality concerns and resource limitations prevented the agency from publicly releasing the trove of first-hand testimonies.
Instead, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk for the Northern District of Texas, Amarillo Division, embraced arguments from the plaintiffs — the nonprofit watchdog group Freedom Coalition of Doctors for Choice — that obscuring the data enabled potentially misleading safety conclusions by hindering full understanding of the vaccines’ impacts.
Prior lawsuits forced the CDC to release superficial, check-the-box summaries of common symptoms generated by the V-safe system. However, the free-text fields that the CDC is now required to release represent the lone channel for reporting serious conditions like myocarditis, blood clots or strokes.
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The CDC so far has analyzed data only from the first one to two weeks after vaccination, painting an incomplete picture of the long-term dangers of the mRNA shots. The release of the full qualitative accounts offers the public the opportunity to undertake more detailed and accurate safety assessments.
In his ruling, Kacsmaryk wrote:
“If ‘some scientists’ — sponsored or platformed by Defendants — ‘have chosen to use’ only the first week or two of data to report the vaccine is safe and effective, then other scientists should be permitted to access the data to ‘pierce the veil of administrative secrecy,’ ‘open agency action to the light of public scrutiny,’ and ‘promote the disclosure of information.’ …
“With billions of taxpayer dollars expended to develop, distribute, administer, and fund messaging campaigns, Plaintiff assumes a hefty and viable public interest in examining the raw clinical data.”
“This is a huge win for transparency,” Aaron Siri, attorney for the plaintiff, told Del Bigtree on the Jan. 11 episode of The Highwire. “It’ll be an incredible opportunity to actually see what was being told to the CDC by the public.”
THIS. IS. SO. AWESOME.
If the vaccine is so safe and effective, the CDC should be tripping over itself to publish this information widely rather than trying everything it can to withhold it.
A HUGE victory.
Epidemiologists worldwide are CELEBRATING. https://t.co/UFqQEwhbIj
— Steve Kirsch (@stkirsch) January 12, 2024