This story first appeared on Cowboy State Daily
By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming has seen no deaths related to the coronavirus vaccine, the Wyoming Department of Health, the department said this week.
Department spokeswoman Kim Deti told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday that there is misleading information floating around online about the vaccines and she repeated assurances they are safe and effective.
“It’s important to know deaths that occur after vaccination are investigated by the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention],” Deti said. “The CDC has not determined the vaccine to have caused any deaths in Wyoming. Unfortunately, at the same time we continue to see COVID-19 related deaths in the state, which are verified through death certificate review.”
Wyoming has seen nearly 800 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began last year.
The state also has a relatively low vaccination rate, around 35%. Deti said sometimes people will pull information from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, a national safety monitoring system, and discuss those numbers in misleading ways.
“Healthcare providers, vaccine manufacturers and any member of the public can submit reports to VAERS. The submission of a report does not make it true and is not proof that the vaccine caused an incident,” she said. “VAERS reports alone cannot be used to determine if a vaccine caused or contributed to an adverse event or illness. The reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental or unverifiable.”
Additionally, Deti noted that vaccine providers are asked to report any significant health problems after vaccination, whether or not they believe the vaccine was the cause.
“The numbers of reports alone do not show or indicate conclusions about the severity, frequency or rates of potential problems. In large part, reports to VAERS are voluntary, which means they could be affected by biases,” she said.
She noted that between May 1 and Wednesday, about 95% of the newly-identified COVID cases in Wyoming were among people who didn’t report being fully vaccinated against the virus. Around 94% of patients hospitalized in Wyoming during that same time did not report being fully vaccinated.
While some people have experienced side effects such as a sore arm or feeling feverish and sore, reports of the vaccine causing serious adverse side effects are rare, according to the CDC.
“I know people are tired of the pandemic. I am too,” Deti said. “I’d love to be able to tell people what they want to hear, but it wouldn’t be honest. The pandemic is not over and the combination of the Delta variant dominance and our low vaccination rate could lead to problems none of us want to see.”