Letter to the editor: We will all benefit from using evidence-based argumentation
As requested by letter writer Rachel Steinmetz, I entered the article titled “Physician to FDA, CDC: In 20 Years of Practicing Medicine, ‘I’ve Never Witnessed So Many Vaccine-Related Injuries“ into the Google search engine. The first search result was a .pdf file containing Dr. Patricia Lee’s legal representative’s introductory letter along with Lee’s full letter. Google neither censored nor fact-checked the results. Google does customize search results, but my results beg the question whether the claim of Google cherry-picking (filtering) and/or littering (fact-check flagging) these types of results is an accurate one.
Lee admits that her claims are anecdotal, her own clinical observations and not scientific facts. Other search results connected to her letter, such as one on the ChildrensHealthDefense.org site, reference the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System as a source. VAERS is an open reporting system for physicians, as well as anyone else to self-report their interpretation of a vaccine-adverse event. The system neither filters nor validates, and it contains all events reported, regardless of scientific review and/or verification. Though the system states that knowingly filing a false VAERS report is a violation of federal law, it surprisingly does not require reporters to provide any personal information typically used to verify claims. Personal contact fields appear voluntary, making some VAERS reports impossible to validate.
Using the search results from VAERS or an individual’s observations/experiences to support claims of “so many vaccine related injuries” constitutes fallacious reasoning. When discussing the efficacy of COVID-19 or other vaccines, we will all benefit from using evidence-based argumentation to support our thoughts, ideas and opinions of this important and valuable work done by our scientific, medical and pharmaceutical communities.
Let us all keep discussing these issues with a goal of growing stronger our safe, healthy, democratic and free society.
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