Biden Administration Requests Delay in COVID-19 Vaccine Data Release

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In a surprising move on Tuesday, the Biden administration asked for an 18-month delay in releasing data on reactions to COVID-19 vaccines, according to Just the News. This request was made through a motion filed with a district court by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The motion pertains to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Just the News, which sought data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

What is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

FOIA mandates that government agencies release requested information unless it harms interests like personal privacy, national security, or law enforcement. Just the News claims that a private “back-end” database connected to VAERS exists, which aims to detect safety problems in U.S.-licensed vaccines. This alleged database reportedly contains information on vaccine recipients’ deaths, recoveries, and formal diagnoses.

The Government’s Reason for Delay

The DOJ and HHS argue that “exceptional circumstances” justify the need for a delay. They pointed to the massive number of FOIA requests related to COVID-19 vaccine information. The FDA, responsible for handling these requests, is reportedly overwhelmed, managing an unprecedented workload that involves approximately 5.7 million pages of COVID-19 vaccine records in a compressed timeframe.

Staffing and Training Issues

Processing these FOIA requests is time-consuming, partly due to the training required for new employees. The agencies claim they have hired several new staffers to expedite processing, but these employees are still in a two-year training period.

The Response from America First Legal

America First Legal (AFL), representing Just the News in this case, argues that the federal government is trying to prevent vaccine recipients from accessing all available data to make informed decisions about the injections. AFL Vice President Gene Hamilton criticized the delay, saying it’s a typical government excuse. “Oh, we’re so busy, we don’t have the resources to help provide you, the American people, with the information that you need,” he said. Hamilton contends that the purported private VAERS database contains information that people have a right to know before making medical decisions.

The Importance of Informed Consent

Hamilton emphasized the importance of informed consent, stating that people need to know the risks and benefits of medical treatments. “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,” he said.

The Federal Agencies’ Silence

Despite the ongoing controversy, the Justice Department and Health and Human Services Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The National Desk.

The Broader Implications

This delay raises significant questions about transparency and trust in government agencies. As the public awaits the release of this critical data, the debate over vaccine safety and the right to information continues to intensify. Will this 18-month delay erode public trust further, or will it provide the agencies with the necessary time to handle the overwhelming workload effectively? Only time will tell.


Conclusion

In summary, the Biden administration’s request for an 18-month delay in releasing COVID-19 vaccine reaction data has sparked controversy and criticism. The federal agencies cite an unprecedented workload and the need for extensive staff training as reasons for the delay. Meanwhile, AFL and other critics argue that the public has a right to this information to make informed medical decisions. As this situation unfolds, the balance between government transparency and operational feasibility remains a contentious issue.

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