During a recent hearing of the subcommittee in the House that deals specifically in this Congress with issues related to COVID-19, panel member Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) maligned some of the rhetoric from fellow committee participant Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). Speaking directly before Garcia, Greene had tried to use data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to make a point about supposed dangers from the COVID-19 vaccines.
That data, collected as part of a federal effort, doesn’t provide conclusive connections between shots and negative health impacts. The collection of information is proactive, and most anyone can make a report through the system. It’s only after the assembling of the data that Greene has repeatedly cited that experts and authorities can look further into whether there was a substantive connection beyond a mere proximity in time to a vaccine for reported adverse events.
“Well, that was a lot,” Garcia opened. “I want to just first start by saying that we know that the VAERS system should not be used. [It’s] an unverified way of actually looking at the numbers, and so to continue to bring that up as actually a functional way of looking at the impacts of the pandemic is quite irresponsible. The comments we just heard I think speak to a lot of the other comments that we’ve been hearing in these hearings, and that is that there is a complete dismantling of the importance of what vaccinations actually have done in this country, how many lives have actually been saved.”
Garcia also criticized Republicans for having recently hosted Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who spreads conspiracy theories about various vaccinations and the COVID-19 pandemic in particular. Garcia additionally made a connection between advocacy against vaccines by public figures like Greene, Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, and others and needless, preventable deaths suffered by vulnerable everyday Americans.