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Hospitals dispute firefighters’ claims on bad COVID-19 vaccine reactions


Some firefighters in Florida who are protesting the county’s requirement that all employees get the COVID-19 vaccine are sounding alarms about the shot, but hospital officials say they are not seeing problems with the vaccines. This week, some firefighters told county commissioners they are responding to large numbers of people suffering medical complications from the vaccine. "I transport more people, more Central Florida brothers and sisters, that are vaccinated with issues, adverse reactions, or with COVID than I do unvaccinated," Wendy Williams said. "On a daily basis, dispatch receives an excessive amount of 911 calls regarding vaccine reactions," firefighter Jason Wheat said.Sister station WESH looked into those claims, reaching out to Central Florida’s biggest hospital systems. "The answer is no, we’re not seeing a lot of reactions," Dr. Tim Hendrix with AdventHealth Centra Care said. "This is a very safe vaccine.""We have not seen increased complications or visits to the emergency room post vaccines," said Dr. Neil Finkler, AdventHealth’s chief clinical officer. Orlando Health would not directly answer the question of whether it has seen a large number of adverse reactions to the vaccine, but issued the following statement:"It has been our experience that failing to get vaccinated is the biggest predictor of serious illness and deaths from COVID-19. Orlando Health continues to strongly encourage the community to obtain a COVID vaccine, which can also assist with preventing the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19."WESH also asked Orange County for 911 call records related to any vaccine reactions, but a spokeswoman said the agency does not have any special classifications for COVID-19-related calls, so there are no records available. There is one place to find reports of possible problems: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). The database has several limitations, including that anyone can submit a report, which can be unverified and incomplete. There is also rarely confirmation that the reaction being reported is directly caused by the vaccine, instead of coincidental. Health care providers are required to report deaths and life-threatening reactions to VAERS. WESH searched the database for reactions to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines reported in Florida, specifically those that resulted in deaths, hospitalizations, emergency room visits, or were life-threatening. VAERS returned more than 4,000 results; some were very serious illnesses, others were very minor and the patients were discharged quickly. The Florida Department of Health says more than 13,000,000 people in the state have been vaccinated.

Some firefighters in Florida who are protesting the county’s requirement that all employees get the COVID-19 vaccine are sounding alarms about the shot, but hospital officials say they are not seeing problems with the vaccines.

This week, some firefighters told county commissioners they are responding to large numbers of people suffering medical complications from the vaccine.

"I transport more people, more Central Florida brothers and sisters, that are vaccinated with issues, adverse reactions, or with COVID than I do unvaccinated," Wendy Williams said.

"On a daily basis, dispatch receives an excessive amount of 911 calls regarding vaccine reactions," firefighter Jason Wheat said.

Sister station WESH looked into those claims, reaching out to Central Florida’s biggest hospital systems.

"The answer is no, we’re not seeing a lot of reactions," Dr. Tim Hendrix with AdventHealth Centra Care said. "This is a very safe vaccine."

"We have not seen increased complications or visits to the emergency room post vaccines," said Dr. Neil Finkler, AdventHealth’s chief clinical officer.

Orlando Health would not directly answer the question of whether it has seen a large number of adverse reactions to the vaccine, but issued the following statement:

"It has been our experience that failing to get vaccinated is the biggest predictor of serious illness and deaths from COVID-19. Orlando Health continues to strongly encourage the community to obtain a COVID vaccine, which can also assist with preventing the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19."

WESH also asked Orange County for 911 call records related to any vaccine reactions, but a spokeswoman said the agency does not have any special classifications for COVID-19-related calls, so there are no records available.

There is one place to find reports of possible problems: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). The database has several limitations, including that anyone can submit a report, which can be unverified and incomplete. There is also rarely confirmation that the reaction being reported is directly caused by the vaccine, instead of coincidental.

Health care providers are required to report deaths and life-threatening reactions to VAERS.

WESH searched the database for reactions to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines reported in Florida, specifically those that resulted in deaths, hospitalizations, emergency room visits, or were life-threatening.

VAERS returned more than 4,000 results; some were very serious illnesses, others were very minor and the patients were discharged quickly.

The Florida Department of Health says more than 13,000,000 people in the state have been vaccinated.


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