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Verify: Deaths after vaccinations may have 'nothing to do with the vaccine'

Dr. George Rutherford, a professor of Epidemiology at UCSF, said people have to remember that dying and getting vaccinated may have nothing to do with each other.

CALIFORNIA, USA — Every few weeks, it might seem like people hear about someone who died a day or two after getting the vaccine. While those stories make headlines, people usually don’t hear that the death and the vaccine weren’t actually related.

“If you go out and you vaccinate 30 million people, which is what we’re trying to do here, there are going to be things that happen to that 30 million people," said Dr. George Rutherford, Professor of Epidemiology at UC San Francisco. "The question is, was related to the vaccine or would it happen anyway at that point in time?”

“We’re preferentially vaccinating older, frail people. And they have a high rate of mortality period,” he added.

He said we have to remember that dying and getting vaccinated may have nothing to do with each other.

“We have to know more to reach that conclusion, but I just think people need to be prepared that there will be deaths, (and) there will be new diseases that are seen after people get vaccine that have absolutely nothing to do with the vaccine,” Dr. Rutherford said.

He said all of the vaccines were tested on tens of thousands of people before the Food and Drug Administration approved them for use nationwide.

“I think we have to look at the trials and understand what exactly the side effects were from the vaccines, what exactly were related to getting vaccines and what side effects did they see - like in the placebo groups that were totally unrelated to the vaccines,” Dr. Rutherford said.

The most common severe side effect is an allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

“That occurs in about 1 in a 100,000 doses. That’s why we have people stay around for 15 minutes after they’re vaccinated or if they have complex histories of allergies," Dr. Rutherford said. "We have them stay around for half an hour after vaccination just so we can recognize anaphylaxis when it occurs.”

Dr. Rutherford said he whole heartedly endorses the vaccine.

“I certainly would encourage anyone to get... vaccinated. If you have a complex history of allergies including anaphylaxis, make sure the people at the vaccine center know it. And if you have that kind of history, I’d probably talk about it with your doctor and try and get vaccinated at the hospital rather than a pharmacy," he said. "That way, they’re going to be a little more equipped to take care of you.



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