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New Revelations About COVID Vaccine Injuries and Lawsuits, Examining Big Pharma Corruption, and Media Censorship

Special note from Creative Director Amber Yang: A few of our readers have requested that we report on stories that advocate for the safety and efficacy of the COVID vaccine. Because that is a perspective widely covered, our main mission at is to investigate challenging views and issues that continue to remain in the shadows of public awareness. Our intentions are not to vilify or discredit any side, but to educate those who seek perspectives beyond official narratives. We invite you to explore this long-form essay about the latest revelations regarding COVID vaccine injuries, the rise of COVID vaccine-related lawsuits, examining Big Pharma corruption, and media censorship (including vaccine giant Moderna’s new disinformation department).

Hey readers,

37 year-old O’Brian Pastrana was a dedicated firefighter for the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) for almost a decade. In the wake of the COVID vaccine mandates for NYC workers, he got vaccinated. His first Pfizer shot landed him in the emergency room three times due to severe allergic reactions. Complying with the city wide mandate, he got his second Pfizer dose which landed him in the hospital again. A few months later, Pastrana was nearly in heart failure. He was diagnosed with myocarditis, a potentially fatal inflammation of the cardiac muscle. Now suffering from permanent heart damage, he was told he could never be a firefighter again, and was forced to retire. He was given a non-line-of-duty pension, which pays out less than half of his salary plus overtime.

Pastrana is currently undergoing a legal process for accidental disability pension benefits. In the meantime, he has been diagnosed with PTSD, depression, and anxiety due to the damages from the COVID vaccine and government mandate. He is unable to play catch with his 12-year-old daughter or help his wife around the house. President of the FDNY Uniformed Firefighter Association Andrew Ansbro expressed solidarity with Pastrana. The city “held his job over his head and forced him to choose between a vaccine that he did not want, and feeding his family,” he told The New York Post.

Pastrana's tragic story is part of a growing call for a nuanced discussion on the safety and efficacy of the COVID vaccines. This includes the vaccine mandates that followed its rollout, where those questioning vaccine safety were punished and ridiculed on a massive scale. Whether or not the COVID vaccines saved lives and regardless of where each of us stand on the subject of vaccines, a real science-based approach would be to follow the evidence wherever it leads. Undisclosed safety risks and harms must be investigated, even if those investigations produce inconvenient findings. This is especially important in a time where top leaders in medicine and science, including editors-in-chief of leading journals, are speaking out about how science is being manipulated by powerful interests.

Currently, there is minimal mainstream dialogue about the harms and injuries associated with the COVID vaccine. Instead, we’re told that vaccine injuries are rare. Yet public backlash against the COVID vaccine, including landmark lawsuits, is beginning to emerge. More importantly, the people speaking out aren’t MAGA conspiracy theorists. They’re also not “vaccine misinformation superspreaders,” a derogatory label for the “12 people behind most vaccine hoaxes on social media,” as NPR claims.

Those speaking out are a growing number of everyday people who stepped up to get the COVID vaccine, suffered serious injuries and deaths, and were abandoned by the medical and media systems. Mainstream media portrayals of COVID vaccine harm ignore the growing mountain of evidence supporting dissenting views. According to a recent Rasmussen Reports poll, "24% of American Adults say they know someone personally who died from side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine."

The numbers speak for themselves. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a voluntary government reporting system that only captures a portion of the actual injuriesVaccine adverse event numbers are made publically available, and currently show 2,543,974 COVID vaccine injury reports, 36,501 COVID Vaccine Reported Deaths, and 211,257 COVID Vaccine Reported Hospitalizations.

Recent findings by The BMJ, a renowned medical journal, reveal that the VAERS system presents an incomplete and incorrect picture of vaccine injuries.

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) ... collects reports of symptoms, diagnoses, hospital admissions, and deaths after vaccination. VAERS is supposed to be user friendly, responsive, and transparent. However, investigations by The BMJ have uncovered that it’s not meeting its own standards. Not only have staffing levels failed to keep pace with the unprecedented number of reports since the rollout of covid vaccines but there are signs that the system is overwhelmed. In the face of an unprecedented 1.7 million reports since the rollout of covid vaccines, VAERS’s staffing was likely not commensurate with the demands of reviewing the serious reports submitted, including reports of death. While other countries have acknowledged deaths that were “likely” or “probably” related to mRNA vaccination, the CDC—which says that it has reviewed nearly 20,000 preliminary reports of death using VAERS (far more than other countries)—has not acknowledged a single death linked to mRNA vaccines. In November 2022, React19, an advocacy group of some 30,000 people who have experienced prolonged illness after covid vaccination, reviewed 126 VAERS reports among its ranks. 22% had never been given a permanent VAERS ID number and 12% had disappeared from the system entirely. The BMJ has found that the FDA and CDC essentially maintain two separate VAERS databases: a public facing database, containing only initial reports; and a private, back end system containing all updates and corrections—such as a formal diagnosis, recovery, or death.

Albert Benavides is a VAERS researcher who recently wrote a comprehensive Substack piece investigating the corruption and dysfunction of the VAERS system, including how the VAERS system even deleted dead Pfizer Trial patients:

Interviews with more than a dozen VAERS users by The BMJ—all of whom were trying to file reports of a serious nature—revealed a patchy and frustrating experience. Some users heard back from clinical reviewers months after making their first report, while others never heard anything. Some of those making reports were told conflicting information about updating their report or were discouraged from making a report altogether.

Those people include Patrick Whelan, a rheumatologist and researcher at the University of California Los Angeles, who in 2022 reported how one of his patients, a 7 year old boy, had a cardiac arrest after covid vaccination. The patient was intubated when Whelan filed a VAERS report, and he expected a prompt follow-up call from a CDC investigator.

“I assumed that, since it was a catastrophic event, the safety committee would want to hear about it right away,” he says. But, to his knowledge, nobody called or requested medical records.

James Gill has been a medical examiner and forensic pathologist for 25 years and is currently chief medical examiner for the state of Connecticut. In June 2021 he made the first VAERS report of his career. It was for a 15 year old boy who died suddenly days after getting a second jab—what Gill concluded on autopsy was “stress cardiomyopathy following second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine.”

Gill, who has appointments at Yale University and the University of Connecticut, can’t recall getting any calls from VAERS after he filled out the online form, and he still has only a temporary “e-report” number. After he published the case reports in the Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine in February 2022, however, the CDC did respond—in the form of a letter to the editor contesting Gill’s findings.

A week after Whelan filed the VAERS report for his young patient in Los Angeles, he had cause to update it. The boy’s condition didn’t improve, and the decision was made to terminate life support. But “there was no mechanism for [updating] it,” he tells The BMJ. “The only option I had was to make a new VAERS report.”

Today, however, that VAERS report still shows the child as having been admitted to hospital. “I made the false assumption that that conversation would result in an adjustment in the publicly reported case,” says Whelan. “Think of all the people who are using VAERS data as a means to assess what’s happening with the vaccines—except in this case you’d be left with the false impression that the child had had a serious adverse event,” rather than seeing that he’d died.

Current and former FDA advisers and academics recently asked the FDA to make critical changes to official COVID vaccine product labels, citing a range of significant adverse events and injuries post vaccination. This included multiple autopsy studies on lethal vaccination-associated myocarditis, multi system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), pulmonary embolism, sudden cardiac death, neuropathology and autonomic disorders, decreased sperm concentration, heavy menstrual bleeding and detection of vaccine mRNA in breast milk. Four months later, the agency denied almost every request.

While former CDC director Rochelle Walenksy claimed that the US government had not seen any reports of myocarditis, internal CDC emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request reveal multiple threads discussing myocarditis, including a US government memorandum from March 2021 that acknowledged there were cases of myocarditis reported in the US VAERS system. This memo was a response to an email from the Israeli Ministry of Health, who addressed the CDC and FDA in concern about a large number of reports of myocarditis following the Pfizer vaccine, particularly in young people. As journalist Alex Gutentag writes in a Substack piece, “The CDC has not released complete, updated data on myocarditis. The agency’s cover-up of adverse cardiac events has had profound consequences and represents a major breach of trust and abuse of authority."

The Rise of COVID Vaccine-Related Lawsuits

The legal front of this issue is beginning to take shape. The US Justice Department has started hiring attorneys in anticipation of a surge in COVID vaccine lawsuits. People injured by the COVID vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson vaccines, etc) are suing the US federal government over the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP), a process that shields drug companies from lawsuits and deprives people of their right to a jury trial. The plaintiffs blame the COVID vaccine for causing a wide range of ailments including Bell’s palsy, blood clots in the brain, vertigo, vascular inflammation, chronic fatigue syndrome, small fiber neuropathy, heart palpitations and more. Currently, the CICP is the only avenue through which those with a COVID-19 vaccine injury can seek compensation.

Currently, 12,233 Covid-19 claims have been filed with the CICP. More than 9,000 of those allege Covid-19 vaccines were involved in injuries or deaths. While only a small fraction of Countermeasure Program’s Covid claims have been addressed, the overwhelming majority of those—1,235—have been denied. Most missed a filing deadline. The program has deemed 32 claims eligible for compensation; only 6 have resulted in compensation.

“There’s probably a large number of injured people, and the more negative outcomes that are realized through the CICP, I think you’ll have more frustrated individuals,” [past president of the Vaccine Injured Petitioners Bar Association Christina ] Ciampolillo said.

The CICP essentially shields drugmakers from lawsuits. But [attorney David] Carney said that given there’s “not a sufficient legal forum to adjudicate” Covid-19 injury claims and that the CICP isn’t “a suitable alternative to civil tort litigation,” it is arguable that pharmaceutical companies could be next in line to be sued.

“Very soon, we’re going to see people sue the vaccine manufacturers,” Carney said.

— “Covid Vaccine Injury Suit May Fuel Federal Overhaul, Litigation,” Bloomberg Law

In the UK, a legal landmark case alleges significant injuries and damages from the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine. Claimants include Jamie Scott, a father-of-two who is now unable to work due to a blood clot shortly after receiving the vaccine, which left him with permanent brain damage. Another claim is being brought by the widower and two young children of a 35-year-old woman Alpa Tailor, who died shortly after taking the AZ shot.

Undisclosed risks of the COVID vaccine are part of a larger story of Big Pharma corruption.

Vaccine pharmaceutical giants are reaping billions of dollars in profits. In 2021 and 2022, Pfizer, BioNTech, Moderna, and Sinovac enjoyed $90 billion in profits on their COVID-19 vaccines and medicines. By relentlessly pursuing profits from the technologies and medicines they produce, these corporate entities also downplay the significant risks these products have on human health.

Many of us have a hard time believing that our government agencies would allow such harms to occur at the hands of corporate elites shaping medicine and health. Yet this may not be a surprise to those who have studied the Big Pharma playbook. America's opioid industry operated like a drug cartel, reaping billions in profits while countless Americans suffered the cost. In late 2020, Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty to penalties of more than $8 billion for its role in the opioid crisis.

Kim Witczak, an FDA advisory committee member who reviews new drugs coming to market, began investigating the US drug safety system after her husband unexpectedly took his own life while taking the antidepressant Zoloft. What she found was industry-wide corruption and compromised regulatory agencies. Corporate profits were put ahead of science. Drug safety and clinical trial integrity suffered as a result:

If you haven’t heard of Zoloft, you’ve certainly heard of one of its many competitors—Lexapro, Celexa, Prozac—each one a blockbuster product that brought in billions of dollars for drug makers. When I began looking into the history of these medications, I was shocked to learn that the FDA first held hearings on Prozac and the links to violent behavior and suicide in 1991—twelve years before Woody began taking Zoloft. Physicians advising the FDA concluded there was no link between Prozac and suicide, but many of these experts had a financial link to antidepressant drug makers. Nonetheless, the FDA told Eli Lilly, the maker of Prozac, to study the issue of suicidality.

But Eli Lilly never did the studies, and the FDA never followed up. It wasn’t until 2004, the year after Woody took his own life, that the FDA was forced to investigate the suicide issue. And the agency only did this after the UK came out with warnings for children. This was 13 years after the initial FDA hearings in 1991.

— "Americans Are Fools for Pharma," Witczak's guest essay on Substack

Vioxx was an anti-inflammatory and arthritis drug introduced by Big Pharma giant Merck, which was approved by the FDA in 1999. Eventually, deadly health risks associated with the drug came to surface and Merck agreed to pay $4.85 billion to settle nearly 27,000 lawsuits. In a congressional hearing over the health risks of Vioxx, FDA analysts estimated that Vioxx caused between 88,000 and 139,000 heart attacks, 30 to 40 percent of which were probably fatal, in the five years the drug was on the market.

Going further, Merck made a “hit list” of doctors who criticized Vioxx, which was revealed in a Vioxx class action case in Australia:

The list, emailed between Merck employees, contained doctors' names with the labels "neutralise," "neutralised" or "discredit" next to them. One email said: We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live … The allegations come on the heels of revelations that Merck created a fake medical journal -- the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine -- in which to publish studies about Vioxx; had pop songs commissioned about Vioxx to inspire its staff, and paid ghostwriters to draft articles about the drug. — “Merck Created Hit List to 'Destroy,' 'Neutralize' or 'Discredit' Dissenting Doctors,” CBS News

Strategies to silence, censor, and defame those who challenge mainstream narratives is a core aspect of how COVID vaccine giants are downplaying the risks associated with the shots. A new investigation by independent journalists Lee Fang and Jack Poulson has revealed the surveillance strategies of pharmaceutical giant Moderna, and their efforts to shut down vaccine “misinformation” with the help of former law enforcement and public health officials.

With the help of a drug industry-funded NGO called Public Good Projects (PGP), Moderna has been using AI to “monitor vaccine-related conversations across 150 million websites in nearly 200 countries.” Here are some of the key findings of their investigation:

• Through internal emails from Twitter, PGP’s misinformation team frequently communicated with Todd O’Boyle, a lobbyist at Twitter, and sent him periodic Excel sheets with accounts to amplify or censor.
• PGP is financed through a $1,275,000 donation from the Biotechnology and Innovation Organization, which lobbies on behalf of Pfizer and Moderna.
• PGP had “backdoor access to Twitter data, known as the ‘firehose,’” and played a key role in helping Twitter curate its pandemic-related speech policies.
• Moderna’s corporate intelligence and marketing team has collaborated with PGP and the American Board of Internal Medicine to “help healthcare workers identify medical misinformation” called the “Infodemic Training Program.”
• The article quotes Aaron Kheriaty, a bioethicist and fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center: “This is an interesting peek behind the disinformation industry, what it actually does. It’s about controlling a narrative, controlling the flow of information, controlling how people think about public policy, like the vaccine mandate, and how people think about a particular product that a corporation is profiting from. It’s deeply disturbing.”

Missouri v. Biden revealed "disturbing coordination" between government officials, public health leaders, and social media companies in censoring narratives that didn’t conform to the official story. Judge Terry Doughty ruled that this was unconstitutional, and government officials should be held responsible for their censorship.

If vaccination was indeed the most effective way to end the pandemic, a democratic and pro-science society would still seek to understand the risks of the COVID vaccines. Many of these risks are only beginning to come to light. The bedrock of democracy is the open flow of debate and information, which includes the process of exploring what's left out of any single narrative.

Censorship is a tool to hide exploitation and injustice. The suppression of dissent creates the "illusion of consensus" in medicine, leading to a society that unquestioningly trusts official narratives at the expense of countless injuries and deaths. What gives Big Government, Tech, and Pharma the right to censor and ridicule information that opposes their interests? What are we to do about what some consider "misinformation" today, but not on examination later?

If there is any risk to these medicines and vaccines, there must be choice and informed consent–not harsh mandates, censorship, medical gaslighting, and cancel culture. The silencing of alternative narratives weakens our collective muscles to collaborate and solve problems across our differences. 

I believe in a better version of humanity than that. And I know most of us do too.

With faith in a transforming world,
Amber Yang for PEERS and

Want to explore further?

• Read our latest essay, Why Our Children Are So Sick and What We Can Do About It—Lessons from a Recent Health Freedom Conference, which takes a multifactorial approach to understanding chronic illness in our society, and how our captured government agencies serve private interests over the health of the people.

• Watch the free documentary Anecdotals, a compassionate exploration of the nuanced vaccine debate. Award-winning director and filmmaker Jennifer Sharp received her Pfizer shot in March 2021 and became ill with electric shocks, muscle weakness, and numbness in the face for months after her first dose. Realizing that she was amongst a growing body of people who were significantly harmed by the vaccine, Sharp produced Anecdotals, that raises important questions and perspectives left out in the mainstream press about the COVID-19 vaccine.

• Watch the excellent documentary VAXXED II: The People’s Truth for free. In the film, The Children's Health Defense team traveled over 50,000 miles in the US and around the world to document countless stories of those impacted by devastating vaccine injuries. Interviews of parents, doctors, and scientists reveal how vaccine injuries are more common than rare, which brings into question if vaccines are as safe and effective as we’ve been told.

• Explore our archive of news article summaries on COVID beyond the mainstream narrative, from the latest to key older articles.

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