Menge: Vaccine Reports

April 22, 2021

By Margaret Menge

The media reported that the reason the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was pulled was because just six women out of 7 million people who got the shot had a blood clot.

I don’t think this is true.

If you look in the VAERS database where health-care providers, patients and families report possible side effects, you’ll see many disturbing cases just in Indiana, including a man in his 50s who apparently had a stroke right after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“Patient presented with AMS (Altered Mental State),” the narrative begins. “History provided by father at bedside. For two days after vaccine patient reported not knowing what he was doing and where he was. Father brought him to emergency department after having breakfast together and son didn’t know how to pay or what foods he liked. Was unable to recall his father’s name.”

The disturbing narrative continues, with the person writing the report, presumably a health-care provider who treated the man at the hospital, naming the drugs that were administered – “DAPT with ASA and Plavix x 21 days and then transition to Plavix 75 mg daily, atorvastatin 80 mg.”

Then it says in parentheses “stroke treatment” and ends with “Outcome: TBD [to be determined].

It has not been reported by any media organization that an Indiana man had a stroke after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

I’m not sure why.

I called two television stations last week and gave them the information, but neither has reported on it. I also sent the information to a reporter at my local newspaper. He told me he thought it would be irresponsible to report it as it couldn’t be verified.

I think it’s irresponsible – outrageously so – to withhold information from people about something they may be getting injected into their bloodstream – something as important as this.

Because while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, produced by the company’s pharmaceutical arm, Janssen Vaccines, was taken off the market in Indiana and other states at the recommendation of the CDC, Dr. Anthony Fauci indicated last Sunday that it’s expected to be returned to use as soon as this Friday.

As of April 21, a total of 622 “adverse events” – possible side effects – were reported to VAERS, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting system, after the J&J vaccine. Just in Indiana.

VAERS is run jointly by the CDC and the FDA and serves as the early warning system for the government and pharmaceutical companies, who watch to see what side effects people seem to be experiencing after a vaccine, and make adjustments accordingly.

The information in VAERS, the government warns, is not verified. Still, these are first-hand accounts, and doctors’ accounts, of potentially serious issues with vaccines. People deserve to know what they say before they decide whether to get the shot.

When I started looking in VAERS a month ago, I had no intention of spending much time in it, but the more I read through the narratives, the more disturbed I became.

As of this week, six people in Indiana have been hospitalized after getting the J&J vaccine, including the man in his 50s who had a stroke.

One is listed as a female between the ages of 7 and 16 who appeared to have a severe allergic reaction to the shot, went into shock, and had to be stabbed with two EpiPens before being taken to the emergency room.

“Blisters on the tongue, followed by itching,” the narrative reads, “and anaphylactic shock from 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Benadryl and 2 Epi pens were used and then at the hospital steroids and IV Benadryl were utilized. Benadryl was used for the next 24 hours and then steroids prescribed outpatient.”

Another person in Indiana, a man in his 50s, was hospitalized after having uncontrollable nosebleeds after getting the J&J vaccine, and another, a woman, was admitted for pancreatitis.

A woman age 65 or older was admitted to the hospital with “fever, chills, nausea, shaking, vomiting.”

A woman in her 50s was admitted to the hospital after getting an “immediate rash in chest and face” after getting the vaccine, and by the time she was admitted to the emergency room 20 minutes later, she also had a swollen eye and throat. She was treated and released, but went back to the hospital 14 hours later with a rash on her chest and face again and also a swollen tongue and throat.

The sixth person who was hospitalized in Indiana, a woman, reported rib pain and “severe general body pain.” The person taking the report wrote that the event is “unassessable” (sic) and “has unknown scientific plausibility.”

Looking at the longer list of the 622 cases where Indiana residents reported possible side effects after the J&J vaccine, the most common symptoms seemed to be headache, body aches, fever, chills and nausea. One man in his 50s reported a “skull-crushing headache.”

On its website, the CDC says possible side effects from the J&J vaccine are: pain, redness and swelling in the arm in which the vaccine is administered, and throughout the rest of the body: tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea. But it also notes that the vaccine “could cause a severe allergic reaction.”

It recommends that people report side effects to the VAERS system, either by going online or by calling a toll-free number.

But how many people do this?

How many people even know about VAERS?

It’s interesting that public health professionals never seem to mention it.

I sent an email to the Indiana State Department of Health a few weeks back, to inquire whether they are tracking side effects, and they replied that VAERS is the only place that side effects experienced by Indiana residents are being reported and tracked.

My original searches in VAERS a month ago were for all Covid vaccines and I was shocked by what I found. Several people appeared to have died right after or soon after getting either the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine. The narratives were hard to read. They were describing the last moments of a person’s life on earth, and it was difficult not to be overcome by sadness, and to wonder whether the vaccines are doing more harm than good.

Should we really be vaccinating people in their 90s whose health is frail? People with several existing ailments, or who are on several types of medication?

In some cases, it seemed like the vaccine delivered the death blow – that it was just too much for the person’s body to take.

There are a total of 34 deaths in Indiana following vaccination reported to VAERS.

This includes some deaths that happened many days or even a month after the person got the vaccine. Of the 34 people who died, 22 had gotten the Moderna vaccine, and 11 the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. In the remaining case the vaccine manufacturer is listed as “unknown.”

In all but three cases, the person who died was 65 or older. One was a man in his 50s and another a woman in her 50s. There was also one person who died who was between the ages of 60 and 64.

The information on most of the deaths is limited. For a woman 65 or older who got the Moderna vaccine in January, it just says, “death by hemorrhagic stroke.”

For another woman 65 or older it just says “Kidney failure and death,” and then adds, “Patient heart labs were good.” She’d gotten the Moderna vaccine in February.

Most other entries are more descriptive.

One tells of an elderly lady who had a stroke after getting the Pfizer vaccine, likely in March.

“Patient received the injection May 2 [probably meant March 2]. Following the injection, we noticed an increased weakness and general achiness. On the 8th she was so weak that we purchased a gait belt to assist her. We were not super concerned as we were expecting the second shot to cause body aches or flu-like symptoms, based on what we had heard from others who had received both vaccine shots. She continued to be unsteady and we found that she has a mild UTI which we had begun treating with prescribed antibiotics. Late afternoon on the 11th, mother suffered a major stroke. We did not take her to the hospital because we had already been told that they would not be able to do anything at her age should she suffer a stroke. On the 12th I called the doctor’s office and asked for them to send Hospice to the house, as we could tell that she was dying. Mother died on the 13.  Just a week prior to her death I had spoken with Dr.___ and we had discussed that she was declining in health but that she was not even close to needing Hospice, yet she is dead a week later. Less than 2 weeks after getting her second Covid Shot.”

There are several cases where a person, though elderly, seemed to be in good health before getting the vaccine.

An 81-year-old woman is reported in VAERS to have died suddenly from a “widow maker” heart attack, where a main artery became completely blocked. It was three weeks after she’d gotten the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

A doctor, who’d removed the blockage and placed a stent in the woman, reportedly said she did not have any excessive plaque and that “The blood clot likely came on and caused the cardiac event within roughly an hour…”

“The patient had no prior symptoms and no comorbidities for blood clotting and was full of life and energy on March 5, up to when she went to bed that night. She died March 6, 2021,” the narrative reads.

There are more. But perhaps this is enough. Enough information. Enough to provide a small amount of balance to the relentless stream of news stories that hype the vaccines, without giving any indication that there may be cause for concern.

I don’t know what conclusions can be drawn from the information in VAERS. That the vaccines are saving some while harming others?

Would you feel better if your grandmother died from the vaccine, rather than from Covid-19? I would not.

I’d also be quite angry if my parent or grandparent died very soon after getting a vaccine and I came to find out only afterward that serious side effects, including death, were always a possibility, and not as remote a possibility as I was led to believe.

It is for this reason that I am writing this piece.

I should note that the VAERS data is thought to represent only a small fraction of side effects people experience, with a 2010 study by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Inc – affiliated with Harvard Medical School — finding that only 1 percent of “adverse events” following vaccination are reported to VAERS.Perhaps it’s time we started asking our public health professionals, and the media, to be more honest with us about the risks, as well as the rewards, of the Covid vaccines. Hoosiers who are sitting around trying to decide whether or not to get it deserve to have full information before the needle is jabbed into their arm.

Margaret Menge is an adjunct scholar of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation and a veteran journalist living in Bloomington. She has reported for the Miami Herald, Columbia Journalism Review, InsideSources, Breitbart, the New York Observer and the American Conservative. Menge also worked as an editor for the Miami Herald Company and for UPI.


1. The CDC asks people to report possible side effects from vaccines to VAERS by going to:  or by calling 1-800-822-7967.

2. All reports submitted to VAERS can be accessed by running a CDC Wonder search at:


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