Judicial Watch Sues HHS for FDA’s Failure to Turn Over Emails on COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects

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Judicial Watch on Thursday announced it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Human Services (HHS) after the agency ignored a request for information on COVID-19 vaccine side effects.

Judicial Watch, a conservative foundation that “fights for accountability and integrity in law, politics and government,” on Aug. 30, 2021, sent the following request for communications to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

“All emails sent to and from members of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee regarding adverse events, deaths and/or injuries caused by investigatory vaccines for the prevention or treatment of SARS-CoV-2 and/or COVID-19 currently produced by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and/or Johnson & Johnson.”

The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee “reviews and evaluates data concerning the safety, effectiveness and appropriate use of vaccines and related biological products which are intended for use in the prevention, treatment or diagnosis of human diseases, and, as required, any other products for which the Food and Drug Administration has regulatory responsibility.”

The FDA never responded with the requested records by the Oct. 18, 2021 deadline, according to the lawsuit.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims COVID-19 vaccines are associated with common side effects like swelling at the injection site, fever, chills, fatigue and headaches, but over a million people claim they’ve suffered injuries like blood clots, neurological damage, heart problems and death.

The CDC on Friday released new data showing a total of 1,195,396 reports of adverse events following COVID vaccines were submitted between Dec. 14, 2020, and March 18, 2022, to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

VAERS is the primary government-funded system for reporting adverse vaccine reactions in the U.S.

The data included a total of 26,059 reports of deaths and 211,584 reports of serious injuries, including deaths during the same time period.

Judicial Watch said their lawsuit aims to “promote transparency, integrity and accountability in government and fidelity to the rule of law” and provide information to the American people about any other possible vaccine side effects U.S. health agencies are not disclosing.

“Americans have a right to know about any and all safety issues tied to the COVID vaccines,” said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. 

“The government’s unlawful stonewall on this issue, which will now take a federal FOIA lawsuit to resolve, suggests that there is something to hide,” Fitton said in a press release.

The FDA is notorious for failing to turn over documents regarding COVID-19 vaccines requested via FOIA. A federal judge in January ordered the FDA to produce all data it utilized in approving Pfizer’s COVID vaccine at a rate of 55,000 pages per month after the agency said it would not release the data for 75 years.