BREAKING: Federal Judge Orders CDC to Release All V-safe Free-Text Entries in a Huge Win for Vaccine Safety Transparency

One year ago, on the heels of ICAN obtaining the check-the-box portion of the V-safe data, another lawsuit was brought to demand that CDC release the critical “free text” entries collected by V-safe—CDC’s safety monitoring system for the COVID-19 vaccines. A federal judge has now ordered the release of all 7.8 million entries over the next 12 months!

Lead Counsel, Aaron Siri, Esq. breaks down the landmark court decision here:

V-safe, the vaccine safety monitoring system rolled out for COVID-19 vaccines, was touted by CDC as part of “the most intensive safety monitoring effort in U.S. history.” But despite continued claims that the vaccines are safe and effective, CDC refused to release the V-safe data to back this up. As ICAN supporters will recall, it took two previous lawsuits, for ICAN to finally obtain the check-the-box portion of the V-safe data, which can be found on our V-safe Dashboard.

However, one critical part of V-safe data was missing: the free-text fields. These are fields where users could type in up to 250 characters about anything they wanted, such as details on their additional symptoms or their medical care. One of the reasons the free-text data is so important is because the check-the-box data previously released to ICAN, beyond being able to report seeking medical care or being unable to perform normal life functions, only tracked minor and generalized reactions such as “Chills,” “Headache,” “Fatigue or tiredness,” and “Vomiting.” Thus, the only place for participants to report serious and anticipated adverse reactions, including myocarditis, was in these free-text fields, making this data crucial to understanding COVID-19 vaccines’ safety profile and our federal health authorities’ resulting actions.

We are therefore thrilled to announce that in a lawsuit against CDC, brought by the lawyers that regularly represent ICAN on behalf of the Freedom Coalition of Doctors for Choice, District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ordered CDC to produce every single free-text entry sought within just over a year, by January 15, 2025! This is a huge win for transparency.

Although CDC argued that producing the entries was too burdensome and therefore it should never have to do so, the Court vehemently disagreed and granted expedited processing, recognizing that:

The development and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine was one of the greatest endeavors in recent history. Predictably, the American public now seeks access to COVID-related papers to ensure that relevant government policies were — and still are — supported and justified by the available data. That is precisely what FOIA contemplates and facilitates.

In this brilliant 29-page ruling, which you can read in full here, the Court also noted that the
“Production of the free-text data will permit independent researchers to put the government agencies to their proof by considering all of the available data.”

What an outstanding way to start the New Year! This ruling sends a clear message to our federal agencies: we are not moving on and forgetting about the pandemic or the actions they took. ICAN will not stop until ALL the data is released to the public and there is true transparency and accountability around COVID-19.  

The first production of at least 390,000 entries will be produced by February 15, 2024. ICAN will be sure to alert you when this happens and will make the data available to the public.

In the meantime, catch up on some of ICAN’s additional work on COVID-19 policy: