By Guy Page
The Vermont Department of Health’s claim that no Vermonters reported dead by the CDC from receiving the Covid-19 vaccine actually died for that reason is not based on first-hand examination of remains. Instead, it relies on information shared with the Vermont Chief Medical Examiner’s office by deceased patients’ physicians shortly after death.
At a June 1 press conference, under questioning by Islander reporter Mike Donoghue, Vermont Health Commissioner Mark Levine stood by his May 28 statement that a Health Dept. investigation confirmed that no Vermonters listed by the CDC Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) as having died from a Covid-19 vaccine reaction actually died from that cause.
As reported May 26 in Vermont Daily, Levine was unaware VAERS reported eight Vermonters as dying from a reaction to the Covid-19 vaccine.
“We confirmed that the fact that these individuals were vaccinated was not a factor in their deaths,” Levine said May 28. His office reached this conclusion with assistance from the Chief Medical Examiner’s office, he said.
However, Levine’s comments on June 1 show the CME’s office did not examine the remains of the deceased at any time. The CME’s knowledge is based on communication with the attending physician who wrote the death certificate, shortly after the patient’s death.
Both Levine and CDC website state that anyone can report a vaccine-related death to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). The CDC has not confirmed the veracity of each reported death.
The following is a verbatim transcript, very lightly edited for brevity, of the conversation between The Islander reporter Mike Donoghue and Levine at the June 1 press conference.
Dr Levine, following up on the CDC website report that showed Vermont possibly linked to vaccine shots, we got a lot of reaction to your comments from last week – you mentioned the chief medical examiner was unaware of any fatal cases directly related to the vaccine shots. Readers are wondering if the Chief Medical Examiner’s office has full access to all the individual medical reports for the dead patients, if you get to review all of those in in any sort of detail, and just how many investigators does the Chief Medical Examiner’s office have assigned to him to be able to conduct any sort of intensive investigations into these kinds of things?
Dr. Mark Levine:
Yeah, that’s a lot of questions. So the Chief Medical Examiner often has conversations with the actual clinician who is pronouncing death at the time. That person is trying to fill out a death certificate. There are times that those conversations actually involve, ‘does the chief medical examiner wish to do a post-mortem examination?’ versus using their judgment based on what details are provided.
So it’s usually a qualified health provider talking to the chief medical examiner’s office. Within that office there’s a chief medical examiner and another medical examiner and then there are assistant medical examiners in every region of the state.
So most of these conversations for like these eight cases I’m sure would occur at the level of [CME] Dr. [Steven] Shapiro or [Asst. CME] Dr. [Elizabeth] Bundock and most of the time it would be their judgment, based on what details they had been provided about the case from another physician.
That still allows for the CDC in their own investigation to come up with another conclusion. But as I said last week, we have yet to hear from them on any of the eight cases regarding any concerns that they were related to vaccine. Some of that may be because they truly have no concerns. Some of that may be because they have such a high case load they just haven’t gotten to these cases yet to make any determination.
We report these things to the CDC, but then we wait to see what we get back. Our belief is that their crew is overwhelmed with just the number of reports to the vaccine adverse event reporting system, and so they need to have time to be able to sort through everything.
The original question way back was is there any thought of putting those eight deaths on the dashboard with all the other information that the state is providing since this does come from the CDC. Yeah, there’s no thought of that at this time based on the fact that within Vermont we’ve not ascertained that any of these cases are directly related to vaccination as opposed to other medical conditions. Should the CDC come and weigh in with one or two or more of these that they believe are directly linked, they will definitely go on the website stating such.