What's the background?
Rasmussen Reports released the results of a poll on Jan. 20, indicating that 70% of Republicans, 48% of Democrats, and 54% of unaffiliated voters want a congressional investigation into the CDC's handling of vaccine safety during the pandemic.
While the results skewed along party lines, majorities of every racial category (56% of whites, 51% of black voters, and 66% of other minorities) noted a desire to hold the CDC accountable.
The majority of respondents may get their way.
The Republican-controlled Congress has authorized the creation of a new House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, which the Washington Examiner noted will have broad jurisdiction.
While this subcommittee will probe the origins of the virus, it will also reportedly investigate vaccine development, COVID-related school closures, and other issues pertaining to the pandemic. It could possibly look into what the CDC knows about side effects of the vaccines.
"There’s a lot of confusion out there, there’s a lot of uncertainty out there, and I believe every American regardless of their political ideology would like to know the truth,” said House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer (R., Ky.).
Rasmussen Reports, also interested in a general sense of whether the CDC "provided the public with complete information about the danger of side effects from COVID-19 vaccines," previously posted a video on Jan. 16 detailing the findings of another survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted between Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 2022.
Mark Mitchell, head pollster at Rasmussen Reports, suggested that "since there are approximately 260 million American adults, that implies that 177 million [roughly 68%] of them are vaccinated. According to our poll, with a 41% side effect rate, that means that 72 million Americans have experienced at least a self-identified minor side effect."
"Using a 7% major side effect rate [on the basis of this polling data], 12 million of those 72 million American experienced a self-identified major side effect," added Mitchell.
When asked whether they "personally know anyone whose death [they] think may have been caused by side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines," 28% of respondents answered "Yes." 61% answered "No," and 10% indicated they were not sure.
The tech magnate's admission
In a follow-up Twitter post referencing these takeaways, Rasmussen posed the question, "How many people does CDC estimate had major side effects?"
Elon Musk responded to the post after it had been retweeted by Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams, providing a brief personal account of the troubles he faced after receiving his second booster shot.
Musk wrote, "I had major side effects from my second booster shot. Felt like I was dying for several days. Hopefully, no permanent damage, but I dunno."
The tech magnate explained that he had been infected with the original COVID-19 virus "before the vaccines came out and it was basically a mild cold."
He later received the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, and indicated that with the exception of a temporarily sore arm, he suffered no "bad effects."
However, things changed for Musk when receiving his next series of shots.
Musk noted that he ultimately received two mRNA booster shots. The first one was "ok, but the second one crushed me."
When pilloried over this admission that he got a second booster shot, Musk indicated that it had been "required to visit Tesla Giga Berlin. Not my choice."
Although Musk was allegedly "crushed," his cousin reportedly suffered a worse fate.
The Twitter CEO added, "And my cousin, who is young & in peak health, had a serious case of myocarditis. Had to go to the hospital."
The CDC contends that "COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and severe reactions after vaccination are rare," noting that "The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination continue to outweigh any potential risks."
The agency also claims that myocarditis, pericarditis, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, anaphylaxis, and reports of death after vaccination are "rare."
As of Jan. 13, the CDC continues to recommend "that everyone ages 6 months of age and older stay up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccination; this includes individuals who are currently eligible to receive an updated (bivalent) vaccine."
The agency claims that "Staying up-to-date with vaccines is the most effective tool we have for reducing death, hospitalization, and severe disease from COVID-19."
Contrary to these federal implorations to keep vaccinating, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo has recommended against mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for men in the 18-39 age range, after his state's health department found "an 84% increase in the relative incidence of cardiac-related death among males 18-39 years old within 28 days following mRNA vaccination."
"Studying the safety and efficacy of any medications, including vaccines, is an important component of public health," Ladapo said, according to a press release. "Far less attention has been paid to safety and the concerns of many individuals have been dismissed – these are important findings that should be communicated to Floridians."