Letter: Bravo for reporting on vaccine side effects

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Who cares? Mountain Xpress does.

A great newspaper does not shy away from reporting difficult stories that may go against the grain of current consensus paradigms. I am late to writing because I did not read the cover article “Who Cares?” in the Jan. 12 issue of Mountain Xpress until recently [“Side Effects: Local Handling of COVID Vaccine Troubles Breeds Medical Mistrust.”] In my estimation, our little local newspaper deserves a reporting prize for that story. I am writing in gratitude.

Vaccine injury is almost a taboo topic in polite society these days without getting the dreaded label of anti-vax. Although patients are handed papers at vaccination that list adverse events which can occur after any given shot, those who suffer these events are primarily marginalized or demeaned by the medical establishment and others, or are too young to piece together the consequences until later in life.

I was hospitalized and fighting for my life at Duke Hospital for four months, days after receiving an MMR vaccine when I was 11 months old. My wise physician told my mother that she should hold off any more vaccines for a very long time. The result of that injury was a lifelong battle with asthma and discolored teeth from the tetracycline antibiotic that was given to me. Asthma is a known and listed adverse reaction to many vaccinations. Tetracycline’s teeth-staining properties in young children were not known at that time. I have my mother’s recollections and my records to piece together my story.

In “Who Cares?” Jeff Fobes, the publisher, and Niko Kyriakou, the writer, chose to honor the voices of the injured from the current COVID vaccination campaign. They published an outstanding piece of journalism highlighting facts of which very few American citizens are aware. As Mr. Kyriakou pointed out, VAERS is an important database to monitor vaccine side effects, since the ability to sue vaccine manufacturers for childhood vaccinations was taken away from Americans in 1986.

Even fewer people are aware of the Harvard Pilgrim Study commissioned by our government that concluded that VAERS woefully underestimates the vaccine adverse reactions which occur year after year. Distressingly, the current COVID vaccination campaign has seen the reports of injuries skyrocket as shown in the VAERS database and reported by the Xpress. “Who Cares?” highlights the fact that the injuries officially reported may have already greatly exceeded the historical, documented underreporting of past vaccination campaigns as revealed in its local canvassing of disparate communities in our area.

I was truly impressed by the professionalism involved in finding the varied individuals who participated in making the article relevant. It would have been better that the anonymous fireman and EMT who serve the injured were free to speak without retribution, but it speaks to the unbalanced emotions behind this issue that they could not add their names without risking their jobs.

In my mind and in the community of all vaccine injured, Mountain Xpress did what we rarely see in journalism these days — take an unpopular stance — because their commitment is to all the community. I am sending in a donation and urge others on both sides to do the same. We truly have a little newspaper in Asheville that courageously honors its duty to represent all local voices in its editorials and in its reporting. Bravo.

— Christiana Dillingham


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

3 thoughts on “Letter: Bravo for reporting on vaccine side effects

  1. Bright

    Yes…bravo to Mountain Xpress for taking an “unpopular stance,” as Ms Dillingham so aptly wrote. Amazing in this day and age. My daughter had the same side effects with the MMR vaccine as Ms Dillingham sadly described her daughter had. The vaccine side effects seem to be a taboo subject, much like spousal/child abuse used to be…nobody spoke anything about it…yet another taboo subject. Resultant of publishing this letter in Xpress, I’m sending my five dollar donation, and urge others to do the same and support quality journalism. Thumbs up!

  2. Voirdire

    How about reporting on the side effects of disinformation about the vaccine? Let’s hear about the hundred thousand plus folks -mostly elderly… who are unfortunately the most easily duped with disinformation- who weren’t vaccinated and subsequently died from the Delta variant ….BECAUSE they were MISLED and/or too frightened to get vaccinated. No, that would be too obvious… not to mention way too boring…. all those pesky statistics. So absolutely ridiculous. So lame too. Oh, and Jeff Fobes… lame personified.

  3. Feel the Burn

    Richard Cranium moved out of a blue state to escape democrat high taxes and failed policies. Richard Cranium moved to a red state, but votes for democrats that will raise taxes and implement failed policies.

    Don’t be a Richard Cranium.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.