Should public health authorities scrutinize deaths attributed to COVID-19 as closely as they scrutinize deaths attributed to COVID-19 vaccines?
Defenders of a controversial study on the risk-benefit ratio of COVID-19 vaccines are calling hypocrisy on a medical journal for retracting the paper a week after publishing it, following the resignations of several journal editors in protest.
In a Friday retraction notice (see PDF below) in the journal Vaccines, the editor in chief and “several” editorial board members said the paper’s authors were not able to “satisfactorily” answer claims that they conflated correlation with causation.
Analyzing data from the Netherlands Pharmacovigilance Centre, known as LAREB, the paper’s authors estimated COVID-19 vaccines take two lives for every three they save. The country leads Europe in vaccine adverse-reaction reporting.
Authors Harald Walach, Rainer Klement and Wouter Aukema challenged criticism from Eugene van Puijenbroek, who leads LAREB’s scientific department, that they had misused its data.
“This starts a long-overdue debate on how to gauge the safety of COVID-19 vaccines,” they wrote in a statement (see PDF below) provided to Retraction Watch Thursday.
“Currently we only have association, we agree, and we never said anything else. But the same is true with fatalities as consequences of SARS-CoV2-infections [sic],” which are “rarely vetted by autopsy or second opinion” to confirm they were caused by the novel coronavirus, rather than incidental to infection.
Brown University epidemiologist Andrew Bostom wasn’t impressed by the journal’s “baloney” explanation for the retraction, either. “The [vaccine] deaths are as causally related as C19 deaths which allow for any positive test within 30-60 days of a death from any cause to be tallied as a C19 death,” he wrote in a Twitter message to Just the News.
Bostom pointed to a June study, not yet peer-reviewed, of a sample of deaths in the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) reported through April. The sample was limited to people who got early vaccinations, primarily elderly or those with “significant health conditions.”
Researchers at the University of London and New Zealand’s Massey University found that they could rule out “vaccine reaction” as a contributing factor in just 14% of deaths. “Contrary to claims that most of these reports are made by lay-people and are hence clinically unreliable, we identified health service employees as the reporter in at least 67%,” they wrote
By Greg Piper