“The Safety of COVID-19 Vaccinations—We Should Rethink the Policy”, retracted after false claims!
The study, called “The Safety of COVID-19 Vaccinations—We Should Rethink the Policy”, was first published on June 24th, however, was later retracted on July 2nd because of concerns regarding methodological flaws in the research. The serious concerns of misinterpretation of data which led to distorted conclusions was brought to the notice of the publishers. The article was then evaluated by the Editor-in-Chief with Editorial Board Members. The article was found to have several errors that affected the interpretation of the findings.
The main hypothesis of the study stated, “for three deaths prevented by [COVID-19] vaccination we have to accept two inflicted by vaccination,” with the conclusion that, “this lack of clear benefit should cause governments to rethink their vaccination policy.”
Although, the article was grossly negligent, it soon became a weapon for anti-vaxxers to oppose the use of vaccines.
The study included data from the Lareb report in the Netherlands, and used it to calculate the number of fatal side effects for every 100,000 vaccinations.
In the manuscript by Herald Walach et al., the data was interpreted incorrectly, leading to incorrect conclusions. In The Netherlands, healthcare professionals and patients are asked to report any suspicions of adverse events associated with the vaccines, however, this does not determine whether there is a causal relation between the events and the vaccine. Their job is to simply just report the side-effects. This does not explicitly imply that the side effects are caused because of the vaccine. Therefore, the reported events may not necessarily be attributable to the vaccination.
Hence, any deaths reported following vaccination do not imply that it is an event related to the vaccine.
Researchers pointed out several other flaws in the paper, one of which was that the fatal cases were certified by medical specialists. The authors also called the events “effects” and “reactions” even though there was no causality/relation to the vaccine established, deeming the study as incorrect and misleading.
The authors of the study were asked to respond to the claims, however, were unable to do so satisfactorily. The study has since then been retracted along with a notice that the data was, “incorrectly interpreted which led to erroneous conclusions. The data was presented as being causally related to adverse events by the authors. This is inaccurate.”
Retraction: Walach et al. The Safety of COVID-19 Vaccinations—We Should Rethink the Policy. Vaccines 2021, 9, 693 https://www.mdpi.com/2076-393X/9/7/729/htm