Scientists quit journal board, protesting ‘grossly irresponsible’ study claiming COVID-19 vaccines kill


09-07-21 11:04:00,

A nursing home worker receives the first Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine administered in the Netherlands in January. A Dutch database is at the heart of a controversy surrounding a new paper on COVID-19 vaccine safety.

Piroschka van de Wouw/Pool via Reuters

By Meredith WadmanJul. 1, 2021 , 4:00 PM

Science’s COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Heising-Simons Foundation.

Several respected virologists and vaccinologists have resigned as editors of the journal Vaccines to protest its 24 June publication of a peer-reviewed article that misuses data to conclude that “for three deaths prevented by [COVID-19] vaccination, we have to accept two inflicted by vaccination.”

Since Friday, at least six scientists have resigned positions as associate or section editors with Vaccines, including Florian Krammer, a virologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Katie Ewer, an immunologist at the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford who was on the team that developed the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Their resignations were first reported by Retraction Watch.


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“The data has been misused because it makes the (incorrect) assumption that all deaths occurring post vaccination are caused by vaccination,” Ewer wrote in an email. “[And] it is now being used by anti-vaxxers and COVID-19-deniers as evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are not safe. [This] is grossly irresponsible, particularly for a journal specialising in vaccines.”

The paper is a case of “garbage in, garbage out,” says Helen Petousis-Harris, a vaccinologist who directs the Vaccine Datalink and Research Group at the University of Auckland and who also resigned as a Vaccines editor after reading the paper. Diane Harper, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, who was founding editor-in-chief of Vaccines, also resigned, as did Paul Licciardi, an immunologist at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Parkville, Australia, and Andrew Pekosz, a respiratory virologist at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The resignations began Friday, the day after the paper was published. By early Monday, Fanny Fang, the journal’s managing editor, wrote to the editorial board members that Vaccines—a reputable open-access journal launched in 2013 by Basel,

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