Authors of Highly Criticized COVID-19 Vaccine Study Defend It

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Earlier this week, we reported that a paper claiming that two deaths resulted from COVID-19 vaccination for every three cases that were prevented had earned an expression of concern.

The authors, including Harald Walach, who was also co-author of a just-published paper in JAMA Pediatrics questioning the safety of masks in children, had used data from the Dutch national registry of side effects. That registry carries a warning label about its use. The editors of Vaccines, which published the study last month, wrote that there were concerns over “misrepresentation of the COVID-19 vaccination efforts and misrepresentation of the data.”

Walach told us earlier this week that he would send us a detailed response to the criticisms. He did that today, and we have made the entire response available here.

Walach and his co-authors are responding to criticisms leveled by Eugène van Puijenbroek of the University of Groningen. In it, they write:

These vaccines have had an emergency approval
safety data. Although we would agree with Prof. van Puijenbroek that the self-reporting system of side-effects for vaccines and other drugs is far from foolproof, it is the only data we have. So why should it not be put to use?

They add:

We are happy to concede that the data we used – the large Israeli field study to gauge the number needed to vaccinate and the LAREB data to estimate side-effects and harms – are far from perfect, and we said so in our paper. But we did not use them incorrectly. We used imperfect data correctly. We are not responsible for the validity and correctness of the data, but for the correctness of the analysis. We contend that our analysis was correct. We agree with LAREB that their data is not good enough. But this is not our fault, nor can one deduce incorrect use of data or incorrect analysis.

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