Friday, January 21, 2022

Researcher Calls Out Censorship After Journal Pulls COVID-19 Vaccine Adverse Events Analysis

Jessica Rose didn’t ask for any of this. She started to analyze data on adverse reactions after COVID-19 vaccines simply as an exercise to master a new piece of software. But she couldn’t ignore what she saw and decided to publish the results of her analysis. The next thing she knew, she was in a “bizzarro world,” she told The Epoch Times.

A paper she co-authored based on her analysis was withdrawn by the academic journal Elsevier under circumstances that raised eyebrows among her colleagues. The journal declined to comment on the matter.

Rose received her PhD in computational biology from the Bar-Ilan University in Israel. After finishing her post-doctoral studies on molecular dynamics of certain proteins, she was looking for a new challenge. Switching to a new statistical computing software, she was looking for an interesting data set to sharpen her skills on. She picked the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a database of reports of health problems that have occurred after a vaccination and may or may not have been caused by it.

She said she wasn’t looking for anything in particular in the data. “I don’t go in with questions,” she said.

What she found, however, was disturbing to her.

VAERS has been in place since 1990 to provide an early warning signal that there might be a problem with a vaccine. Anybody can submit the reports, which are then checked for duplicates. They are largely filed by health care personnel, based on previous research. Usually, there would be around 40,000 reports a year, including several hundred deaths.

But with the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccines, VAERS reports went through the roof. By Jan. 7, there were over a million reports, including more than 21,000 deaths. Other notable issues include over 11,000 heart attacks, nearly 13,000 cases of Bell’s palsy, and over 25,000 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis.

Rose found the data alarming, only to realize authorities and even some experts were generally dismissing it.

“Clearly, there’s no concern [among these authorities and experts] for people who are suffering adverse events,” she said.

The usual arguments against the VAERS data have been that it’s unverified and unreliable.

Rose, however, sees such arguments as irrelevant—VAERS was never meant to provide definitive answers, it’s meant to give early warning and, as she sees it, it’s doing just that.

“It’s emitting so many safety signals and they’re being ignored,” she said.

She teamed up with Peter McCullough, an internist, cardiologist, and epidemiologist, to write a paper on VAERS reports of myocarditis in youth—an issue already acknowledged as a side effect of the vaccination, though usually described as rare.

As of July 9, they found 559 VAERS reports of myocarditis, 97 among children ages 12–15. Some of them may have been related to COVID itself, which can also cause heart problems, but there were too many cases to dismiss the likelihood the vaccines were involved, according to the authors.

“Within 8 weeks of the public offering of COVID-19 products to the 12–15-year-old age group, we found 19 times the expected number of myocarditis cases in the vaccination volunteers over background myocarditis rates for this age group,” the paper said.

After two weeks, on Oct. 15, the paper disappeared from the Elsevier website, replaced by a notice of “Temporary Removal.” Not only weren’t the authors told why, they weren’t informed at all, according to Rose.

“It’s unprecedented in the eyes of all of my colleagues,” she said.

When they brought up the issue with the journal, they were first told the paper was pulled because it wasn’t “invited,” Rose said. That was shot down as irrelevant by McCullough, who threatened to sue for breach of contract. The journal then turned to its terms of use, saying it has the right to refuse any paper for any reason.

It’s still not clear why the paper was pulled. “I do apologise, but Elsevier cannot comment on this enquiry,” said Jonathan Davis, the journal’s communications officer, in an email to The Epoch Times.

In late November, the paper was replaced by a notice that the “article has been withdrawn at the request of the author(s) and/or editor.”

“It just feels like weird censorship that isn’t really justified,” Rose said.

The paper’s conclusions are not necessarily controversial. A recent Danish study concluded, for example, an elevated risk of myocarditis for young people following the Moderna COVID vaccine.

It’s common, however, even for papers that examine potential issues with the vaccines to frame their results in a way that still endorses vaccination. “That’s what you have to say to get your work published these days,” Rose said.

Her paper did no such thing.

“As part of any risk/benefit analysis which must be completed in the context of experimental products, the points herein must be considered before a decision can be made pertaining to agreeing to 2-dose injections of these experimental COVID-19 products, especially into children and by no means, should parental consent be waived under any circumstances to avoid children volunteering for injections with products that do not have proven safety or efficacy,” the paper said.

The paper also called the vaccines “injectable biological products”—a reference to the fact that they are distinct from all other traditional vaccines.

A traditional vaccine uses “whole live or attenuated pathogens” while the COVID vaccines use “mRNA in lipid nanoparticles,” Rose explained via email. She said the lipid nanoparticles include “cationic lipids which are highly toxic.” Pfizer, the manufacturer of the most popular COVID-19 vaccine in many countries, addressed the issue by saying the dose is sufficiently low to ensure “an acceptable safety margin,” according to the European drug authority, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (pdf).

Rose also noted that the COVID-19 vaccines haven’t gone “through the 10-15 years of safety testing that vaccines have always had to go through … for obvious reasons.”

By this point, Rose is no longer a dispassionate observer. Reading through countless VAERS reports gave her a window into the hardships of those who believe they’ve been harmed by the vaccines. “I speak for all of those people,” she said.

In the past, 50 reports of deaths in VAERS would prompt authorities to hit the brakes and investigate, Rose said. In her view, that should have happened with the COVID-19 vaccines a year ago.

Not only has that not happened, but it isn’t even clear what would be enough to convince the authorities to do so.

“What’s the cut-off number for the number of deaths?” Rose asked.

The counterargument is that the vaccines save more lives than they cost. But in Rose’s view, this logic is flawed since the vaccines haven’t been around long enough and studied thoroughly enough to tell how many lives they may cost.

It is known, however, that VAERS understates adverse events following vaccination—by a factor of anywhere between 5 and as much as 100, based on some estimates.

Submitting a VAERS report takes about 30 minutes and many medical practitioners simply don’t have the time, Rose said. Some may feel that filing the report may get them labeled as “anti-vaxxers.” Some may simply not associate whatever health issue they’re facing with the vaccination. Some may not even be aware VAERS exists.

It’s unlikely that any significant number of the reports would be fraudulent, she suggested, noting it’s a federal offense to submit a false report.

Rose has now joined the ranks of dissident doctors and researchers skeptical of the official line on the vaccines and the pandemic in general. She described it as something she’s compelled to do despite the disincentives involved.

“We don’t want to be doing this. But it is our duty. Doctors swore an oath to do no harm. And researchers with integrity cannot look away from this,” she said via email.


The most vaccinated country in the world is being hit heavily by Omicron

Israel experienced its highest daily number of new Covid cases this week – 71,000 out of a population of 9 million – but the head of country’s health department, Nahman Ash, concedes the number may be up to three times higher. Whichever figure is correct, the trend is certain: case numbers have been rising every day for the past two weeks, as the Omicron wave surges.

“Ninety-eight per cent of our patients are now infected with Omicron,” says Dror Mevorach, who heads the Covid ward at ­Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem.

As the number of seriously ill patients rises, hospitals are reopening Covid wards and postponing elective surgery. Health bureaucrats and politicians hope this wave will peak before the hospital system overloads.

As a result, Israel is also adopting self-administered rapid antigen tests as its alternative testing method, and a lack of supply has led to queues and rising prices too. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett admitted this was a problem, but said it could be solved.

“We will purchase 50 million more RATs,” he said last week. The finance minister said 20 million would be enough. They appear to have sorted out that issue, as on Tuesday Mr Bennett said the first delivery was due next week. And the main policy change: 25-30 million kits will be distributed for free to certain sectors of the population.

From the start, Israel has been proactive, pioneering mass vaccinations and the third booster shot. Once it became clear that the largest numbers of vaccinated people contracting the Omicron variant were older, Israel last month initiated a fourth vaccine booster for those over 60, as well as frontline medical workers and the immuno-compromised.

As a fourth shot had not been approved by US regulatory authorities, the Sheba Medical Centre near Tel Aviv began a trial, testing its effect on its staff, who have been monitored since December 2020, when they received the first dose of the vaccine. Preliminary results released this week have found only middling results.

“The vaccine, which was very effective against the previous strains, is less effective against Omicron,” said Gili Regev-­Yochay, who is leading the trial.

“We see many who receive the fourth dose and are infected with Omicron. Granted, a bit less than in the control group, but there are still a lot of infections. The bottom line is that the vaccine was excellent against the Alpha and Delta variants, but for Omicron it’s not good enough.”

The trial, which follows 150 medical staff, is much smaller than most drug trials, where thousands of participants are tracked for months. But Dr Regev-Yochay says she released the preliminary findings because it’s the only known study of the fourth dose. She added it was still probably beneficial to give a fourth jab to people in higher risk groups including the very elderly, but hinted that perhaps it need not be given to everyone over 60.

More than 500,000 Israelis have received a fourth dose, and Dr Alroy-Preis says with hindsight it was still the right decision. “A five to six fold increase in antibodies is better than nothing and this is the most vulnerable section of the community,” she said.

Israel has also been prescribing the new Pfizer drug Paxlovid. Ruth Ralbag, head of private health fund Clalit, said the new drug was only appropriate for people in the first stages of the disease and could be taken at home. “Covid is teaching us that care at home is the future,” she said.

It seems even a proactive government finds it hard to remain popular during a pandemic. According to the latest polls, 48 per cent of Israelis, frustrated at the high infection rate and repeated quarantines, don’t think the government is doing a good job.




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