Tag Archives: Retraction

Autism Investigated and a Longtime Reader Challenge Peter Hotez


Not since Autism Investigated’s founding has the editor challenged the vaccine people at their own events. But on March 6, vaccine developer Peter Hotez came to University of North Florida to deny he poisoned his daughter Rachel into autism. He transcribed his denial into a book, titled Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism. Compared to past encounters between 2011-2013, both Hotez and the venue that hosted him were surprisingly friendly. The level of nonsense spewed was about the same, however.

Although the event was an “Autism Symposium,” Hotez spent much of his talk discussing infectious diseases. Among those were the neglected tropical diseases that he spent his career researching. He spent relatively little time discussing his daughter, although he was clear that she was very severely afflicted. He repeated the usual mantra of no link to autism, of course, mentioning the fraudulent retraction of the seminal autism-vaccine study. Hotez went even further to deny there is not even an autism epidemic. “It’s really better diagnosis.” The one good thing about his talk was when he plugged and read from Autism Investigated’s meme about him.

Autism Investigated attended the event with Maurine Meleck, a longtime reader, advocate, author and grandmother of two men diagnosed with autism. One of them is recovered, but the other is still disabled and she cares for him. Unexpectedly, she was the first to ask a question. When she brought up the recovery of one of her grandsons and the improvement of the other, Hotez completely denied recovery was even possible for autism. “You don’t recover from autism,” he said.

She continued, “Schools are exploding with children in special education, many of whom have autism. How could you deny there’s an epidemic?”

“I didn’t say there’s no epidemic,” he said.

“You did!”

Hotez doubled down on his denial, stating that by “better diagnosis” he meant better diagnosis of girls with autism. “The key take away from my talk is that whatever causes autism, vaccines are not to blame!”

A few more people asked questions after that. One was a woman who admitted she delayed the MMR vaccine for her child. Hotez didn’t approve, “I wouldn’t do that!”

Another questioner said she felt there was a real autism epidemic. Then the mic finally was passed to Autism Investigated.

Hotez was then asked about the seminal 1998 autism-vaccine study coauthors’ fraudulent retraction of the interpretation. Hotez didn’t even know about the coauthors’ retraction, “I think it was an expression of concern.” He was corrected, having been told how the coauthors’ retraction had nothing to do with the accuracy of the conclusion but was really a statement in favor of vaccines, making it a fraudulent retraction. Hotez mentioned that the lead author Andrew Wakefield lost his medical license. When Autism Investigated informed him that it was because he didn’t cosign the fraudulent retraction, Hotez deferred to talk afterwards.

After the event ended, the editor and Maurine Meleck both introduced themselves. Meleck gave Hotez a copy of her book Rooting Out Bedhead: Autism and Other Brushes with Chaos. Upon the introduction of Autism Investigated’s editor, Hotez nervously laughed, “Oh, so you’re Jake Crosby! You write such mean things about me!”

Giving Autism Investigated his business card, Hotez said, “I have to run to the airport, but would love to talk more!”

He did compliment Autism Investigated’s post on JB Handley, ironically, saying, “You’re one of the nice ones.” Of course, that’s comparing the editor to someone who’s not nice to other vaccine skeptics simply because they don’t think he’s the smartest man in the room.

The event was ultimately one giant paradox. It was an event that was strangely out of sync with other events where the response by other pro-vaccine speakers like Paul Offit were overtly hostile. Yet the event was ultimately the same in its pushing of nonsense to promote toxic vaccinations. Hotez will never stop being in denial of his daughter’s autism, for it would mean that vaccines were involved.

SharylAttkisson.com: Jake Crosby on Original Autism-Vaccine Cover-Up

Originally posted on SharylAttkisson.com

Note: Views in this and any other opinion piece that appear on this site do not necessarily reflect the opinion of www.sharylattkisson.com and are solely those of the author.

By Jake Crosby, MPH

U.S. public health officials like National Institutes of Health doctor Anthony Fauci deny the vaccine-autism link by repeating disinformation about a seminal autism-vaccine study. That study, published in The Lancet in 1998, examined 12 children treated at London’s Royal Free Hospital Medical School. Most developed adverse symptoms shortly after their routine measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccinations.

The study marked the beginning of the first major research undertaking of the autism-vaccine link at an academic institution. Because parents were startled by the findings, and—in my opinion— because there were huge financial implications in terms of possible lawsuits against vaccine makers, the study and its lead author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, were targeted in a giant campaign to discredit them. Those pursuing this smear campaign, not surprisingly, have ties to vaccine maker GlaxoSmithKline.

One of those people was the Head of Medicine at Royal Free Hospital from 1999-2011, Dr. Mark Pepys. He wanted to stop Dr. Wakefield’s work but the witch hunt would look too obvious if the accusations came directly from the medical school that forced him out two years prior. So Dr. Pepys would need a journalist who could take credit for those accusations while insulating the medical school from scrutiny by being the journalist’s protected “source.”

To begin the smear, medical records of children in the study were leaked to a Sunday Times journalist named Brian Deer. He received children’s names, family backgrounds and hospital admissions dates. Deer would later boast about having this information in the BMJ. In 2004, he posted a child’s medical note and a table of children’s names and the dates they were admitted to the Royal Free on his website. This was a serious violation of medical privacy rules, laws and practices. According to study co-author Simon Murch, “the Data Protection Act must have been broken.”

Dr. Pepys had strong ties to GlaxoSmithKline even before the merger that created the company, enjoying substantial support from precursor Glaxo Wellcome. Before he accepted the position of Head of Medicine of the Royal Free in 1999, he demanded Dr. Wakefield’s dismissal. Dr. Pepys ultimately took credit for ousting Dr. Wakefield at Royal Free Hospital in 2001, effectively dismantling the first autism-vaccine research unit in an academic institution.

After the 1998 study’s publication, Dr. Wakefield’s co-author Dr. Simon Murch was promoted to Director of the Centre for Paediatric Gastroenterology at Royal Free Hospital. Then, in September 2003, Dr. Murch submitted a letter to The Lancet repudiating the notion of any possible link between autism and vaccines. His submission came just two months after Crispin Davis, CEO of Lancet publisher Reed Elsevier, joined the board of directors at GlaxoSmithKline.

With Dr. Murch’s repudiation, the United Kingdom (UK) government’s Legal Aid Board cut off financial aid to help victims in lawsuits against MMR manufacturers, including GlaxoSmithKline. The GlaxoSmithKline alliance with Pepys-headed Royal Free Hospital and the Davis-published Lancet continued as Deer continued to advance the smear. In his reports, Deer claimed Dr. Wakefield’s study was unethical and that he concealed its funding source. The latter claim was “found proved” by a disciplinary tribunal but ultimately overturned.

Deer also took an unusual step for a journalist: he filed a professional disciplinary complaint against Dr. Wakefield and two of his co-authors including Simon Murch.

A week after the complaint, 10 of the 13 Dr. Wakefield’s co-authors, led by Dr. Murch, issued a fraudulent retraction of the interpretation of the 1998 study. It was a statement of regret over raising an autism-vaccine link possibility that was falsely portrayed as a scientific retraction.

After the fraudulent retraction, vaccine interests falsely misrepresented it as if it was a scientific repudiation of any link between vaccines and autism. That retraction became a basis for rejection of thousands of vaccine autism injury claims in U.S. vaccine court.

Then, the smear machine prompted a medical fitness-to-practice tribunal of Dr. Wakefield. Dr. Wakefield’s medical license was revoked in 2010. The chair of that tribunal, Dr. Surendra Kumar, was a GlaxoSmithKline shareholder. After that decision in 2010, “The Lancet” fully retracted Dr. Wakefield’s study.

Ultimately, in 2012, a High Court overturned the reasons of unethical research and misrepresented participant enrollment that remains stated in The Lancet retraction. Unsurprisingly, “The Lancet” has not reversed its retraction.

So today, health officials across the pond here in the U.S., including Dr. Fauci and his superior, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, continue to cite the false retraction as if it scientifically proves vaccines do not cause autism. They ignore the factual details on the excuse of “The Lancet” journal’s undeserved reputation.

Jake Crosby has a Master of Public Health degree in epidemiology from George Washington University and is editor of AutismInvestigated.com.

Editor’s Note: Crosby received no response for comment from the relevant authors mentioned in his op-ed.

PLANNED OBITUARY for Senior Turncoat John Walker-Smith

John Walker-Smith, Telegraph

Autism Investigated is scooping its planned obituary for senior turncoat author John Walker-Smith when he dies. He turns 82 this year.

Gastroenterologist and senior Wakefield turncoat author John Walker-Smith has just died. Before retiring in 2000, he was a colleague of Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s at the Royal Free Hospital where they published a number of papers on autism and bowel disease. One of those was their seminal 1998 paper that first described a connection between autism, bowel disease and vaccination. Walker-Smith would later infamously retract the possibility of a vaccine link with nine other coauthors in 2004.

Despite his betrayal of vaccine-injured children in doing so, many of their parents continued to support him. When he was practicing medicine, he had treated and helped many children with autism whose gastrointestinal symptoms were dismissed by other doctors. Had his medical contributions ended there, he would be rightly seen as a hero. But that was not to happen, as he would betray the very children he helped.

The year after Walker-Smith retired from medicine, Dr. Andrew Wakefield was run out of the Royal Free Hospital for their research. Following his dismissal, the hospital’s GlaxoSmithKline-backed Head of Medicine Mark Pepys launched an aggressive campaign to discredit the work Walker-Smith and Wakefield conducted and obstruct vaccine injury litigation. Wakefield never wavered, but Walker-Smith eventually did.

Pepys started his attacks first by intimidating the 1998 paper’s coauthors still employed at Royal Free. Then through leaking medical records to a freelance opposition researcher, Pepys targeted Wakefield and Walker-Smith directly. Within weeks of allegations of unethical research publicized against them both, Walker-Smith signed his name to the infamous retraction.

Although he would successfully appeal the allegations and strike them down in court, he kept his name on the retraction. Not once did he demand the journal reinstate the 1998 paper nor demand his medical board reinstate Dr. Wakefield’s license.

Yet Walker-Smith still enjoys considerable support in the autism community which he does not deserve. No one has done more to make censorship of vaccine injury more publicly acceptable than John Walker-Smith. His betrayal of vaccine-injured children will be his everlasting legacy.

Sir Mark Pepys – GlaxoSmithKline’s Medical Record-Leaking “Superstar”

“ARGUABLY THE FINEST PRIVATE COLLECTION OF CHILDRENS MEDICAL RECORDS..” -Cartoon satirizing a photo of freelance writer Brian Deer, http://adversevaccinereaction.blogspot.com/

“I know the names and family backgrounds of all 12 of the children enrolled in the study, including the child enrolled from the United States.” – Brian Deer on children seen at London’s Royal Free Hospital, BMJ, 2010

“Brian Deer has done an excellent job.” – Royal Free’s Head of Medicine Dr. Mark Pepys, BBC Radio, 2011

The GlaxoSmithKline puppet who bullied coauthors of the Wakefield autism-vaccine paper into signing a fraudulent retraction also leaked the medical records of children in that paper.

As you would expect from a doctor who cares nothing for patient safety, Dr. Mark Pepys does not care about patient confidentiality either. He has praised the freelance writer who obtained confidential medical information about patients seen at Pepys’ own hospital. Dr. Pepys even allowed that writer to quote him divulging information he had promised to keep secret.

The writer Pepys praised, Brian Deer, had no right to the names or family backgrounds of any of those children. That didn’t phase Mark Pepys who agreed to be interviewed by him.

Even worse, Pepys was the Head of Medicine at the Royal Free Hospital when Deer obtained confidential information on patients seen there. No investigation as to how that happened was ever launched. Instead, the Royal Free “investigated” doctors who saw the children including Dr. Andrew Wakefield.

Mark Pepys is 100% responsible for all leaks of patient information to the media, given his position at Royal Free. In his interview with Brian Deer, Pepys revealed he had no respect for confidentiality by leaking conditions for the departure of Dr. Wakefield from the hospital staff:

“one of the conditions of him going away was that I wasn’t supposed to say anything critical of him to anybody, for ever after.”

That condition wasn’t kept by GlaxoSmithKline’s designated “superstar.”

Any patient who enrolls in Sir Mark Pepys’ GlaxoSmithKline trials should know that Sir Leaksalot will sell out both their safety and their privacy for commercial gain.

Pharma Puppet Who Ejected Wakefield Was Behind Murch Retraction


“I said I wouldn’t transfer my unit if he was there.” “We paid him to leave.” – Sir Mark Pepys on autism-vaccine scientist Dr. Andrew Wakefield

A doctor heavily backed by GlaxoSmithKline who took credit for Dr. Andrew Wakefield leaving the Royal Free Hospital made his coauthors fraudulently retract the interpretation in his paper. Seven of the 10 coauthors were working for Royal Free when they signed their names to the statement, including lead turncoat Simon Murch. Wakefield even predicted the Royal Free hierarchy would force Murch’s retraction months before.

Years after Pepys orchestrated the fraudulent retraction, he tried to orchestrate an “investigation” against Wakefield’s research. In response, Wakefield wrote a letter to University College London later published in his book Waging War on the Autistic Child that revealed a history of Pepys’ dishonesty and bribery (boldface mine):

I understand from his statements on BBC Radio 4, that Professor Mark Pepys is to conduct an investigation of my research while at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine. May I suggest that he is not a good choice for this task, for the following reasons:

1. He has a real conflict of interest-having initially declined his appointment at the Royal Free until I had been removed. The following are extracts from Professor Pepys’ attendance note with Kate Emmerson of Field Fisher Waterhouse, the GMC’s lawyers, on 12th April 2005. 

“He [Pepys] accepted the job on the condition that Wakefield was removed (this didn’t happen).”

“MP would have dismissed W but others at the Royal Free were unwilling to do so. MP was really the only person at the Free who was putting forward anti-W views.”

2. Having taken up this appointment, (his above condition having been rejected [Pepys’ bluff had been called]), in the company of the Dean and the School Secretary, he confirmed to me that, despite having strong negative opinions about my research, he had never actually read any of it.

3. A book is due to be published later this year covering Professor Pepys’ activities in relation to my work. It will allege, supported by documentary evidence, conspiracy to execute a bribe with a senior academic from another institution in order to destroy peer-reviewed grant-awarded research looking at vaccine safety. This book will unfortunately be a source of major embarrassment for UCL and The Royal Free. May I suggest you ask Professor Pepys to provide you with his email traffic from the relevant period October 1999 to 2002? This traffic has already been examined by third parties. 

4. Professor Pepys’ extreme bias against me has been evident throughout my dealings with him. He expressed this in public in his Harverian oration, as well as on the BBC.

5. He is deeply conflicted due to his relationship with vaccine manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline. He is totally unsuited to lead any investigation of my research.

Pepys is now leading GlaxoSmithKline vaccine trials. How could any patient possibly enroll in a vaccine trial led by this guy when he promotes covering up vaccine side-effects?

Any decent human being should demand that any drug trial led by Sir Mark Pepys be shut down.

Andrew Wakefield Predicted Ex-Employer Would Force Murch Retraction

The Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead and Highgate Express

“His laboratory is under threat. He has failed to gain due promotion. He has been strongly advised to withdraw from scientific publications that involve any mention of my name or association with MMR and bowel disease.” – Dr. Andrew Wakefield on Turncoat Simon Murch, The Guardian, November 1, 2003

10 coauthors fraudulently retracted the interpretation from the Wakefield autism-vaccine paper. Seven were still working for the hospital that fired him when they signed their names to the retraction. They include lead turncoat author Simon Murch, who used his hospital email address in the retraction. His retraction was predicted by lead author Andrew Wakefield in the above quote to a British newspaper four months prior. That was when Murch began campaigning for vaccines.

Who was pressuring Murch according to Wakefield? “the hierarchy of the Royal Free and the medical school,” which already fired Wakefield for his research two years prior. At the time, the medical school denied influencing Murch’s opinion on vaccines:

“The school believes that Dr Murch’s rejection of any association between MMR and autism is his considered professional judgement as a paediatrician and a researcher.”

Curiously, however, the school did not respond to the allegation that Murch was being pressured to withdraw his name from Wakefield papers. The medical school denied that it was withdrawing treatment from sick children instead:

“In addition, the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust completely refutes the suggestion that the trust is considering withdrawing treatment from children. The trust intends to continue to provide this important service and has no plans to reduce or withhold treatment from these children.”

That’s because its real plans were withdrawing its employees names from the interpretation of the landmark autism-vaccine paper. Four months later, that’s exactly what happened.

Turncoat Simon Murch Defended Vaccines Months Before “Retraction”

Turncoat Coauthor Simon Murch, ITN

Before the 10 coauthors’ retraction, the letter by Peter Harvey shared on Autism Investigated defended the Wakefield paper from earlier attacks from lead turncoat Simon Murch. Murch’s attacks were made in a series of letters to The Lancet, the first of which was published in November 2003.

His first letter was a response to a September letter by doctors unconnected to the Wakefield paper describing two children who developed measles encephalitis. Both had been vaccinated.

Among the garbage in Murch’s November letter was this:

many epidemiological studies have been undertaken, the results of which indicate no causal relation. No other vaccine has ever been studied in such depth, and the evidence for its overall safety is comprehensive.

They’re trash.

There is now unequivocal evidence that MMR is not a risk factor for autism—this statement is not spin or medical conspiracy, but reflects an unprecedented volume of medical study on a worldwide basis. By any rational standards of risk/benefit calculation, it is an illogical and potentially dangerous mistake for parents to be prepared to take their children in a car on the motorway or in an aeroplane on holiday, but not to protect them with the MMR vaccine. An unprotected child is not only at personal danger, but represents a potential hazard to others, including unborn children. Unless vaccine uptake improves rapidly, major measles epidemics are likely in the UK this winter.

It was that letter that Dr. Harvey would later respond to, as would autism parent David Thrower. Their responses would be published in the February 14th issue of The Lancet. That was the week before the journal’s editor stated that he wished he censored vaccination from the Wakefield paper and two weeks before the interpretation retraction. A follow-up letter by Murch responding to Thrower and Dr. Harvey was published in the same issue as their letters.

In Murch’s letter, he doubled down on his previous stupidity. His biggest problem with the government’s attack on autism research was not because of the threat to said research, but because of its bolstering the “anti-MMR [vaccine] lobby”:

That some regulatory authorities ridiculed all aspects of these studies is unfortunate because it has allowed confirmation of the intestinal lesion to be appropriated by the anti-MMR lobby.

Then in a truly Orwellian move, Murch compares criticizing the tobacco science of the vaccine industry to tobacco industry science!

Thrower’s suggested tactic, in which every study that shows an unwanted outcome is destruction-tested from a hostile viewpoint, is essentially that used for years by the tobacco industry.

Measles in the gut? No big deal!

If traces of measles virus indeed prove to be detectable in 90% of cases, it surely cannot be causal, since such numbers of children would show up on the crudest epidemiological assessment.

They have.

Finally, Murch justifies use of the MMR vaccine with no alternative:

I see families in my clinic almost every week who have given their children single measles vaccine. Those who have gone on to give rubella and mumps vaccines are in the minority, months and sometimes years later. That is the heart of the issue. Personal choice cannot extend to compromising the safety of other people’s children.

The day before Murch’s 2003 letter was published, he scooped his support of the MMR vaccine to a major UK television network.

Throughout this same period, Murch also claimed he had no financial interest. As you will all see, that wasn’t true either.

FDA Chief: Expert Witnesses of Vaccine Injury Shouldn’t Publish Papers

Dr. Scott Gottlieb is seen in this American Enterprise Institute photo released in Washington, DC, U.S., March 10, 2017. Courtesy The American Enterprise Institute/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. – RTS12CMQ

Despite claiming to have “empathy” for autism families, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb has none. The FDA chief who gave false testimony to Congress about vaccines believes vaccine injury experts should be summarily censored. He also believes expert witnesses to vaccine injury should not be allowed to publish their findings.

In 2009, Gottlieb wrote that the vaccine-autism link should be summarily dismissed to protect vaccines:

Fears about autism have been a growing impediment to higher vaccination rates – and thus a growing public-health danger. 

In that same article, Gottlieb also supported the campaign to censor publications by expert witnesses to vaccine injury:

[Andrew Wakefield’s] original research on this issue was already controversial – 10 of the 13 authors retracted some of the findings in 2004, but Wakefield, its lead author, has not.

The “retraction” happened when the editor of The Lancet decided that expert witnesses to vaccine injury should not be allowed to publish on vaccines. That editor Richard Horton then bullied those 10 coauthors into signing a statement supporting combined measles-mumps-rubella vaccination. Gottlieb cites this “retraction” as evidence against the paper.

Now he has barred his senior staff from meeting with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and other proponents of a vaccine safety commission.

Regardless, Scott Gottlieb should not be FDA chief because he should play no role in promoting products his agency regulates.

He is also one of the doctors who lies about vaccine dangers.

Holtzbrink Systematically Retracts Science Critical of Vaccines

The Nazi-built Holtzbrinck Publishing Group systematically scrubs any paper that casts vaccines in a negative light. Look at the case of a 2016 animal study of HPV vaccine from Japan.

Like many animal studies in medicine, the purpose is to learn more about a disease in humans by replicating its symptoms in animals. That is what scientists sought to do in this study published in Scientific Reports:

In the case of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, an unexpectedly novel disease entity, HPV vaccination associated neuro-immunopathetic syndrome (HANS), has been reported and remains to be carefully verified. To elucidate the mechanism of HANS, we applied a strategy similar to the active experimental autoimmune encephalitis (EAE) model – one of the most popular animal models used to induce maximum immunological change in the central nervous system.

Then suddenly in 2018, the Publisher retracted the paper by totally lying about the study’s purpose:

The Publisher is retracting this Article because the experimental approach does not support the objectives of the study. The study was designed to elucidate the maximum implication of human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine (Gardasil) in the central nervous system. However, the co-administration of pertussis toxin with high-levels of HPV vaccine is not an appropriate approach to determine neurological damage from HPV vaccine alone. The Authors do not agree with the retraction.

The study never said its objective was to “determine neurological damage from HPV vaccine alone,” but to “elucidate the mechanism of HANS [novel disease entity, HPV vaccination associated neuro-immunopathetic syndrome].” This retraction totally lied about the study’s objectives; no wonder the authors don’t agree with it!

The publisher, not the journal, retracted the post. The publisher of Scientific Reports is Nature Publishing Group, which also retracted this 2000 paper on developmentally impaired children. It did so simply because it included children in the 1998 vaccine-autism paper retracted by The Lancet. The retractions cited a medical circus hearing that punished the lead author of both papers for the following:

 b. You knew or ought to have known that your reporting in the Lancet paper of a temporal link between the syndrome you described and the MMR vaccination, Admitted and found proved i. had major public health implications, Admitted and found proved ii. would attract intense public and media interest, Admitted and found proved

Nature Publishing Group is owned by Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, which also owns BioMedCentral. That publisher retracted a 2014 study for linking measles-mumps-rubella vaccination to autism and for the author’s opinion being that vaccination causes autism:

A reader flagged that there were undeclared competing interests related to the article: the author, Dr Hooker, was on the Board of Directors for Focus Autism which supports the belief that MMR vaccine causes autism.  We were concerned enough about the allegations and the content to remove it from the public domain immediately because of the potential harm to public health

Holtzbrinck also owns Frontiers. When the first vaccinated versus unvaccinated study of autism was accepted for publication by Frontiers in Public Health, the vaccine troll army responded. Frontiers took down the study abstract and cancelled publication explicitly in response to vaccine crybabies on the internet.

The study was since published elsewhere, but there is an ongoing theme. Whether it’s the HPV vaccine, the MMR vaccine, or vaccinations in general, Holtzbrinck censors vaccine risk papers. Avoid publishing in its journals like the plague.

BREAKING: AI Demands Daily Beast Retract Paul Offit Post on Vaccine-Miscarriage Study

Paul Offit has written a post for The Daily Beast arguing that a CDC study of miscarriage and influenza vaccination should have never been published. He bases his argument on his own misrepresentations of the study’s results. Read Autism Investigated’s below letter to The Daily Beast’s editorial team demanding they retract Offit’s post.

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Paul Offit’s Article Misrepresents Study Findings, Should be
Retracted
From: <info@autisminvestigated.com>
Date: Sun, September 24, 2017 3:33 pm
To: editorial@thedailybeast.com

Dear Daily Beast,

Your contributor Paul Offit’s latest article “The Pregnancy Vaccine Scare That Should Have Never Been” makes multiple misrepresentations of a recent CDC study on influenza vaccination and miscarriage. Since these misrepresentations form the basis of his central argument that the study should never have been published, Offit’s article is fatally flawed and should be retracted by your publication.

Offit states about a recent study of miscarriage and flu vaccination that the study authors found no overall association with miscarriage and flu vaccination when they had:

“The CDC’s question prior to this study was “Does influenza vaccine cause spontaneous abortions?” The answer to that question was no. It was only after investigators sub-stratified their data to include those who had or hadn’t received a vaccine the previous year that they could find statistical significance.”

This is directly from the study, contradicting Offit’s claim:

“The overall adjusted odds ratio (aOR) was 2.0 (95% CI, 1.1–3.6)”

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X17308666

As someone who holds a degree in epidemiology (unlike Offit) and has analyzed the database used in this study (also unlike Offit), I can assure you that that is a significant association. The “95% CI” (confidence interval) excludes the number 1.0. Therefore, the answer to their study question would point in the “yes” direction.

This also demolishes his next point about the study, that the association was based on small numbers:

“After the CDC researchers had finished sub-stratifying their data, the numbers were small”, concluding the results due to “the curse of small numbers gleaned from a large database.” But even before the authors had computed their next association from a smaller sample, the association from their full study sample was already significant. But because Offit misrepresented the association as being insignificant, his point about the study’s findings being based solely on small numbers is also wrong.

His very first point was also wrong, too:

“Researchers had studied two influenza-vaccine seasons: 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. The problem of first-trimester spontaneous abortions occurred during the first season but not the second.”

The study itself makes clear this happened in both seasons: “This effect modification was observed in each season”

Because the majority of Offit’s points are based on his own misrepresentations – including all those that discussed the study findings directly – simple corrections are too mild. The entire post should be retracted by The Daily Beast, especially since the purpose of the post was to make the case for why the study should have never been published. In reality, The Daily Beast should have never posted this fatally flawed article by Paul Offit and should now retract it.

Sincerely,

Jake Crosby, MPH