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A paper claiming that myocarditis cases spiked after teenagers began receiving COVID-19 vaccines has earned a "temporary removal" — without any explanation from the publisher.
The article, "A Report on Myocarditis Adverse Events in the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) in Association with COVID-19 Injectable Biological Products," was published in Current Problems in Cardiology, an Elsevier journal, on October 1.
It was co-authored by Jessica Rose and Peter McCullough, whose affiliations are listed as the Public Health Policy Initiative at the Institute of Pure and Applied Knowledge — a group that has been critical of vaccines and of the response to COVID-19 and has funded one study that was retracted earlier this year — and Texas A&M's Baylor Dallas campus. [See update at the end of the post.]
Last month, Baylor Scott & White obtained a restraining order against McCullough — whom Medscape says "has promoted the use of therapies seen as unproven for the treatment of COVID-19 and has questioned the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines" — for continuing to refer to an affiliation with the health care institution despite a separation agreement. "Since the Baylor suit, the Texas A&M College of Medicine, and the Texas Christian University (TCU) and University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) School of Medicine have both removed McCullough from their faculties," Medscape reported at the time.
Here are some highlights of the now temporarily retracted paper's claims:
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. In addition, a 5-fold increase in myocarditis rate was observed subsequent to dose 2 as opposed to dose 1 in 15-year-old males.
While several studies have used the VAERS database and other similar datasets around the world to estimate rates of side effects from COVID-19 vaccines, the approach has been roundly criticized and has led to at least one retraction. VAERS itself includes caution against doing so. (Another paper about myocarditis cases linked to COVID-19 vaccines has been retracted for a serious math error.)
Here's the notice:
The Publisher regrets that this article has been temporarily removed. A replacement will appear as soon as possible in which the reason for the removal of the article will be specified, or the article will be reinstated.
The full Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal can be found at https://www.elsevier.com/locate/withdrawalpolicy .
Rose, the corresponding author of the paper, told Retraction Watch that the publisher had "applied the 'temporary withdrawal' label to the paper without informing us." The publisher, Rose said, "claimed that since 'it wasn't an invited paper' that they were reconsidering publishing it and hence the 'temporary withdrawal.'"
She said the move was "unheard of" and that Elsevier was "breaching the contract we signed – all fees have been paid for gorgeous color graphics."
Elsevier has temporarily removed more than 100 papers since 2005, by our count. The papers are often reinstated without any mention of why the paper was removed.
Hector Ventura, the editor of the journal, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Update, 10/17/21, 1850 UTC: Rose tells us that the correct affiliations — now noted on the temporarily retracted version — are the Institute of Pure and Applied Knowledge's Public Health Policy Initiative (PHPI) for her, and the Truth for Health Foundation in Tucson, Arizona for McCullough. The foundation describes it mission as:
To provide truthful, balanced, medically sound, research-based information and cutting edge updates on prevention and treatment of common medical conditions, including COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, that affect health, quality of life and longevity.
To present faith-based integrated approaches to medical treatment, health and healing services that encompass all dimensions making us human: physical, psychological/emotional, spiritual, social and environmental.
The paper was submitted before McCullough's departure from Baylor, Rose said.
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