Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Editor's Choice

Covid 19: Two million deaths, so what went wrong?

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: (Published 11 February 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n393

Read our latest coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Rapid Response:

Re: Covid 19: Two million deaths, so what went wrong?

Dear Editor,

The statement "The phenomenal success of the vaccination programme is the most concrete, not only for people receiving it but for those delivering it" needs to be explained in the context of efficacy and safety. Surely a vaccine is only successful if it both prevents transmission (not proven as yet with COVID vaccines) and is safe (all vaccines are currently under EUA status and and have a black triangle warning).

Clinical trials have only just ended and therefore it is too soon to know how long any of the vaccines will last. As regards the claimed efficacy by the manufacturers, I think Peter Doshi explained the flaws in the trial designs perfectly in his recent article for BMJ - his concerns re relative V absolute risk reporting, ill-defined endpoints, lack of transmissibility data and duration of the trial, all merit the highest scrutiny.

As regards safety, for the same reasons efficacy cannot be measured, nor too can safety. Instead, authorities like FDA, CDC and MHRA will have to rely on public reporting such a VAERS and Vigibase to monitor for trends in adverse events.

Currently on VAERS, as of Feb 4th, there are 12,697 reported reactions, many of which are very serious, including 653 ending in death.
21% of those deaths were related to cardiac disorders and another 27% died in their sleep or without warning. Temporality to the vaccine is also a startling figure. Half of all deaths were reported within hours of receiving the vaccine.
This is highly significant given the importance of using temporality in assessing the cause of death according to the Bradford Hill criteria.

Some might say we can't rely on VAERS as it's a passive system and reports are not verified. That may be true but it is still the only reporting system we have accessible to the public. Moreover medical staff have been told to report all COVID 19 vaccine adverse events to VAERS, from injection site reactions to death. In fact it is a mandatory requirement mentioned on the first page of the FDA fact sheet for vaccination providers.

It would appear to those familiar with VAERS that this is in fact working and that many more vaccinators are actually reporting adverse events since there have been so many. It is often the case that new vaccines elicit more reports than older ones, that it acknowledged. However, the difference between the reports from the COVID 19 vaccines and all other vaccines is beyond anything seen before. A comparison to the flu vaccine is warranted since, unlike other vaccines, uptake of the flu vaccine has increased in 2020, peaking at 193 million doses.

If you compare flu vaccine reported deaths in 2020/21 (193m doses) to the two months of data from COVID 19 vaccines (35m doses as of Feb 4th), then the tally is as follows:

Dec 2020 - Feb 4th 2021 COVID 19 vaccine deaths: 653
Sept 2020 - Jan 31st 2021 Flu vaccine deaths: 20 (Twenty)

Using basic math, that means that the rate of deaths reported following the COVID 19 vaccine is 180 times that of flu vaccine deaths.

The CDC has actually admitted that the number of deaths reported is 1.170 as of February 7th. However It has also claimed (incredibly) that they have investigated all deaths using death certificates, autopsy reports, medical records etc and found that there was "no link" with the vaccine.
This is preposterous since even someone like myself without a medical background can tell that many of the medical personnel writing the reports into VAERS considered the vaccine to be the likely cause of death. One poor soul was vaccinated while unconscious and passed away 90 minutes later.

The CDC is monitoring all reactions and as a concerned citizen I would ask BMJ to do the same and seek accountability from the CDC and the FDA and to explain these data. The public must have full disclosure and full transparency or we will see a repeat of the 1976 swine flu debacle. Although it's likely that pharma's influence on the world stage would forbid any such similar exposure. However since we can see reactions with our own eyes (the second dose reactions are exponentially worse), then it won't take long for the public to lose confidence due to negative personal experience alone. The CDC and the FDA have a problem they need to address. Each week it is glaringly more obvious.

Eileen Iorio

Competing interests: No competing interests

15 February 2021
Eileen Iorio
Co-Author of "HPV Vaccine On Trial"
New York