Dutch hospital distances itself from Covid excess death report

Positive coronavirus test. Photo: DutchNews.nl

A Dutch children’s cancer hospital has formally distanced itself from a publication on excess mortality since the coronavirus pandemic involving several members of its staff, after its quality has been questioned.

The Princess Máxima Center says serious doubts have arisen about the publication in the British Medical Journal and that it “deeply regrets” it may give the impression that the importance of vaccinations is being questioned.

The publication was picked up by the British press, some who misrepresented the content of the paper to the enthusiasm of anti-vax campaigners. The Telegraph, for example, headlined its article “Covid vaccines may have helped fuel rise in excess deaths”.

The BMJ also published a statement saying the research had been misreported. “Various news outlets have claimed that this research implies a direct causal link between COVID-19 vaccination and mortality,” the statement said. “This study does not establish any such link. The researchers looked only at trends in excess mortality over time, not its causes.”

Now the hospital itself has weighed into the row, saying the research project was originally to look at the effect of COVID measures on, among other things, the mortality rate of children with cancer in low-income countries.

“During the study, the focus shifted… in a direction that we felt was too far from our expertise: pediatric oncology,” the hospital said.

“We should have been more alert to the formation and results of this publication and will further investigate the way it was created. If it turns out that carelessness was involved in the realisation of this publication, it will of course be withdrawn,” the centre said.  

“We want to emphasise that we strongly support vaccination, and that this publication should certainly not be read as an argument against vaccination,” the hospital said.

“The study in no way demonstrates a link between vaccinations and excess mortality; that is explicitly not the researchers’ finding. We therefore regret that this impression has been created.”

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