Scottish Health to Stop Publishing COVID-19 Deaths By Vaccine Status to Prevent Data Misinterpretation

Scottish Health to Stop Publishing COVID-19 Deaths By Vaccine Status to Prevent Data Misinterpretation
Vaccinator Rosie Buchanan prepares a vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the COVID-19 vaccination centre at Dundonald Hospital in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Dec 14, 2021. (Liam McBurney/PA Media)
Owen Evans

Last week, Public Health Scotland announced that it going to hide its public weekly data on COVID-19 cases.

Since July 2021, Public Health Scotland (PHS) has reported COVID-19 cases, hospitalisations, and deaths by vaccination status in the weekly COVID-19 statistical report.

Inappropriate Use

PHS stated that the data in the report should not be used as a measure of vaccine effectiveness and added that it “is aware of inappropriate use and misinterpretation of the data when taken in isolation without fully understanding the limitations described below.”

But a world-leading mathematician has suggested that official data from England proves vaccine effectiveness is waning in England and the latest development could hinder transparency in Scotland.

"Due to the increasing risk of misinterpretation from growing complexities as the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year. PHS has taken the decision to no longer report COVID-19 cases, hospitalisations, and deaths by vaccination status on a weekly basis," PHS wrote in a statement.

It added that it is "currently reviewing the content and frequency of reporting this information and will continue to communicate up-to-date and high-quality research on COVID-19 vaccines."

PHS officials told The Scotsman that it had significant concerns about the data being misused deliberately by anti-COVID 19 vaccination campaigners and was behind the move.

“For example, we know it is 50 percent effective against getting infected, but that it is much higher effectiveness against hospitalisations and deaths which is the key thing really as that’s what we want to prevent," they told the publication.

In its latest report, PHS defended the decision to pull the data further (pdf). It noted that COVID-19 rates do not account for potential differences between populations such as behaviour towards social distancing, underlying health issues, or approaches to testing and how much they contribute to COVID-19 rates.

Furthermore, a study found that people with two doses of vaccine were more likely to test themselves for COVID-19 compared to those unvaccinated or with one dose of a vaccine.

"This means that unvaccinated people may be less likely to test and report as a case resulting in lower infection rates among the unvaccinated. Comparison of case rates is therefore now inappropriate," wrote the PHS.

‘A Big, Big Problem’

Former Trump administration official Paul E Alexander, an epidemiologist and Canadian health researcher used Scottish data to make a case at Sen. Ron Johnson’s (R-Wis.) panel discussion on Jan. 24. Some reports claimed that this was the reason behind removing the data.

The Johnson event discussed the current state of knowledge of early and hospital treatment, vaccine efficacy and safety, what went right, what went wrong, what should be done now, and what needs to be addressed long term

“We have some data from the UK and Scotland, this week, the third week of reporting for 2022, which demonstrates conclusively that the vaccine is driving the second dose and third booster dose is driving massive infections in the vaccinated. It is a big, big problem,” said Alexander, who has argued for early outpatient treatment for COVID-19.

Prof. Norman Fenton is an expert in risk information management at Queen Mary London University and an expert and mathematician on risk assessment and statistics with a focus on Bayesian probability, a mathematical procedure that applies probabilities to statistical problems.

After crunching the English data, Fenton told The Epoch Times that “we can't see any evidence that the vaccines are reducing all-cause mortality—there is no longer much evidence that they are doing much good actually.”

In December (and updated in January), Fenton and Prof. Martin Neil (Computer Science and Statistics) also at Queen Mary University of London, released a paper on ResearchGate which concluded that there is a miscategorisation status of those who died shortly after vaccination.

The ONS get their data by vaccine statuses, mainly from the National Immunisation Management System (NIMS) and others.

“But they are getting data by the vaccination status of people and mortality from different databases. There is a lot of potential for things to go wrong,” he said.

Fenton said that this distorts all the data. With Scotland, he said the same type of thing is going on. But without the available public data, he will have to go through other systems or freedom of information requests.

“Their data was clearly showing that the vaccines are heading towards negative efficacy, you are more likely to catch COVID with the vaccine than if you are not vaccinated. That's what their data is showing,” he said.

Inherent Biases

“In Scotland, they don't want people finding out that the vaccines are much less effective as has been claimed. I am not suggesting there is some grand scheme or conspiracy around it, but it does fit into a narrative that the vaccines were pushed above everything else,” said Fenton.

Last November, the Office of National Statistics’ guidance on the interpretation COVID-19 case rates in England for vaccinated and unvaccinated groups stated that these raw data should not be used to estimate vaccine effectiveness.

This, it argued, was because the data does not take into account “inherent biases present such as differences in risk, behaviour, and testing in the vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.”

Owen Evans is a UK-based journalist covering a wide range of national stories, with a particular interest in civil liberties and free speech.
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