Controversial physician’s papers promote false claims about COVID-19 vaccines

A former cardiologist who was fired and stripped of his board certification for promoting vaccine disinformation has co-authored two recent papers claiming that COVID-19 vaccines contribute to a large number of myocarditis deaths. One of the papers was published and withdrawn in 2021, relying entirely on VAERS data and highlighting cases of individuals who died 358 and 600 days after vaccination. The second paper, which involved a review of documents from autopsies that the researchers did not perform, was removed from a medical journal’s preprint database because its conclusions were unsupported.

Risk level: Medium

Recommendation: Myocarditis after vaccination is commonly cited by vaccine opponents to discourage vaccination. In this case, neither study found evidence that COVID-19 vaccines caused deaths and, in some cases, ignored other, more likely causes of death. While conversations about these studies are unlikely to arise in a clinical setting, doctors may face questions about COVID-19 vaccine safety. Talking points may emphasize that large-scale, credible, peer-reviewed studies consistently show that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and that myocarditis is far more common after a COVID-19 infection. Staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines is a safe way to prevent myocarditis.