Immunologists and virologists complained on social media around 6 months ago about a recently-created sham scientific journal called "International Journal of Vaccine Theory, Practice, and Research" (IJVTPR) which was supposedly created by anti-vaxxers and intended to release anti-vax research papers. Since then I have noticed one specific IJVTPR paper, "Worse Than the Disease? Reviewing Some Possible Unintended Consequences of the mRNA Vaccines Against COVID-19" frequently cited in anti-vax forums all over the internet. More recently, a member of my family provided the following link to this same paper as proof that reputable peer-reviewed medical research shows the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines to be dangerous: https://dpbh.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/dpbhnvgov/content/Boards/BOH/Meetings/2021/SENEFF~1.PDF
My own mild debunking:
My own mild debunking:
- The URL is misleading: The impressive .gov URL (from Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health), which lends credibility to the link and paper, is only possible because the creators of this paper submitted the paper, as all members of the general public were allowed to do without scientific or government review, to an 8/10/2021 zoom meeting about Covid-19 vaccination by the Nevada Board of Health, and the .gov website lists all formally submitted comments from the public as PDFs in their online meeting minutes/notes: https://dpbh.nv.gov/Boards/BOH/Meetings/2021/NVBOH2021/
- No reputable experts authored the paper: No professional immunologist, virologist, or vaccine specialist took part in the authoring of this paper. It turns out the paper's primary authors are:
- Stephanie Seneff, a senior Computer Science and AI (no professional expertise in medicine, vaccines, immunology, or virology) researcher at MIT who, according to her Wikipedia entry, "...began publishing controversial papers in low-impact, open access journals on biology and medical topics; the articles have received 'heated objections from experts in almost every field she's delved into'..."
- Greg Nigh, a naturopathic physician (not an MD, DO or PhD, degree from "National College of Natural Medicine"), licensed acupuncturist and founder of Immersion Health in Portland, Oregon.
- No reputable expert peer review found: Like most of the other papers created and posted by IJVTPR, I can find zero approving peer review by reputable experts in the subject matter of this paper. IJVTPR claims to be an open journal which allows the scientific community to potentially peer review each paper, but materials published by IJVTPR are not necessarily peer reviewed, and in practice, as far as I can tell, their papers are basically never approvingly peer reviewed by real medical and scientific experts.
- No new research or data: The paper does not contain any medical research or data of its own, and instead bills itself as a "review" of research and data created by other experts.
- Rehash of existing anti-vax misinformation gambits: The paper is a Gish gallop, a litany of many of the same anti-vax misinformation points refuted by professionals and experts in the subject. For example, it brings up the tired debunked argument that ADE is a unique problem with vaccines instead of the studied medical issue already well-known to professional immunologists and virologists. As another example, it refers to several embarrassingly disreputable sham papers, like the J Bart Classen paper which claimed without evidence that the vaccines can cause prions disease.