Messenger RNA (mRNA) shots for Covid had absolutely no impact on reducing the overall mortality rate related to the virus, a new study has confirmed.
The study, published in the renowned Cell journal, was led by Professor Christine Stabell Benn at the University of Southern Denmark.
Professor Benn and a team of health researchers found that the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna may have saved a very small number of lives in cases where the patients were extremely vulnerable.
However, any lives saved were offset by the number of vaccinated trial participants who died from cardiovascular problems as a result of the jab.
The researchers were only able to access data on those recorded to have died from adverse reactions to the shots.
While trail data shows if a person died after having the shot, the same records are not kept when members of the public die of cardiovascular problems or other reactions, meaning the jab will not likely be recorded as a cause of death.
Due to these holes in the reporting, the number of deaths among the public may have vastly countered the number of lives saved.
The study analyzed data from randomized clinical trials (RCTs) reported by the companies that manufacture the vaccines.
“In the RCTs with the longest possible blinded follow-up, mRNA vaccines had no effect on overall mortality despite protecting against some COVID-19 deaths,” researchers said.
“On the other hand, the adenovirus-vector vaccines were associated with lower overall mortality.”
“The differences in the effects of adenovirus-vector and mRNA vaccines on overall mortality, if true, would have a major impact on global health,” they added later.
On the other hand, shots that utilized adenoviruses, such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, had a favorable impact on both COVID-19 mortality and overall mortality, according to the reanalysis.
Benn and the team of health professors took data from three RCTs for the mRNA vaccines and six RCTs for the adenovirus-vector vaccines that had mortality data available.
They compared the overall deaths in the vaccinated arms with the placebo arms.
They also broke deaths down into different categories: attributed to COVID-19, cardiovascular problems, other non-COVID-19 causes, accidents, and non-accident, non-COVID-19 causes.
“We extracted the number of deaths from the studies that led to approval of the new mRNA and adenovirus-vector COVID-19 vaccines,” Benn said.
“We calculated the relative risk of dying, overall, and for various causes of death, for each vaccine type.”
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the researchers found, were associated with lower COVID-19 mortality but higher cardiovascular and non-accident, non-COVID-19 mortality.
There was no difference in overall mortality between the vaccinated arms and the placebo groups.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was associated with lower overall mortality and with lower non-COVID-19 mortality, with no effect on COVID-19 mortality.
AstraZeneca’s shot, never authorized in the United States but cleared in some other countries, performed well against overall mortality and other categories across several trials, except for one trial where slightly more vaccinated people died from non-COVID causes or non-accident, non-COVID-19 causes.
“The results suggest that adenovirus-vector vaccines compared with placebo have beneficial non-specific effects, reducing the risk of non-COVID-19 diseases,” researchers said.
“The most important cause of non-COVID-19 death was cardiovascular disease, against which the data for the current RCTs suggest that the adenovirus-vector vaccines provide at least some protection.”
They noted that trial populations were largely healthy adults and that in the real world, even mRNA vaccines were expected to reduce overall mortality.
But “the intriguing differences in the effects on non-accident, non-COVID-19 mortality are likely to persist and should be investigated in future studies,” the researchers added.
Overall mortality spiked in a number of highly vaccinated countries after the vaccines were rolled out, including the United States.
The study was published ahead of peer review in 2022, but the authors struggled to find a journal that would accept the paper, Benn said.
Several journals rejected it without explaining why, causing a delay in publication.
Several experts complimented the paper.
“This is a good article that raises food for thought,” Dr. Peter Gotzsche, professor emeritus and director of the Institute for Scientific Freedom in Denmark, said in response to the study.
Gotzsche wrote about research conducted by Peter Aaby, one of Benn’s co-authors, in his book “Vaccines: Truth, Lies, and Controversy.” Some of Aaby’s other papers have supported the hypothesis that live attenuated vaccines like adenovirus vectors help decrease overall mortality while vaccines that contain the killed version of a germ that causes a disease increase total mortality.
Such “unexpected results” can complicate public health messaging, Gotzsche wrote.
Previous research, including a 2013 paper from Benn and Aaby, has suggested that some vaccines provide non-specific effects, or increased protection against unrelated pathogens.
They posited that the adenovirus-vector COVID-19 vaccines might “prime the immune system in a way similar to a ‘live’ vaccine,” while noting that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines increase inflammation, which could lower the immune system’s protection against other illnesses.
Benn, Aaby, and other experts said in a separate paper in April that the current framework for testing and regulating vaccines needs to be updated because of how vaccines may impact the risk of contracting unrelated diseases.
Benn said the study was “built on a meta-analysis of placebo-controlled RCTs—the highest degree of evidence in the evidence pyramid.”
The key point of focus was overall mortality.
The study has been met with criticisms, however, as some still argue that the small benefits are worth the much larger risks.
Benn fired back at the critics, saying:
“It is irrelevant if a vaccine protects better against COVID-19 than another vaccine, if it reduces overall mortality to a lesser degree—unless you think that Covid is worse than death.”