Did a new MIT study prove that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine caused a surge of heart problems in Israel?!
Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!
Claim : MIT Study Proved Pfizer Vaccine Raised Heart Problems!
People are sharing links and screenshots of a new MIT study, as evidence that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine causes heart problem, and is more dangerous than getting COVID-19.
Despite claims of censorship, Twitter is a hotbed of such posts. Here are a few examples :
If there is even a shred of doubt that vaccines could be doing more harm than good to the under 40s, they should be discontinued for younger age groups immediately.
25% increase in ambulance calls for cardiac arrest and acute coronary syndrome among 16–39 yr-olds in early 2021 compared with the same period in 2019 and 2020. Strongly correlated with timing of vaccine rollout to these ages, but not with COVID-19 cases.
New paper on increased cardiovascular events🫀, by leading researchers from MIT and Israel National Emergency Medical Services, published in a most prestigious medical journal.
It exposes the lies of Israel Ministry of Health, which denied any increase.
Claim : MIT Study Did NOT Prove Pfizer Vaccine Raised Heart Problems!
People are jumping to wholly unjustified conclusions based on the little they read about the MIT study, often without even reading it!
The truth is – the MIT study did NOT prove that the Pfizer vaccine raised the risk of heart damage in people who received them.
If you are “too busy” to actually read the study yourself, here are the reasons why…
Fact #1 : It Was A Statistical Analysis
The study that people are excitedly sharing as “proof” that the Pfizer vaccine is dangerous, is called “Increased emergency cardiovascular events among under-40 population in Israel during vaccine rollout and third COVID-19 wave“. You can read it in its entirety here.
Written by Christopher L. F. Sun and Retsef Levi from the Sloan School of Management, MIT, and Eli Jaffe from the Israel National Emergency Medical Services (IEMS) and Ben-Gurion University, the study was a statistical analysis of IEMS data.
In other words, the authors did not actually conduct any clinical research. Rather, they analysed the data collected by the Israel National Emergency Medical Services in order to determine if there was any “signal” that would suggest a problem.
Fact #2 : They Analysed EMS Call Data
The authors relied on call data, specifically people who called IEMS for help with Cardiac Arrest (CA) and Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS), but removing cases that were obviously related to trauma, drug overdose or suicide.
However, it is important to note that the CA and ACS data was based on diagnosis by the responding paramedics, and not the final diagnosis by doctors at the hospital at the conclusion of all necessary clinical and laboratory investigations.
Fact #3 : Data Did Not Include Half Of Cases
The study authors also pointed out in the discussion that their data did not include people who went to the hospital by themselves, which they estimate to be 50% of all events.
In other words, their statistical analysis was based on roughly HALF of cardiac arrest and acute coronary syndrome cases in Israel.
While we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good, that’s a LOT of data that could certainly change the final results of this statistical analysis.
Fact #4 : Vaccine-Induced Myocarditis Can Be Confirmed
It is important to point out that vaccine-induced myocarditis can be clinically differentiated from classical myocarditis, as well as proven through histopathology.
So statistical analyses like this MIT study cannot be remotely compared to diagnoses based on clinical and laboratory investigations, which would be the gold standard.
While this MIT study used Israeli EMS data to see if there was a higher incidence of heart problems than reported, it was frankly superfluous.
The heart conditions of those patients would have been properly diagnosed at the hospitals after thorough investigations, and any vaccine-induced myocarditis would have been properly identified and reported.
The authors would have far more accurate results if they used clinical data from the hospitals, instead of IEMS call data… like the SAFECOVAC study.
Read more : SAFECOVAC Study On Vaccine Myocarditis Risk!
Fact #5 : Cases Not Tied To COVID-19 Vaccination Or Infection
It is also important to note that the IEMS data did not directly tie each case to either COVID-19 infection, or COVID-19 vaccination.
Therefore, the study authors have NO IDEA if the person who complained of a cardiac arrest or acute coronary syndrome actually had COVID-19, or was vaccinated against COVID-19, or neither.
They do not even know if the patients had pre-existing heart problems, even though such patients would naturally skew the results of this statistical analysis.
It is important to note the main limitation of this study, which is that it relies on aggregated data that do not include specific information regarding the affected patients, including hospital outcomes, underlying comorbidities as well as vaccination and COVID-19 positive status.
This is not a slight on the authors, but to point out one of the many limitations of the data they were working with.
Fact #6 : MIT Study Did Not Establish Causation
It is now important to point out that correlation does not imply causation.
In fact, the authors themselves noted in the very first paragraph that they did not establish “causal relationships” between vaccines and heart problems.
How could they? It was a statistical analysis of half the available data that was not directly correlated to COVID-19 infection or vaccination, and did not have pre-existing heart conditions ruled out.
Fact #7 : EMS Calls Could Have Been Affected By Lockdown / Fear
The MIT study authors also pointed out that increases in CA and ACS may be caused by “other underlying causal mechanisms indirectly related to COVID-19, for example, patients delaying seeking emergent care because of fear of the pandemic and lockdowns.”
This is an important factor that would negate their findings – calls for cardiovascular problems during the “pandemic period” could be artificially low because of the strict lockdowns at that time, or fear of contracting COVID-19 from the paramedics.
On the other hand, people who were fully vaccinated may feel safer in calling for medical assistance, leading to higher EMS calls.
There is also fear of the vaccines to consider. Due to the rampant amount of misinformation online, people may be overly anxious, and calling for EMS assistance over common post-vaccination side effects that may be labelled as cardiac out of an abundance of caution.
Fact #8 : They Were Looking At Trends
What the MIT study authors did was look at the trend of CA / ACS calls, based on when Israel started vaccinating its population.
Again, they had NO WAY of knowing whether anyone who made those CA / ACS calls actually had a COVID-19 infection, or was even vaccinated against COVID-19.
That’s why we can only rely on statistical analysis to infer “potential signals”, but not actually arrive at a conclusion about anything at all.
Fact #9 : There Were Few Infections In Israel In 2020
The study looked at COVID-19 infections up to 31 December 2020 – a “pandemic period”, during which there was no vaccination.
At that time, Israel had relatively few COVID-19 infections – only 425,670 cases with 3,373 deaths. That was only 4.6% of the population.
In other words – it would be impossible to correlate CA / ACS calls with COVID-19 infection, due to the low attack rate.
In contrast, Israel had 10X more COVID-19 infections (over 4.08 million cases) and triple the deaths (almost 10,700) by April 2022.
Fact #10 : Less Than 60% Were Vaccinated At That Time
The MIT study used Israel’s vaccination data for first five months of 2021. Accounting for the 3-week lag between Dose 1 and Dose 2, only about 56% of its population was fully-vaccinated by June 2021.
Now, this is important for two reasons.
- We cannot directly draw a direct conclusion from any increase in CA / ACS rates because there is still a high chance (39%) that the patient may not even be vaccinated at all.
- The 56% vaccination rate was 12X higher than the 4.6% infection rate, so it would be wrong to directly compare the trend for CA / ACS rate for the vaccinated period against the trend for CA / ACS rate for the pandemic period.
I’m sure the authors would have corrected for this, or their results would be fatally wrong.
But the point remains – the results cannot be directly correlated to the person’s vaccination status (or past COVID-19 infection), and therefore, we cannot draw any conclusions based on those results.
Fact #11 : COVID-19 Infections Cause Heart Problems Too
The MIT study authors themselves pointed out that COVID-19 infections also cause myocardial injury and myocarditis in the 5th paragraph of their introduction.
In fact, the massive SAFECOVAC study showed that the risk of myocarditis was 167X higher with a single COVID-19 infection than from three doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
It is also important to note that the increased CA / ACS reports in this study may be caused by previous COVID-19 infections.
Again, this is why we cannot come to any conclusion based on the statistical analysis presented by this MIT study.
Read more : Vaccine Myocarditis Risk Less Than 1 In Million!
Fact #12 : This Is Part Of Scientific Process, Not The End
Such statistical analyses are useful for spotting potential signals, but they are not the conclusion of any scientific investigation.
There is nothing in this study that remotely proves that the Pfizer vaccine used by Israel resulted in a surge of heart problems.
What it suggests is that it may be worth taking a closer look at why there was a surge in CA and ACS cases in young adults in Israel in the first half of 2021.
But as the authors admitted – vaccine-induced myocarditis can be differentiated from typical myocarditis, and that the “Israel Ministry of Health and the large HMOs have access to such data“.
So again, this study only suggests a potential problem. At most, it will trigger a closer look. But under no circumstances is it proof of any real cause for concern.
We are already aware of the risk of myocarditis in young adults from the mRNA and adenovirus COVID-19 vaccines. This study does not change that.
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.
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