Retracted Canadian study that overestimated myocarditis after mRNA vaccine spreading among anti-vaxxers
OTTAWA -- A recent study by the Ottawa Heart Institute on myocarditis has been retracted, but not before it spread like wildfire throughout the anti-vaccine community.
The Canadian study detailing the rate of heart inflammation after an mRNA vaccine has been making the rounds on social media for the wrong reasons.
“As we all know, this exploded on social media and that’s unfortunate because there was a significant error in this and a significant calculation mistake,” said infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch.
The paper inaccurately reported a much higher incidence of the rare side effect, saying the reaction happened in 1 in 1000 patients.
“The current estimates are about 1 in 6000 to 1 in 25,000,” said Bogoch. “Some make it even rarer and the vast majority of these cases are mild and self resolved. But again, you have to acknowledge that this is still a potential side effect from the vaccine.”
30-year-old Matt Wubs recently had myocarditis after his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
“I was putting my head down on my desk just because I was so tired and I thought, 'You know what, this isn’t normal,'” said Wubs. “They were about to release me from the hospital here in Winchester, and then the bloodwork came back and that’s when my heart enzyme level was a lot higher than it should be.”
Wubs caught strep throat 10 years ago, which caused a similar inflammation around his heart called pericarditis. It’s not clear if the earlier infection played any part in the current myocarditis Wubs experienced.
“This time it was caught early enough that I didn’t have the same severe pain that I had suffered from before, 10 years previously,” said Wubs.
The authors of the article wouldn’t comment when contacted by CTV News Ottawa, but the Heart Institute released this statement:
“We are sorry a preprint paper citing incorrect data led to misinformation on the incidence of post-vaccine myocarditis. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and have been proven effective against the disease.”
The authors have since withdrawn the paper on the grounds of incorrect incidence data.
“The key thing here was, sure, there was a mathematical error. Errors can happen. Acknowledge that the error happened. Do the right thing, which they did,” said Bogoch.