Britain’s top medical journal slaps warning label on scientific study IT published… after paper was hailed as ‘proof that Covid jabs killed millions’

Britain’s top medical journal slaps warning label on scientific study IT published… after paper was hailed as ‘proof that Covid jabs killed millions’

A study in the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ) suggesting Covid vaccines drove a massive rise in deaths has been labelled with an official ‘expression of concern’ — casting doubt on its findings.

The report, from Dutch scientists, suggested the jab may have played a role in three million excess deaths between 2020 and 2022 — and influential vaccine sceptics, including conspiracy theorist and former radio host Alex Jones, hailed the research as ‘proof the Covid jab killed millions’.

It came just weeks after the controversy-hit AstraZeneca Covid vaccine was withdrawn worldwide, amid continuing concerns it caused blood clots in rare cases.

However other experts immediately criticised the BMJ study for implying a link without providing data to back the claims.

Now the journal has slapped a formal notice on the paper, less than two weeks after it was published, amid an investigation into its legitimacy.

It was seized on by anti-vaxxers including Alex Jones, who declared it was proof that Covid vaccines killed millions

Alex Jones urged his followers to read the BMJ study

Jones has repeatedly referred to Covid vaccines as 'death shots' and 'poison shots' on his internet show InfoWars

Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology in Utrecht, Netherlands, which commissioned the research, has also formally distanced itself from the findings.

A spokesman said: ‘We will further investigate the scientific quality of this study. The Princess Máxima Center deeply regrets that this publication may give the impression that the importance of vaccinations is being questioned.

‘Originally, the idea was to look at the effect of Covid measures on, among other things, the mortality rate of children with cancer in low-income countries.

‘During the course of the study, the focus shifted and diverted in a direction that we felt was too far from our expertise.

‘The Máxima Center therefore emphatically distances itself from this publication.

‘If it turns out that carelessness was involved in the realisation of this publication, it will of course be withdrawn.’

The centre added that it ‘strongly supports’ vaccination and that its researchers ‘in no way’ demonstrated a link between jabs and excess deaths.

The BMJ explained that its ‘expression of concern’ is designed to alert readers to the fact that issues have been raised about the study. It falls short of a correction or retraction. 

The Princess Máxima Center, which commissioned the study, has publicly distanced itself from its findings

The study was also seized on by former Tory MP Andrew Bridgen

Last week Jones, who has more than two million followers on X, featured the study on his internet show InfoWars.

He was seen brandishing a copy of the BMJ and told viewers: ‘Here’s the British Medical Journal, heard of them? They’re about as respected as it gets. 

‘I read this whole report last night. You need to go read this. Because there’s been a 40 per cent increase in deaths, and it’s worse in countries with a higher uptake of shots.

‘They say in the report: We think it’s the shots. The scientists are saying it’s the shots. Right when the shots happen, the deaths happen.’

He added: ‘This is bigger than World War II in terms of increased death numbers.’

The study looked at data from 47 Western countries and found there were more than three million excess deaths between 2020 and 2023.

The researchers said the ‘unprecedented’ figures raised ‘serious concerns’ and included extensive references to separate studies on adverse effects of vaccines, though they did not conclusively link the two.

In one section, they referred to the mRNA jabs given to millions globally as ‘gene therapy’ — language often used by those who vociferously oppose vaccination.

By the end of August 2022, 93.6 per cent of over-12s had received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in the UK

Professor Peter Openshaw (middle) criticised the study that suggested vaccines are linked to excess deaths

They wrote: ‘Although Covid-19 vaccines were provided to guard civilians from suffering morbidity and mortality by the Covid-19 virus, suspected adverse events have been documented as well.’

The researchers said that, despite concerns about the safety of vaccines, there wasn’t enough data to support any firm conclusion, but they speculated that indirect effects of lockdown and the Covid vaccines could ‘play an underpinning role’.

They concluded: ‘Excess mortality has remained high in the Western World for three consecutive years, despite the implementation of Covid-19 containment measures and Covid-19 vaccines. This is unprecedented and raises serious concerns.’

The study was also seized on by former Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, who told his 248,000 followers on X: ‘A massive study finds vaccines are neither safe nor effective for children. But the government now lead by Rishi Sunak gave them to your kids. They would have given them to babies too, if I hadn’t stopped them.’

Mr Bridgen was expelled from the Conservative Party last year after saying the Covid vaccines were ‘the biggest crime against humanity since the holocaust’.

He is currently standing as an independent parliamentary candidate in the North West Leicestershire constituency.

Public health experts condemned the research as ‘shoddy’, ‘irrational’ and ‘conjecture’.

Gavin Yamey, Professor of Global Health and Public Policy at Duke University in the US, described it ‘a paper of Wakefield level awfulness’ – referring to a notorious and discredited study that falsely linked MMR jabs to autism.

Public health researcher Dr Simon Williams, of Swansea University, accused the study of using ‘conspiracy-friendly language’. 

He wrote on X: ‘Vaccines have saved millions of lives globally. If excess deaths ‘remain high’, they would have been much, much higher without vaccines.

‘The consensus in the scientific community is that mRNA vaccines are safe and any harms [are] vastly outweighed by lives saved.’

Viral infections expert Professor Peter Openshaw, a member of the Government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) during the pandemic, said the research paper looked like it had been written by the AI programme ChatGPT.

He said: ‘You absolutely can’t infer that the introduction of vaccines was the cause of this persistent excess mortality.

‘The way they belabour the point about vaccines is totally disproportionate. We know the vaccines did have adverse effects for a small number of individuals, but they were greatly overwhelmed by the severity and frequency of adverse effects from getting Covid.

‘It would be completely wrong to cite this as evidence that the vaccines are causing excess mortality. We were extraordinary lucky to get the vaccines as fast as we did, and they are the reason we escaped without much, much greater mortality, globally and locally.’

Professor Openshaw said the excess deaths post-pandemic could be due to various issues, but are most likely associated with the number of conditions that went untreated during the pandemic.

He said: ‘We were already struggling to treat patients in a timely way through the NHS before Covid. The pandemic brought into sharp focus how little capacity we had.

‘With so many people on waiting lists today, it’s not surprising that a lot of people are unable to work and that the excess death rate is so high.’ 

Dr Felicity Liew, of the National Heart & Lung Institute at Imperial College London, said any effect of vaccines on the excess death rate ‘is likely to be small’ and should be ‘contextualised with the greater risk of Covid-19 death’.

She added: ‘This is an observational study that cannot speak to causes or trends. There is limited evidence to suggest that vaccines contributed to the substantial excess deaths, and while vaccine-related harm can occur, these events are thankfully rare.’

While safety concerns have been spotted with Covid vaccines experts insist that, on the whole, they are safe to use for the majority of the population.

This is because many of the side effects, like myocarditis and pericarditis, are rare, usually mild and resolve on their own with no long-term complications.

Serious complications, like those linked to the AstraZeneca jab that caused deaths from a blood clots, while serious are said to be extremely rare given the scale of the rollout.


In 1995, gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield published a study in The Lancet showing children who had been vaccinated against MMR were more likely to have bowel disease and autism.

He speculated that being injected with a ‘dead’ form of the measles virus via vaccination causes disruption to intestinal tissue, leading to both of the disorders.

After a 1998 paper further confirmed this finding, Wakefield said: ‘The risk of this particular syndrome [what Wakefield termed ‘autistic enterocolitis’] developing is related to the combined vaccine, the MMR, rather than the single vaccines.’

At the time, Wakefield had a patent for single measles, mumps and rubella vaccines, and was therefore accused of having a conflict of interest.

Nonetheless, MMR vaccination rates in the US and the UK plummeted, until, in 2004, the editor of The Lancet Dr Richard Horton described Wakefield’s research as ‘fundamentally flawed’, adding he was paid by a group pursuing lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers.

The Lancet formally retracted Wakefield’s research paper in 2010.

Three months later, the General Medical Council banned Wakefield from practising medicine in Britain, stating his research had shown a ‘callous disregard’ for children’s health.

On January 6 2011, The British Medical Journal published a report showing that of the 12 children included in Wakefield’s 1995 study, at most two had autistic symptoms post vaccination, rather than the eight he claimed.

At least two of the children also had developmental delays before they were vaccinated, yet Wakefield’s paper claimed they were all ‘previously normal’.

Further findings revealed none of the children had autism, non-specific colitis or symptoms within days of receiving the MMR vaccine, yet the study claimed six of the participants suffered all three.

Chris Pollard

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