Pfizer and Ventavia: Experts have questions about the researcher who blew the whistle on data integrity issues in Pfizer’s vaccine trial

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Experts Blow Whistle on Alleged COVID Vaccine Whistleblower Claims

— Allegations described as “vague kind of hand waving”

by Cheryl Clark, Contributing Writer, MedPage Today November 5, 2021

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The article said that Ventavia, who Jackson said was selected to quickly ramp up Pfizer’s COVID vaccine trial, fired Jackson the same day she complained to the agency..

However, several vaccine experts familiar with COVID vaccine clinical trials questioned the article’s accuracy, and advised people not to believe it outright.

“It’s all this sort of vague kind of hand waving; I have no idea whether any of this is true, nor do you,” Paul Offit, MD, of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and a member of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, told MedPage Today.

“That The BMJ published it doesn’t make it any more true,” Offit, who formerly sat on CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, added. “If this whistleblower believes that they have a whistle to blow, then blow it. And then let’s have the company respond.”
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Another prominent vaccine expert, who asked not to be quoted by name, said that many of the issues alleged by the article’s main source “are things you wouldn’t want to see happen, like needles and syringes and things discarded in bags. But that doesn’t have to do with data integrity.

“There’s a lot of stuff in there that really doesn’t speak to whether the [Pfizer vaccine trial] data were recorded correctly.”

The expert acknowledged that in the earliest days, there was a rush to get trials up and running with different companies in various locations around the country.

Asked for a response, Ventavia spokeswoman Lauren Foreman discredited The BMJ article, written by investigative journalist Paul Thacker. She said Thacker’s article did not include any of the evidence the accuser claims she had, and that he did not contact Ventavia for a response before publishing. (Attempts to reach Thacker were unsuccessful.)

“There’s more to this,” she said. “We have an attorney we’re working with. And this is due to the sensitivity of this issue.”

Foreman said the “accuser” Jackson was employed “for approximately 2 weeks in September 2020, and no part of her job responsibilities concerned the clinical trials at issue.”
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In a statement, Pfizer said it was “disappointed by the recent article published by the British Medical Journal that failed to contact us prior to publication and selectively reported certain claims with the goal of undermining confidence in a vaccine that has been given to hundreds of millions of people worldwide.”

https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/exclusives/95484?trw=no

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A spokesperson for Ventavia provided the following comment:

Ventavia is aware of recent accusations in an article written by Paul Thacker [investigative reporter and author of the BMJ article]. Mr. Thacker did not contact Ventavia prior to publication. The accuser was employed for approximately two weeks in September 2020, and no part of her job responsibilities concerned the clinical trials at issue. These same accusations were made a year ago, at which time Ventavia notified the appropriate parties. The allegations were investigated and determined to be unsubstantiated. Ventavia takes research compliance, data integrity, and participant safety very seriously, and we stand behind our work supporting the development of life-saving vaccines.

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https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj.n2635

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