Recently, we covered two studies that looked at the health differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated homeschooled children. The results were compelling: they found that vaccinated kids were, on the whole, sicker than unvaccinated kids. Vaccinated children were more than three times as likely to have allergies, six times as likely to have pneumonia, about three times as likely to have neurological developmental disorders, and almost twice as likely to have any chronic illness.
Hours after we published our article, we learned that the studies had been taken down by the publishing journal, the Journal of Translational Sciences. This was followed by reports from skeptic blogs that the studies had been retracted.
Here’s what happened.
In 2016, Dr. Anthony Mawson (the lead author of both studies) submitted one of the studies for publication to the journal Frontiers for Public Health. The paper was rejected for publication at that time, a routine decision that does not imply inaccuracy of data. Dr. Mawson then submitted the original paper as well as another study to the Journal of Translational Sciences in March of this year.
Skeptic bloggers falsely reported that Frontiers had retracted Dr. Mawson’s study, which would have indicated a finding that the results were questionable. This led the Journal of Translational Sciences to pull the studies pending an inquiry. When the journal saw evidence that the paper had in fact been rejected for publication rather than retracted, it restored both papers.
Having a paper rejected for publication, reworking the material, and resubmitting it to a different publication is a common occurrence in the academic world. We’ll let you decide whether the skeptic bloggers made an honest error or intentionally distorted the facts to try and get the papers pulled because they didn’t like the evidence or the conclusions.
There is an irony here. Skeptics are typically those who value rationality, data, and scientific inquiry. Yet any study daring to hint that vaccinations may not be 100% safe is immediately denounced as quackery. We applaud the Journal of Translational Sciences for their consideration of Dr. Mawson’s data, their search for the truth, and their willingness to publish this material that should be driving significant discussion around the country.