Watchdog Files Complaint After Yet Another Apparent Scientific Integrity Violation at CDC
- November 18, 2022
CDC’s continued breaches could be largely responsible for precipitous decline in public’s trust of agency
Today, watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust announced a complaint alleging violations of the scientific integrity by officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This complaint is just the latest in a series of alleged infractions documented by PPT for the agency who, according to a study, is trusted by less than half the American public.
On June 17, 2022, Dr. Katherine E. Fleming-Dutra and Dr. Sara Oliver, doctors with the CDC, presented a power point slide deck with CDC labeling titled “COVID-19 Epidemiology in Children Ages 6 Months-4 Years.” The presentation declared that COVID-19 is among the top five causes of death for each age group of children from those <1 year through ages 15-19 years.
The source for this claim was a non-peer reviewed preprint study, which also overstated the number of deaths from COVID-19 in children by 32 percent. In addition to the flaws, the webpage for the study declared, “This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed…It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.” [emphasis in original] Nevertheless, Drs. Fleming-Dutra and Oliver used the claim in their presentation. To our knowledge, they have still not corrected the presentation or addressed any other concerns identified with the study, even though CDC was alerted to shortcomings of the study and its authors admitted flaws and made corrections.
Not only has the CDC presentation not been corrected but CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky made a public statement that repeated the study’s false claims regarding childhood deaths. To further the perversion of science, CDC officials concocted the unscientific and politically tinged response that “even 1 death from COVID that’s preventable is too many, regardless of how you count them” when confronted with the study’s shortcomings. Lest one downplay the impact of the study’s flaws, despite claims that the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) “considers a multitude of data points in making their recommendations,” it appears that the study’s misstated claim regarding the threat COVID-19 poses to children that justified the recommendation for children to be comprehensively vaccinated.
“For public health officials trust is the most precious commodity,” declared Michael Chamberlain, Director of Protect the Public’s Trust. “Every instance in which officials fail to uphold the values and principles of science, weakens that trust. The Biden Administration recognized that this loss of trust can have tragic consequences by strengthening scientific integrity policies but has stood idly by as agencies have violated them. It is not only extremely disappointing, it is downright frightening that officials at the CDC do not appear to treat these principles and policies with the reverence they deserve.”