You’ve potentially seen this Pertussis Vaccine article shared on Facebook as evidence that the vaccine works. The paper has many wild claims, the most concerning to me being this one encouraging pregnant women to get vaccines.
Finally, maternal immunization during pregnancy also seems to be a very attractive strategy to control other diseases that are potentially preventable by vaccines. In the next coming years, the experience accumulated with tetanus, influenza, and pertussis will pave the way for the development of maternal vaccination programs against other severe diseases for the young infant, such as those caused by group B streptococcus and respiratory syncytial virus.
I have always felt strongly that the push on pregnant women was a transparent way to increase vaccine demographics, which would essentially drive up revenue. The paper, however, failed to report that it was given financial grants by three pharmaceutical companies: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Novartis, and Sanofi Pasteur. This should be more than a footnote, this disclosure means the paper is clearly subject to an extreme bias. But to not even have it disclosed at all is a tragedy and corruption at the highest of academic levels.
The publishers have claimed this was a mishap and a new piece of literature has disclosed the “error” here. But at the time of writing this article, you can see from my screencapped image used in this article that no corrections have been made.
So what happened according to the publishers? According to Retraction Watch, a software mistake, apparently.
The editor in chief of the journal, Maria Claudia Nogueira Zerbini, told us the author had disclosed his ties to the companies:
The MS Word manuscript sent by the journal staff [to the publishing service] had the disclosure statement.
She told us the missing information was detected by the journal’s publishing software:
The problem was detected by the journal’s desktop publishing service provider (Editora Cubo) during quality assurance checking of the article’s XML to be sent for PMC deposit.
That same software was responsible for the error, she explained:
The error was that the production workflow used by Editora Cubo makes heavy use of MS Word character and paragraph styles during copy editing. These styles are later processed by scripts and macros inside Adobe InDesign in order to generate the PDF and inside MS Word to export the XML. Because the InDesign script was mis-configured it moved the disclosure statement paragraph to an area outside of the page resulting in the error.