Professor Perronne’s misleading assertions

Since he was dismissed from his duties as head of service by the Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP) and continued in the wake of the medical order in December 2020, the doctor Christian Perronne, muse of the conspirators, was discreet on television. The specialist in infectious diseases at Garches hospital, however, benefited from a forum of about twenty minutes, Sunday, November 21, on the far-right channel CNews.

The opportunity for him to remind journalists that they “Must verify the sources of everything they put forward” on the Covid-19 epidemic. A piece of advice that he is careful not to apply to himself, as his intervention multiplies the untruths about vaccines against Covid-19 and the epidemic situation in the world. With always the same mechanism at work valued by anti-ax activists to discredit vaccines: decontextualized data on adverse effects, shaky comparisons between countries on vaccinated and non-vaccinated, manipulated figures on deaths among immunized people …

Christian Perronne (on the left), facing journalist Ivan Rioufol, on the CNews channel, benefited from a platform of about twenty minutes, Sunday, November 21.

Christian Perronne thus affirms, while the number of contaminations is soaring in France, that he “There is no fifth wave”, and that the Covid-19 epidemic is “Almost finished in France”. The doctor advances as jumbled up as the vaccines of Pfizer and Moderna “Are experimental therapeutic substances” who does not “Not protect against severe forms”, or that“There is no longer an epidemic in countries which do not vaccinate”.

This sequence did not go unnoticed on social networks, in particular on Facebook, where it has already been seen more than 345,000 times on a conspiratorial page.

Here are three examples of statements that distort the reality of the Covid-19 vaccination.

Portrait : Who really is Christian Perronne, referring doctor for the conspirators?
  • “20,000 vaccine deaths in Europe”

FAUX

According to Christian Perronne, while nearly 575 million doses of vaccines have been administered in Europe, vaccines against Covid-19 are the cause of “More than 20,000 dead”. This assessment is based, he says, on the EudraVigilance database of European data on adverse reaction reports.

This platform is fed by pharmacovigilance reports communicated by the various national regulatory authorities, and by pharmaceutical companies holding marketing authorizations in order to “Provide the public with access to reports on suspected drug-related adverse reactions”. It is therefore a database of raw data collections.

However, the EudraVigilance database emphasizes that the information declared “Should not be interpreted as meaning that the medicinal product or active substance causes the observed effect or that its use presents a risk”. The site lists the effects that appear after a vaccination against Covid-19, but this does not imply an automatic causal link between a pathology and the product injected. Thus, the figure of “20,000 dead” is a haphazard calculation of deaths that have occurred after vaccination but could be caused by other illnesses or by age. This figure is therefore not based on any tangible element.

By manipulating raw information on undesirable effects, Christian Perronne here takes up an element that has become classic in the discourse of antivaxes around the world. A rumor in the summer that the United States had recognized 4,000 vaccine-related deaths, based on data gathered by the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (Vaers), called for the same mechanism.

Read also False deaths, misinterpreted figures: how antivaccines cast doubt on side effects
  • “In Great Britain, four times more deaths among vaccinated people”

MISLEADING

To deny the effectiveness of messenger RNA vaccines, Perronne relies on the example of Great Britain where, according to him, “People who are vaccinated die four times more from Covid than the unvaccinated”. But this assertion is based on raw figures which do not take into account the fact that the vaccinated are nine times more numerous than the unvaccinated in the population.

Critical missing data that is dishonestly exploited in many online publications. This was already the case in July when anti -ax activists claimed that vaccinated Britons would die more from the Delta variant. Compiling real and raw data, then comparing two categories of individuals, thinking that we are dealing with an identical number of people, is a bias that the infectiologist cannot escape here.

As of November 29, nearly 51 million people over the age of 12 in the UK have received a dose of the vaccine, representing 88% of the population eligible for vaccination. Among them, 46 million are fully vaccinated, or 80% of the eligible population.

To find out the number of deaths among the vaccinated population, the government agency UK Health Security Agency issues a weekly monitoring bulletin on the effectiveness of vaccines. The most recent, published on November 25, reports the deaths that occurred “During the twenty-eight days following a positive Covid-19 test”. The agency has thus counted 708 deaths among unvaccinated people, against 2,903 deaths among people vaccinated since the beginning of November, or four times more deaths among immunized Britons.

However, this raw reading of the data is dishonest, because the doctor is careful not to report what the health agency specifies later: namely that the more the proportion of vaccinated increases in the population, the more the proportion of dead vaccinated people increases:

“In a context of very high vaccination coverage in the population, even with a very effective vaccine, it is expected that a large proportion of cases, hospitalizations and deaths will occur in those vaccinated, simply because that a greater proportion of the population is vaccinated and that no vaccine is 100% effective. “

A figure to be qualified also, because in view of the data the proportion of vaccinated is even higher among the oldest (in England, the vaccination rate reaches 95% for the 80-89 years): those even who are the most vulnerable. Deaths are therefore likely to be more numerous in this segment of the population, with or without Covid-19.

Finally, this comparison in absolute value of the number of deaths among vaccinated and non-vaccinated leads to a poor understanding of the situation across the Channel. When we compare the death rate, i.e. the number of deaths from a given disease compared to an equal population (expressed here per 100,000 inhabitants), we find, for example, that a British person over 80-year-old unvaccinated is three times more likely to die from Covid-19 than a vaccinated person. Unvaccinated 50 to 59 year olds are six times more likely to die from the disease.

Read also The misleading figures from a video about deaths after the start of the vaccination
  • “All the countries which have not vaccinated no longer have an epidemic”

MISLEADING

Christian Perrone asserts it without batting an eyelid: “All the countries in the world that have not vaccinated no longer have an epidemic (…), all countries that have vaccinated massively are seeing rebounds in infection. “

Let us note first of all that it is dishonest to compare the number of contaminations between several countries, as screening policies and data reporting methods can differ from one nation to another, and regardless of age. average of the population, when we know that Covid-19 affects the elderly more.

Then, Professor Perronne goes quickly to work by asserting that the weakly vaccinated countries no longer have an epidemic. In Eastern Europe, several countries faced a very violent epidemic wave in October, such as Slovakia or Bulgaria, with an explosion in the number of infections and deaths. What do these countries have in common? Very low vaccination coverage, with rates among the lowest in the European Union (25% of Bulgarians and 45% of Slovaks are fully vaccinated, compared to 65% for the entire European population).

Read also Fifth wave of Covid-19: the unvaccinated are still the most numerous in critical care

Regarding the very high incidence rate in Slovakia, the fourth highest in the world according to Agence France-Presse, the president of the association of doctors’ unions, Peter Visolajsky said he is “The result of several factors, including, above all, the low rate of vaccination”.

Let us also take the case of African countries, where only 6% of the population is vaccinated: the daily number of infections has actually fallen in recent months. But if the progression of the disease has slowed, the epidemic has not necessarily disappeared from the continent. The World Health Organization (WHO) even warned at the end of October that ten African countries were “Still in resurgence, including four with an upward trend or a high plateau: Gabon, Congo, Cameroon and Egypt”. In most of these countries, vaccination does not even reach 10% of the population.

Finally, is the increase in contamination in highly vaccinated countries the result of poor vaccine efficacy? Several solid studies have demonstrated an efficacy of more than 90% of vaccines on serious forms and deaths linked to Covid-19. Recently, in October, a large French study confirmed that immunized over 50s had nine times less risk of hospitalization or dying from Covid-19 than unvaccinated people.

But it is true that highly vaccinated European countries, such as France or the Netherlands (more than 75% of vaccinated), are currently facing a strong rebound in the epidemic. An epidemic resumption that can be explained in various ways. Starting, for France, with the 2.5 million people over 50 who are still not vaccinated, but also with the immune protection that diminishes over the months, the winter season favorable to the circulation of viruses, etc. It is for this reason that the government has extended the use of a vaccine booster dose.

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