Peter Doshi, Ph. D. an associate professor of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, spoke out against vaccine mandates during a five-minute testimony he gave at a panel held by Senator Ron Johnson R-WIS., chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, on Capitol Hill last week

Doshi is a senior editor at The BMJ and is on the News & Views team. Based in Baltimore, his research focuses on the drug approval process, how the risks and benefits of medical products are assessed and communicated, and improving the credibility and accuracy of evidence synthesis and biomedical publications. 

He campaigns for greater transparency of clinical trial data and leads the Restoring Invisible and Abandoned Trials (RIAT) initiative to ensure clinical trial publications are accurate, complete, and publicly available data. Doshi also has strong interests in journalism to encourage better practice and improve the research enterprise. 

He completed a fellowship in comparative effectiveness research at Johns Hopkins. He received his Ph.D. in history, anthropology, science, technology, and society from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

According to Doshi, clinical trials of the vaccine by Pfizer and Moderna did not show a reduction in death even for Covid deaths as opposed to other causes. He called the evidence flimsy, with just two deaths in the placebo group versus one in the vaccine group. 

“My point is not that I know the truth about what the vaccine can and cannot do; my point is that those who claimed the trials showed the vaccines were highly effective in saving lives were wrong. The trials did not demonstrate this,” he said.  

Everybody knows that covid vaccines save lives; in fact, we’ve known this early since 2021. The clinical trials proved that to be the case, as you can see here in the quote of a February article in the Journal of American Medical Association, referring to a slide quoting Walenski, Walke, and Fauci. 

But is it true when that statement by prominent public officials was penned, there had been just one death across the 70,000 Pfizer and Moderna trial participants, he asked?

His slides provided links to articles on the trials that he referred to. Moderna. page 68 (Table S.26) of supplemental file and Pfizer. page 12 (Table S.4) supplemental file

He continued by stating the definition of anti-vaxxer according to the Miriam Webster dictionary: a person who opposes the use of vaccines or regulations mandating vaccinations. “I would wager that a majority of the world’s population meets the definition here of an anti-vaxxer,” he added.

The mRNA products are qualitatively different than standard vaccines, he said. He stated, “And so, I found it fascinating to learn that Miriam Webster changed its definition of vaccine early in the year. The mRNA products did not meet the definition of vaccine that has been in place for 15 years at Miriam Webster. The definition was expanded so that now mRNA products are vaccines.”

“I highlight this to ask the question, how would you feel about mandating covid vaccines if we didn’t call them vaccines. What if these injections were called drugs instead?” he asked.

“So, here’s the scenario; we have this drug, and we have evidence that it doesn’t prevent infection, nor does it stop viral transmission. But the drug is understood to reduce your risk of becoming very sick and dying of covid. Would you take a dose of this drug every six months for possibly the rest of your life? If that’s what it took for the drug to stay effective? Would you not just take this drug yourself but support regulations mandating that everyone else around you take this drug? Or would you say, hold on a sec. Maybe you would say if that’s all the drug does, why not use a normal medicine instead. The kind we take when we are sick and want to get better? And why would you mandate it?”

Doshi concluded by saying, “the point is just because we call it a vaccine doesn’t mean we should assume these new products are just like all other childhood vaccines which get mandated. Each product is different. If people are okay with mandating something simply because it’s a vaccine and we mandate other vaccines, why shouldn’t we mandate this?” 

“I think it’s time to inject some critical thinking into that conversation, and that is what I hope we’re doing today,” he said, ending his testimony.

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