The Israeli MOH caught red-handed retroactively manipulating data
Here is her translation:
Based on MOH dashboard data, an analysis conducted by members of the Israeli Public Emergency Council for the Corona Crisis demonstrated that the Pfizer COVID-19 booster effectiveness is much lower than that claimed in the NEJM study presented by Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis to the FDA panel.
Within 24 hours from the release of the analysis, the relevant dashboard data history was completely re-written by the MOH.
The Council released screenshots of the original data, and the “rectified” data that apparently was intended to preempt the Council’s Analysis.
Yaffa Shir-Raz, PhD
A few days ago, Israeli Public Emergency Council for the Corona Crisis members published the findings of an analysis of the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine booster. The researchers, Oz Koren, Prof. Shoshy Altuvia and Prof. Retsef Levi, analyzed data published by the Israeli Ministry of Health (MOH) on its public control dashboard, relating to the number of positive COVID-19 cases identified among Israelis returning through the national airport among vaccinated vs. unvaccinated passengers.
The trigger that led to the analysis was the publication in The New England Journal of Medicine on September 15, 2021, of a study conducted by a group of researchers, including Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, Head of Public Health Services in the Israel MOH, on the booster efficacy. The study asserts a relative reduction in the risk of COVID-19 infection of 11.3 among the over 60 population that received a booster dose compared to those who did not.
"The problem is that this study is severely biased, because it does not take into account an important factor - people who did not receive the booster are tested much more than those who did," says Oz Koren. "Although the Ministry of Health has data on that, the authors of that study did not take it into account."
To address the problem and try to assess the true efficacy of the booster in the population, Koren, Prof. Altuvia and Prof. Levy decided to focus on a specific group for which data are available in the MOH's control dashboard - Israelis returning from abroad.
"The advantage of the data obtained from the test conducted at Ben Gurion Airport is that one hundred percent of the people are tested," Koren explains. "This is a unique setting where vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are all tested in (almost) the same intensity, which allows a more objective assessment of both the booster and Green Pass efficacy in preventing infections," the researchers wrote.
The analysis was performed on data published on September 25, 2021 on the control dashboard, reflecting the modified definitions of vaccinated and unvaccinated status after the Pfizer booster shot, based on which the new eligibility for a Green Pass is determined. This change meant that people who had been vaccinated more than six months previously and did not receive the booster dose were counted as “unvaccinated.”
Their findings were surprising: the analysis suggests that the relative protection of the booster shot against infection is significantly smaller than the advertised 10-to-11-fold (over 90 percent) by the MOH, probably around or even less than 2.75-fold (about 65 percent).
Simply put, the study demonstrates that under a relatively equal testing regime, the jabbed and unjabbed show much more similar infection rates.
“The analysis raises fundamental questions regarding the rationale of imposing the new Green Pass policy as it seems that it is not going to be effective in truly eliminating infections, especially considering the expected decline in the booster efficacy over time," the researchers wrote. "In fact, the Green Pass policy could encourage the wrong perception within high risk patients that they are protected around vaccinated individuals, whereas they can both infect and be infected." Moreover, they noted that “This analysis highlights the fundamental methodological problems in the current efficacy assessment by the MOH and calls for further and more open assessment.”
The publication was released by the Israeli Public Emergency Council on October 5 and distributed in Israel and abroad. And then something unexpected happened: within 24 hours from the release, the airport positive cases entry history was re-written by the Ministry of Health, drastically changing the vaccination status of the daily confirmed cases going backward over a period of months.
"For example (as can be seen it in the screenshots below, released by the council), if originally on a given day there were 118 vaccinated confirmed cases vs 242 unvaccinated - it suddenly became 10 vaccinated vs. 350 unvaccinated," Koren explains. "That is, blatant changes, which our examination shows were made over months. They did not just 'round' corners - but actually drastically re-wrote the whole history.”
"It's important to note that no update has been made to the Green Pass settings," says Koren. "The populations were updated according to the Green Pass data as early as September.”
What the MOH did not take into account is the fact that not only did the council save screenshots of the control dashboard, but the Internet archive's waybackmachine platform (a type of digital library that preserves the history of websites and provides free access to the general public) can also be used in order to track back the history of the dashboard from August-September.
"This platform is very important, because if you download Excel data, one can claim that you changed the data," Koren explains. "So I also made videos where I showed the drastic changes made by the MOH according to the screenshots and the changes in the dashboard. The videos are the testimony. It's like a security video. You can delete a security video, but you can't make anyone appear there suddenly. And this was done in numbers, on different days.”
The Council has released screenshots of the original data, as well as of the "revised" data, which apparently was intended to preempt the Council’s Airport Analysis. Thus, one can compare the graphs that refer to a particular date - the original graph (from the web archive) compared to the graph currently displayed on the dashboard, and easily see the drastic changes made to them.
Screenshot of Israeli MOH control dashboard, Oct. 4 vs. Oct. 8:
This is not the first time it has been alleged that the MOH has drastically messed with published data. Only a week ago, the MOH put up a post on Facebook titled “Let’s talk about side effects,” wherein they claimed that there were very few reports of side effects from the booster dose. The post soon received close to thirty thousand comments, including many thousands of adverse events reports. About half of the comments were systematically removed, including most of the adverse events reports. The MOH claimed that "the hidden responses included swearing, abusive comments, lies and fake news," and that the concealment was done in part "by Facebook automatically and not by the page administrators".
But this time it is not about deleting Facebook comments, but actually about the control dashboard panel of the MOH itself, and not just about deleting information, but in fact a systematic rewriting of the statistics related to the Pfizer vaccine.
"The Ministry of Health continues to mess with the data," says Koren. "They are continually taking data and playing with it as they please, simply in order to present us the picture they want us to see, according to the narrative they want to sell us in each given moment."
The Ministry of Health has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Yaffa Shir-Raz, PhD, is a risk-communication researcher and a teaching fellow at the University of Haifa and the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel.