Following concerns raised with BMJ we are investigating the quality of the research and the messaging used in Excess mortality across countries in the Western World since the COVID-19 pandemic: ‘Our World in Data’ estimates of January 2020 to December 2022”, published in BMJ Public Health on 3 June 2024. An expression of concern will be placed on the paper.

The messaging gave rise to widespread misreporting and misunderstanding of the work amid claims that it implies a direct causal link between COVID-19 vaccination and mortality. In fact, the researchers looked only at trends in excess mortality over time, not its causes. This was outlined in a statement issued last week by BMJ.

BMJ’s research integrity team is in contact with The Princess Máxima Center. The Center is listed as the affiliation of three of the four authors, and has already announced that it is investigating the scientific quality of this study.

As part of the investigation the authors will be asked to review and respond to the concerns raised to BMJ about the quality and messaging of the paper. BMJ will then decide what further action is needed.