Debunking SvD article on “vaccines disinformation-campaign”

AstraZeneca setbacks. Swedish Contingencies Agency blames  disinformation campaign by “foreign powers”.

On article in Swedish paper SvD blaming Russia for “disinformation campaign” against the AstraZeneca  vaccine, and SvD interview with The Indicter chief editor.

. By Prof. Marcello Ferrada de Noli

. There are three sections in this publication:

Section 1. Introduction

Section 2. List of the untrue/inaccurate items published in the SvD article authored by Mattias Magnusson, in reference to the interview 17-19 March 2021, and comments of the author.

Section 3. Full transcriptions of interview by Svenska Dagbladet (Mattias Magnusson), 17-19 March 2021.

[På svenska, se även “AstraZenecas motgångar. MSB skyller på desinformationskampanjer från ‘främmande makt’. SvD intervjuar författaren“]


Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) published an article originally titled “Astras’ problem – a dream for Russian troll farms” (“Astras problem – dröm för ryska trollfabriker”, 19 March 2021).

The SvD announcement (20 March) to its subscribers read:

“Russian troll factories and a Swedish professor.” (capitalizations by SvD)

The subheading of the published article reads:

“Russian troll factories. A Swedish professor. The campaigns against Western vaccines started already in the autumn and Astra Zeneca’s new problems have now created a dream situation for disinformation officers, according to MSB.”[1]

The general aim of the article –which corresponds to a new policy announced by the government to crack down dissident voices– is to intimidate Swedish scholars to engage in further criticism of the disastrous Covid-19 strategy designed by the Löfven government in conjunction with the Swedish Public Health Agency.  To this end, and presenting me as one example of such dissidence, the idea was to frame me as a principal actor in an alleged Russian psyop against the AstraZeneca vaccine. It would be about a Swedish “Troll” acting on behalf of Russia’s propaganda (the SvD question). Or as put it in general by the MSB official, when referring to those cases, acting “on Russia’s assignment”. In plain words, a “Russian agent”.

The insinuated allegation is very, very serious, and, correspondingly, it will have serious consequences for the defamers.

One core bulk of the SvD article’s contention resides in this two false statements, the second one clearly libellous:

(Marcello Ferrada de Noli) has two roles in this story. [a] He himself alerts about Pfizer’s and Astra Zeneca’s vaccine via his own news page and Twitter. [b] But he is also frequently hired as an expert when state-controlled media such as Russia Today and Sputnik report on the [Western vaccines] dangers, and market the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.” [2]

“Role” [a], my twittering:

During the pandemic period I have posted N= 311 tweets prior 18 March 2021 –the date of the SvD interview started.

– Regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine, I have posted solely n= 5 in the all period (1,6 % of the total tweets of the period).

– Regarding the Pfizer vaccine, I have posted solely n= 3 (0,9 % of the total tweets of the period). One of these tweets is a clear positive information that it has been approved as covid-19 vaccine.

– Regarding the Sputnik vaccine, I have mentioned it only in four tweets during the all period, and as part of other main information (1,2 % of the total tweets of the period).

– Of the total N= 311 tweets, those referring to issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic were n= 260 (83,6 %). In its vast majority consisted in criticism of the ill-fated strategy of Sweden’s Public Health Authority. Of this, n= 150 tweets names flaws and/or hashtags ref. Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell.

With regard to [Ferrada de Noli’s] himself alerts…via his own news page, but not giving the link to that publication, not even its name (It’s The Indicter, SWEDHR’s monthly magazine on human rights and  geopolitics –over half million viewers), Magnusson prevent the readers to check for themselves what are the sources I use, and the base of my scientific reasoning regarding the world pandemic and vaccines. It is worth noticing that such concealing is not done in accordance to normal SvD practice.

It appears clear to me, that the motivation behind the SvD attack with help of declarations from a state institution belonging to the Intelligence community of Sweden, was another than “my tweets on Astra Zeneca”, as Magnusson put it. And the reason may be well found in the distribution of my tweets above, in what has been the central in my criticism there: the ill-fated Covid-19 strategy used by the government and its “experts” at the Swedish Agency of Public Health, which in my meaning has been non-scientific based, and also unethical.

“Role” [b], my “hired” expertise to promote Sputnik V in Russian state TV:

First of all, I have NEVER received any payment, not in any form, from the networks in Sweden or Italy or in the U.K. or in Chile or in Russia, etc. for the opinions I have expressed in those interviews. (Neither I have ever been signalled of being instrument of those states’ propaganda, just because I have “allowed myself to be interviewed” in their (also) state-owned networks. Absurd!

(To illustrate the paragraph above, I will mention here this episode about my stance on those matters: At the time I was writing debate articles in DN, the then head of the debate section Mats Bergström, asked me to which account they should send the “fees” for my published article. I responded that it was out of the question, and I also meant that I do not ask for money in exchange of  putting forward my scientific or ethical opinions, amidst my honest believe they are on benefit of the same society that pays my professor’s salary. DN said it was neither customary nor possible to refuse the fees. The money went to a human rights activity.)

Well, since I had never commented in detrimental terms on Twitter the reports done by most of Western media on the AstraZeneca vaccine problems, the SvD journalist had to indulge himself in the absurd figure of attacking me (for supposedly campaigning against the AstraZeneca vaccine), via, err, what I instead wrote on the Pfizer vaccine!

That is what in Logics we call the Straw man fallacy. See meaning here.

The “Pfizer tweet”

Yet, the SvD piece starts with a trimmed transcription done by SvD of a tweet on the Pfizer vaccine that I posted 9 Dec 2020. Also most aggravating, in this transcription SvD deleted part of my text, and the link there to my own videoed speech was also deleted from the article. Both the omitted text and the video contain important information, relevant to the discussion the SvD journalist and the MSB representant presented in the article. (See section 2 below).

The above-mentioned link in that tweet leads the tweet-reader to a seven-minutes video posted in YouTube, where in a live interview I explain the need of further investigate “possible associations” between the Pfizer jab and the secondary effects reported. Basically, the same position that Anders Tegnell took while announcing a temporary put on hold the AstraZeneca jab, 18 March 2021.

The SvD article is otherwise based in an interview with 1) Mikael Tofvesson, a section director and “expert in psychological warfare and influence operations” at the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB, a Swedish authority under the Ministry of Justice, among other working “to achieve increased safety and security at all levels of society”), and 2) Marcello Ferrada de Noli, Swedish professor emeritus of epidemiology at “Högskolan in Gävle”, ommitting that such position was mainly shared at the Karolinska Institute, wher I was until retirment head of the research secction of Crosscultural Injury Epidemiology, then at the Department of Social Medicine.  I am also  doctor of medicine in psychiatry (KI).

Main thesis of the article?

Main thesis of the article, written by SvD journalist Mattias Magnusson, is that Russia drives an intelligence operation via proxies aimed to discredit the AstraZeneca vaccine. And against other western made jabs too, and according to SvD they do it via “sniper” (krypskyttet) –which is the term he uses immediately after unequivocally identifying me as professor emeritus of epidemiology.

Also an issue that  Tofvesson has insisted about elsewhere, although he doesn’t dare to name by name, or he can’t, and hence he only refers to “the influence of foreign powers and those who work for them, under assignment”.

Some items referring me in the SvD article are not only utterly libellous, but also absolutely false. Magnusson’s references about what I would have answered to him in the long course of the interview –which fortunately was email recorded­– do not correspond to what I really said, and explained to him.

From a thousand tweets and the articles I have published on the issue; from a detailed interview reply of 13 pages and references sent to him; the SvD journalist cherry-pick one line of one tweet (and on top, twisting its meaning), and makes it representative for a narrative of misinformation and Russian psyops. This is not only a statistical failure (in terms of representative sampling), but also highly unethical in terms of professional and/or journalism practice.

During a 3-days interview, SvD asked me nine questions –I replied all of them, at length, including detailed follow-up questions. Of those, as pointed above, SvD published only one ‘reply’, and where SvD invented concepts I never said, REPLACING my given answer. The reader will easily see the difference between what I wrote in my answers and what instead it was published in the SvD piece by the journalist Mattias Magnusson.

Not only that. Then, @SvD chooses some words out of one line –out of ONE tweet among my thousand– and by omitting reference to the complete phrase I actually posted, I appear saying what I’ve never meant!

When the SvD journalist sent to me, after my request, the edits he would have done regarding my replies, I wrote back and protested for its inaccuracy, and asked to clearly state in his article that I had not approved his altered version of what I had really answered in the interview. He failed to do so.

To these ends, I have decided to a) publish the full interview including Magnusson follow-up questions, and all my replies; b) report the SvD article to the Swedish Medieombudsmannen; c) to write a report on these events, to be published as op-ed in international media.

[1] “Ryska trollfabriker. En svensk professor. Kampanjerna mot västerländska vaccin startade redan i höstas och Astra Zenecas nya problem har nu skapat ett drömläge för desinformatörer, enligt MSB.”

[2] ”Han har två roller i den här historien. Han larmar själv om Pfizers och Astra Zenecas vaccin via en egen nyhetssida och Twitter. Men han anlitas också flitigt som expert när stats­kontrollerade medier som Russia Today och Sputnik rapporterar om farorna, och marknadsför det ryska Sputnik V-vaccinet.” Both online translators at Google and Duolingo  translate “han alitas som” as “he is hired”.


List of the untrue/inaccurate items published in the SvD article authored by Mattias Magnusson, in reference to the interview 17-19 March 2021:

1. Spreading false information about my publications

Mattias Magnusson wrote: “On the same day that Marcello Ferrada de Noli tweeted about six secret deaths, Russian media published the same information. These were then picked up by news media around the world, according to the EU’s database of Russian disinformation. “

That is false, and in fact it was the orher way around. Both the information I gave in my tweet –and the one appeared in the RT interview of gthe samne day–  about the six deaths that have not previously been revealed, is based in reports published previously in Western media, which reproduced the statements of the U.S. FDA. See for instance here.

2. Misquoting and meandering my stances published on Twitter. By means of:

2.1 Omitting reference to a most relevant text belonging to the tweeting he mentioned in the SvD article, and making appear that I have concealed the real cause of deaths in Pzizer late-stage trial

Mattias Magnusson wrote:

“When SvD examines his allegations of six secret deaths in Pfizer’s vaccine trial, it turns out that many things are not true. Four of the dead had received placebos. The other two died of causes other than the vaccine, according to the US Food and Drug Administration. A total of six cases out of 43,661 people. Marcello de Ferrada de Noli cites a news note in an online newspaper in Australia as the source of his claim.[2]  [My cursives].

“Allegations”, “claim”? Those were facts, about which I went through at length, providing to the journalist linked documentation during the interview. I stand for that formulation. And the information of the unknown deaths was not a “claim” based on own conclusions. That those deaths were known after the rolling out of the Pfizer vaccine started in the UK, was published in The New Daily (details below in 1.3) using as source the US FDA statement. During the interview with SvD I gave to Mattias Magnusson the link to the article “FDA publishes first peer-reviewed report on Pfizer trial as Britain rolls out COVID vaccine”, where is clearly stated:

“Six people died in Pfizer’s late-stage trial of the COVID-19 vaccine, the US Food and Drug Administration has revealed just hours after Britain became the first country in the world to roll out the vaccine.” [my cursives]

–”Why secret ?”, asked Magnusson

–”If we look at the dictionary, to reveal means to uncover or to disclose”, I said in my reply. And added:

–”If we look into common sense,  what is uncovered? It is what has been covered. And what a secret is for you, Mattias Magnusson?”

Well, now we know.

(For further information see FDA’s “Vaccines and Related Biological Products – Advisory Committee Meeting, December 10, 2020FDA. Briefing Document Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine”, here.

The Pfizer started rolling out its vaccine in Great Britain December 8.

As to Pfizer, their statement of 18 November 2020 “Pfizer and BioNTech Conclude Phase 3 Study of COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate, Meeting All Primary Efficacy Endpoints” of November 18, 2020 (here), and the press release to which Pfizer redirects (here), in nowhere mentioned the occurrence of any death at all).

The tweets:

This was posted by SvD:

”Pfizer höll sex dödsfall kopplade till sitt vaccin mot covid-19 hemliga […] Samma vaccin som Tegnell planerar att använda i januari. Ändå vägrar de att överväga säkrare Sputnik V”.

While the actual text of my tweet reads:

Pfizer kept secret 6 deaths linked to its Covid19 vaccine. 2 UK nurses had life-threatening allergy reactions. Added reported paraesthesia, etc. Same vacc Tegnell Sweden expects using by Jan 2021, Yet they refuse consider the safer SputnikV. Full video: [link]”

There were two consecutively tweets which I published on the same subject, 19 December 2020. During the interview SvD (see transcription), both tweets were examined in detail, at the insistence of Mr. Magnusson.

The tweet in question has a text part, and one video clip attached. In the text part of the tweet (see screenshot of the tweets below) I have never said or even suggested what was the cause of those six people’s deaths. Hence, SvD cannot accuse “it turns out that many things are not true”, basing that claim in that “in true” the six people died under placebo or otherwise, while I NEVER mentioned anything different to that in the text of my tweets. In fact, in the tweet’s text I did not touch the cause-issue at all.

Moreover, in the other tweet, contiguous to the above and of the same date, I specifically added that those six deaths occurred during the late-stage trial, which excludes any possibility that I was suggesting Pfizer of making occult deaths occurred a cause of the vaccine during the rolling out. That part of my text was not reported by Magnusson in the SvD article.

And on top of the above, the information that four of the deaths in the Pfizer trials had placebo, is clearly given in the TV interview clip showed in the attached video I posted in my tweet. In the screenshot below, the text “FDA: SIX DIED OF PFIZER COVID VACCINE TRIALS – FOUR HAD PLACEBO”, is clearly shown under my name and academic description. This was also completely omitted by the SvD journalist.

In spite all the above, the SvD article suggest to the reader that I am concealing the real cause of the six deaths during the Pfizer’s trials, and the journalist appears as “correcting” me, or “revealing” the real cause that I would have omitted. Scandalous!

Noteworthy, when the journalist refers explicitly in the article “Marcello Ferrada de Noli tweeted about six secret death cases”, he omits the explanations/replies I gave to him after his repetitive questions on that particular item during the interview. On why I wrote –and I stand for what I wrote– that those deaths were kept secret during the trials and only revealed (by the FDA report) after the Pfizer vaccine started its rolling out in the UK. In the context of the whole article, its main thesis, title, etc. he made appear that it was a “disinformation” from my part.

2.2 When referring to the sources I used in my tweets of Dec 9, 2020, the journalist deliberately confound in the SvD article what I use as first source and referring source, concealing that I have given FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) as the original source of the  information I reproduced on the tweets –an item that I had extensively clarified to him during the interview. This is a remarkable feature the SvD article has, considering that the newspaper has now changed the article’s  title to “Who is able to be source-critical one year into the pandemic?[1]

About the source referred in my tweets of December 9, I clearly mentioned the U.S. FDA, which is the known abbreviation of U.S. Federal Drug Agency  (See the tweets posted below). Yet, the SvD journalist, and in spite that had made that issue very clear in my replies, insisted in to mention solely as my source, “a news note in a web paper”.

The SvD journalist conceals what is clearly stated in the source whose link I provided him with. Starting with the title of a cited article in my tweet: “FDA publishes first peer-reviewed report on Pfizer trial as Britain rolls out COVID vaccine”, which indicates that the source of the information is FDA, and a link to that is also given in the Australian publication, The New Daily.

He could very well give the name of that publication (as appeared in my tweet), so the SvD readers would see that it is about an established and news media publication of Australia. As a matter of fact, its notability, the same as about SvD, is shown in an article in Wikipedia. The journalist could not have missed that when investigation the “source”. That article (English) has a similar length than that one in Wikipedia on Svd.

So, for the sake of clarification, I post here the two tweets of December 9, 2021:

The text “FDA: SIX DIED OF PFIZER COVID VACCINE TRIALS – FOUR HAD PLACEBO”, is clearly shown under my name. See the video with the full interview here.


3. What I really said in the interview about “tool of Russian propaganda”, and about “Swedish media”.

The SvD article says: “He denies that he allows himself to be used for Russian propaganda purposes and claims that the Swedish media works against him.” [3]

In the first place, those words about the Swedish media I never said.

Secondly, the main in my reply about his item “been used by Russian propaganda purpose”, was precisely to prove that the question, which sounded more as a claim –precisely as it is suggested in the article, which is libellous– was out of place, because Russian media is not the only where I have expressd my opinion.

This is instead what I had replied to Magnusson about the “used for Russian propaganda purpose” (in written form, so he cannot attribute the erasing  of the most relevant part in my answer to misunderstanding):

“My articles or interviews on this pandemic issues have been published also in Italian mainstream media, Latin-American, and in USA-based publications, while so far have been refused publication in the Swedish media. Expressen, as well as the political editor of Aftonbladet Anders Lindberg, have mentioned only that my opinion has been published in Russian media, but not a word of what that opinion consist of. Ironically, for them, is that in my articles and tweets I use Western media as sources, not Russian.

In the context of this pandemic, the main concern for all honest journalists like you, should be the content of  what I have been published, based on which scientific arguments or rationale, etc.; hence, not where my opinions have finally been printed or aired.

Apparently, not all Swedish journalists are aware that the right of a Swedish citizen to express his/her opinion “through any media and regardless of frontiers” is safeguarded by Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

The second paragraph was the only one of my reply cited by the journalist. But, precisely in the context and main thesis of the SvD article, most relevant would have been to explain the public that my participation with my opinion in the international media is cosmopolite, done in a variety of countries (including US-based publications), and therefore the “allowing myself to be used for Russian propaganda purposes” is a ridiculous contention –for the same could be said of Italy, Chile, etc. where I have also been interviewed by their state media. (During the 90’s and followed decade I was many times interviewed in Sweden’s state media, both SvT and SR, and in Italian state Tv (RAI), and Chilean state Tv Canal Nacional, in all cases on matters of their interest. No one has ever suggested or asked whether I was “allowing myself to be used for propaganda purposes” of those states).

And I never have said, as the SvD journalist invented it and put it as if were my own words, that “the Swedish media works against me.” I have published in the past dozens of debate articles in the main Swedish papers, DN and SvD included, etc. What I have instead said, was that the reason why I had to publish elsewhere, is because my current opinion and analyses have been systematically refused publication by the Swedish mainstream media. I also replied, as I mentioned above,  that Swedish journalist should be more aware of article 19 of the NU Declaration on Human Rights, which protects the right a person has to express his/her opinion “in any media and regardless of frontiers”. These utmost important issues in my reply to his question were left out in the Svd publication, and replaced for something I did not say!

[1]Vem orkar vara källkritisk ett år in i pandemin?

[2] “När SvD granskar hans påståenden om sex hemliga dödsfall i Pfizers vaccinförsök visar det sig att det är mycket som inte stämmer. Fyra av de döda hade fått placebo. De två övriga dog av andra orsaker än vaccinet, enligt amerikanska läkemedelsverket FDA. Totalt sex fall av 43 661 personer. Marcello de Ferrada de Noli anger en nyhetsnotis i en webbtidning i Australien som källa för sitt påstående.”

[3] “Han nekar till att han låter sig utnyttjas i ryska propaganda­syften och säger sig vara motarbetad av svenska medier.”


Interview by Svenska Dagbladet (Mattias Magnusson), 17-19 March 2021. Full answers.


SvD –Do Western authorities work against the Sputnik vaccine? If yes, how?

– Reply

In matters of international public health, Western authorities would not directly intervene in marketing the vaccines produced by companies of their own countries. But for that aim they have their loyal mainstream media. Hence, the campaign to discredit the competitor Sputnik vaccine. And that has been done primarily ad-hominem, not fact based.

In Sweden have the authorities omitted Sputnik V from the list of jabs previously under negotiation, before they let the EU to handle it. In Swedish media, medical reporters, e.g. Amina Manzoor in DN, have said to the public that “they [the Russians] have no vaccine. It is only propaganda” without giving arguments ref. the vaccine itself.

In a program about the Sputnik V in TV4 the interviewed journalist [Ana-Leena Lauren] cast doubts on the jab while she mentions President Putin and “Soviet Union” more times than the actual Russian vaccine.

However, EU countries’ stance about the sputnik V is changing along with a) the problems in the deliverance by e.g. AstraZeneca or Pfizer, b) reports on side effects which on the other hand have not been reported in the western countries (e.g. Argentina) in which Sputnik V has been used massively, c) scientific reports  on the efficacy of the Russian vaccine (91.6 %), as e.g. published in The Lancet.

It is to regret that matters of profit, rivalry or geopolitical interests have moved the vaccine carrousel. In this sense I totally agree with what Carl Bild said now in the TV program Aktuellt (17 March 2021) in the context of the international vaccine discussion and the current pandemic:

“It’s a part of the geopolitical fighting, and it is highly regrettable and should be condemned. We should leave aside the political fight. It is humanity against a virus. We can be in disagreement with the Russians, the Chinese and others, but in this case we should unite, and in this case there are international instruments for together bring about, control and distribute (the vaccines)…No one is safe until All shall be safe.”

“As long as we have not vaccinated over the all world…we need millions of doses. So, that geopolitics (with) Russians and Chinese should be left aside at this stage. Then one may hope that their vaccines are good! But yet they have not bring full documentation to the authorities that has to approve it. “

[“Det är en del av den geopolitiska kampen, och det är starkt beklagligt och man skall fördöma det. Vi ska lämna politiken åt sidan. Det är mänskligheten mot ett virus. Och vi kan vara osams med ryssarna, kineserna on andra, men I det hör fallet vi skulle kunna ena oss, och det finns inrenationella mekanismen för att gemensamt skall kontrollera, och ta fram, och distribuera…Ingen är säkra innan alla är säkra”]

SvD –And follow up question to that: Isn’t Sputnik being treated as other vaccines – EMA started a rolling review a couple of weeks ago which indicates that it can be approved shortly?

In the past, it has certainly been a discriminatory stance by EMA against the Sputnik V. A reply I received from EMA in December 2020 stated that no Russian vaccine was under evaluation, and that instead four (Western) produced jabs were under assessment. However, this started to change after the chaos initiated by the problems in the deliverance of the previous contracted jabs by the EU. The request to EMA for the evaluation of Sputnik V came from a German institution, and countries such as Italy have asked the EU to speed the EMA evaluation of the Russian vaccine. Some Italian political authorities are asking for a direct import of Sputnik V.

SvD –We notice that you have been highly critical to western vaccines, but not Sputnik. Why is that?

Twitter is not the main mean I use to put forward my opinions in writing. In the main I publish articles of epidemiological content. [See The Indicter magazine], and my main concern has not been to criticize vaccine, but to stress the necessity of vaccination programs at the same that I have strongly condemned the Swedish herd immunity strategy. In the vaccine discussion I focus on these issues: efficacy, safety, and availability.

“Highly critical” to western vaccines is not only an exaggerated description. While describing the shortcomings in the clinical trials of Astra Zeneca, or the side effects of the Pfizer among people with history of anaphylaxis, I have solely reproduced reports and analysis published by Western mainstream media, mainly from the US and UK. As to my opinions on the Sputnik V, they are based in the scientific reports on a variety of international medical journals, and whose links I have reported in my articles.

SvD –You are often in Russian media, is there not a risk that you are being used as a tool in Russian propaganda?

My articles or interviews on this pandemic issues have been published also in Italian mainstream media, Latin-American, and in USA-based publications, while so far have been refused publication in the Swedish media. Expressen, as well as the political editor of Aftonbladet Anders Lindberg, have mentioned only that my opinion has been published in Russian media, but not a word of what that opinion consist of. Ironically, for them, is that in my articles and tweets I use Western media as sources, not Russian.

In the context of this pandemic, the main concern for all honest journalists like you, should be the content of  what I have been published, based on which scientific arguments or rationale, etc.; hence, not where my opinions have finally been printed or aired.

Apparently, not all Swedish journalists are aware that the right of a Swedish citizen to express his/her opinion “through any media and regardless of frontiers” is safeguarded by Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

SvD –As an epidemiologist, don’t you see risk for public acceptance of vaccines when you spread information about deaths like below? As you and me both know, death & disease is an occurrence in large groups of people, for example four people died after taking the Sputnik vaccine (Lancet)

I find the concern in your question most relevant, and I have pondered that issue myself. On the one hand I absolutely support the scientific stance that only the vaccine of the vast majority of the population may end the spread of this pandemic. I have stated that over and over again in the interviews. On the other, I am aware that an inaccurate  criticism on the possible life-threatening effects of certain vaccines, no matter its origin, may contribute to a decreasing confidence on vaccination programs; not only by the public, but also by political authorities. But the fact is that a) we have other vaccines reported as safer and/or also approved by the EMA, that could be acquired by any country, and b) as I  already answered to a similar concern in a recent interview, the best way of tackle this issue is transparency and accuracy in the information give to the public, particularly on the benefit at large that vaccine programs do have.

Regarding the four deaths during the Sputnik V trials, what The Lancet article instead reports, is that none of the four deaths occurred during the clinical trials were related to the vaccine.

As to the information about deaths I have posted on Twitter, I stand for every word of what I have published. You are welcome to quote me, particularly about one issue of my concern which I have treated on Twitter, namely the striking difference (in epidemiology, significant) in the death toll between Sweden and Norway or Finland, and in general regarding the Nordic countries.


Follow-up questions

SvD  (Mattias Magnusson) –Thanks again. I have two follow up-questions:

Regarding deaths in trials. You say that you stand by every word that you have published. On December 9 you write on Twitter that “Pfizer kept secret 6 deaths linked to its #Covid19 vaccine”. But I notice that out of those six deaths four were in the placebo group and the other two deaths were deemed unrelated. It is also a story very similar to what you wrote me now about the deaths in the Sputnik trials.

What do you mean by secret?

Why do you bring up deaths in the Pfizer trial, given that its normal as seen in the Sputnik trial?

– Reply. On your follow-up questions, the facts are:

1) Sputnik vaccine is NOT used in Sweden or as in any other main European or Western nation. Yet, you ask me to be more concerned about possible effects of the Sputnik vaccine than those of Pfizer or the one manufactured by the Swedish/British company AstraZeneca –jabs that have been widely used in Swedish and European populations. Why? What is YOUR interest in emphasize the possible side effects of the Russian made vaccine which has nothing to do with the Swedish (in my opinion, disastrous –you may quote me) strategy to combat Covid-19?

2) You stated in your question that the Sputnik V has occasioned four deaths. You based that on Lancet, but you failed to give a most determinant information –which is clearly given in Lancet’s article– that those fatalities, which occurred during the clinical trial, were NOT related to the vaccine.

3) The information regarding the above-mentioned four deaths during the Sputnik trial was given by the Russian scientists themselves. It was published in Lancet. They did not kept that as a secret. They asked Lancet, which is the most known medical journal, to publish that specific information.

4) When I wrote on Dec 9 2020 that “Pfizer kept secret the information of six deaths occurring during late-stage trial of the COVID-19 vaccine”, it is because Pfizer kept secret the information of six deaths occurring during late-stage trial of the COVID-19 vaccine. The information on the Pfizer late-stage trial was revealed by the US Food and Drug Administration, only after Pfizer started to roll out the vaccine in the UK. I even posted on Twitter Dec 9, 2020, the link to the Australian media [See New Daily, of same date] containing that information.

5) You suggest that the Pfizer deaths under the clinical trials is similar to that of the Sputnik trial. I do not agree, and for two reasons. In the case of Sputnik, no death was reported as been cause-related to the vaccine. In the case of Pfizer, as it was later confirmed, two of the death subjects have received the vaccine, with no mention to eventual forensic pathological information that could rule out the correlation of the Vaccine and the deaths.

Moreover, and with due respect to your viewpoints, this discussion may result somehow byzantine, as during the rolling out, there are a number of deaths which have been recorded as caused by the Pfizer vaccine. For instance, the Washington Post (13 Feb 2021) reports that in Norway “33 people age 75 and older had died a short time after receiving the Covid vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE”. On the other hand –to the best of my knowledge– no reports of deaths have been in connection to the Sputnik vaccine in Argentina, which is the country I am following up for reasons of its vicinity with Chile –a country that has announced it would also start the rolling out of the Sputnik vaccine.

6) Regarding your question what do I mean with “secret” in the context of these issues, which in the bottom have to do with strategies to win over the fatidic Covid-19 spread, I would say that “secret” is any manoeuvre from the part of political or public-health authorities, deceived to conceal to the public and the community of scientists, for instance the true aims and strategy that they have been implemented. Emails that are destroyed, agendas labelled as secret towards journalists, etc. Like the case of incidents at the  Sweden Public Health Agency. Incidentally, I have on Twitter publicly challenged Anders Tegnell and FHM Director Johan Carlson, to hold a public debate, based on epidemiology science, on the strategy they are using in Sweden, and that it has costed in my opinion, by far unnecessary deaths particularly among the Swedish elderly.

In the context, I have also drawn attention in an article to the fact that Sweden do not publish statistics over Covid19 “recovered cases”. This makes impossible a true estimation of the fatality rate according to the updated WHO guidelines, and its international comparison. Just recently I discovered Sweden (and Netherlands) being the only two out of 221 countries which do not reveal that data.


New follow-up question from Svd (Mattias Magnusson), 18 March 2021:

SvD –Thank you.

I have read your answers, but I have also been checking the timeline of your claim December 9:.

#Pfizer kept secret 6 deaths linked to its #Covid19 vaccine […] Yet they refuse consider the safer #SputnikV

It is a strong claim, but I still can’t see your basis for it. What is the secret, that the deaths (all deemed unrelated) was not mentioned in the press release 18 November but mentioned in the FDA review? At the time only an interim analysis of Sputnik phase III had been released, and I don’t see any mention of deaths (all deemed unrelated) in that either.

The full peer review articles are released 31 December (Pfizer) and 2 February (Sputnik).So I have to ask, how could you come to that conclusion December 9?

– Reply:

1) Regarding “Yet they refuse consider the safer #SputnikV”.

That the Sputnik V is considered safer, is something that has been also empirically demonstrated in its rolling out, for instance in Argentina. Where no deaths have been reported whatsoever. I have already explained that to you. I have also mentioned to you the report of the Washington Post regarding the 30 or so cases in Norway, of persons that died a short time after receiving of the Pfizer vaccine. And talking about Norway, I read this afternoon in SvD that scientists in Norway have found that a correlation exists in the death of a person and the AstraZeneca vaccine which that person had received –that the AstraZeneca vaccine was the cause of the death.

That Sputnik V had not been under evaluation, and no plans did exist at that time, is an information I got directly from EMA in December, prior I posted that tweet. I believe I have already told you that too.

2) Regardless how strong the claim may appear to you, or to the public that so far have not notice it, the fact is that nowhere in the Pfizer statements of 18 November 2020 is mentioned the deaths which occurred during the trial. This is the Pfizer statement of 18 November 2020 “Pfizer and BioNTech Conclude Phase 3 Study of COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate, Meeting All Primary Efficacy Endpoints” of 18 November 2020 (please read it here), and this is the press release to which Pfizer redirects (here).

3) Referring to one of my tweets of December 9, 2020 (where I posted “#Pfizer kept secret 6 deaths linked to its #Covid19 vaccine”, you ask me now, “how could you come to that conclusion December 9?”

The answer is in the publication I am using as source on the same December 9, 2020, made clearly visible in this tweet:

#US FDA just reported that 6 persons died in #PfizerCovidVaccine late-stage trial ( Added deceased in #AstraZeneca trials. But #EU Medicines Agency refuse evaluate #Russia ‘s #SputnikV: Political bias, I said to @Corriere Della Sera

4) The link to referred publication ( is detailed in that tweet, and it is the same  link I have already provided to you in my yesterday’s reply (in fact, I am again answering here to the same follow-up question that you already sent yesterday 17 March).

So, what The New Daily ( wrote on December 9, 2020?

“Six people died in Pfizer’s late-stage trial of the COVID-19 vaccine, the US Food and Drug Administration has revealed just hours after Britain became the first country in the world to roll out the vaccine.”  [I marked the bold and diagonals on the original text]

If we look at the dictionary, “to reveal” means “to uncover” or “to disclose”.

If we look into common sense,  what is uncovered? It is what has been covered.

And what a “secret” is for you, Mattias Magnusson?


Addenda to the above reply, sent to SvD (Mattias Magnusson) 19 March.

You wrote:

“So I have to ask, how could you come to that conclusion December 9?”

– Reply

Well, regarding the Pfizer issue, I have already answered.

But if you also meant my wording in the tweet of December 9, about the “safer #SputnikV vaccine”, this is my reply:

When I arrived to the commune of San Giovanni Bianco, in Bergamo (one of the epicentres in Lombardi of the disastrous first wave of the pandemic), I became aware that in only one moth, March, have perished in the town the same number of people who died during the all year 2019. The survivors elderly were N=720 (the local pop. over 70 years old). Ensuing, I decided to donate vaccines to this cohort of survivors, with help of my own private means. For which I rapidly studied which vaccines were available, and that also had passed the tests of being effective, and safe. That is the way I came to study the protocols available, and I found the publication in Lancet of September 26, 2020 referred to the Sputnik V vaccine. The conclusions stated in the pre-reviewed scientific publication stated: “Our findings indicate that a heterologous rAd26 and rAd5 vector-based COVID-19 vaccine is safe and immunogenic in healthy adults”

I then took contact with the local authorities about my initiative, which they say would gladly approve in case the both the EMA and the Health Authority of Bergamo (ATS) would OK the distribution of the jab. It was then when I contacted –mentioned to you previously– and on the 5th of December they notified me per email that the Russian vaccine was not subject of evaluation.

Ensuing, the Italian authorities prevented me to carry on with the private import of those 720 doses of Sputnik V, on the argument it was not approved by the EMA. I even wrote an insisting appeal to the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, pointing out that, in fact, there is an earlier decision by the EU (Directive 2001/83/EC of The European Council and of the Parliament of 6bNovember 2001) that would allow the direct import of medicines aimed to crisis situations, without the approval of EMA. This also proved being ineffective to my initiative.

Today, 19 March 2021, over three months of my initiative which could have resulted in the vaccination of the all elderly population of that epidemic-battered town, only less than the half of those survived elderly have been able to receive the vaccine, due to the problems of availability and distribution caused by the manufacturers.

Professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli
Doctor of Medicine in psychiatry, professor emeritus of epidemiology