A scientific journal is rejecting a request to retract a study that found people who received a COVID-19 booster were more likely to become infected when compared to unvaccinated people.
Analyzing numbers from California's prison system, a research group found that those who received one of the bivalent boosters had a higher infection rate than people who have never received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Their study was published by the journal Cureus following peer review.
Each study has an author who fields questions and comments. They are known as the corresponding author.
Cureus confirmed that the study's corresponding author has asked the journal to retract the article.
"I can confirm that we were contacted by the corresponding author with a request to retract. However, we have determined that there is no basis for retraction and therefore it will remain published," Graham Parker-Finger, director of publishing and customer success for Cureus, told The Epoch Times via email.
The study was listed as beginning to undergo peer review on Aug. 16. Peer review finished on Aug. 23. The paper was published on Sept. 4. The peer review has not been made public.
High School Student
Luke Ko, listed as the study's corresponding author, said that he's 17 years old and still in high school.
Mr. Ko told The Epoch Times in an email that while others are listed as co-authors, he was actually the sole author of the paper.
"I initiated this study independently, with dual aims: first, to showcase my analytical skills for college admissions, and second, to emphasize the importance of continuously administering updated vaccines to prisoners," Mr. Ko said.
Those listed as co-authors "had only given verbal commitments to serve as mentors," he added. "They were not given the chance to validate the data I entered, particularly the incorrect figures related to COVID-19 cases in prisons. Furthermore, they did not have the opportunity to review the final draft of the paper, which was submitted to Curesus.com [sic] without their approval."
Mr. Ko claimed to have used ChatGPT for analyzing the data used in the study and said he made "significant errors." He did not specify what the alleged errors were.
"All mentors mistakenly listed as co-authors share my desire to have the paper retracted," Mr. Ko said.
Mr. Ko has not responded to follow-up messages.
The California Correctional Healthcare Services, for whom several of the listed co-authors work, said that an investigation into the paper is happening.
"We are currently looking into the details of this publication and cannot provide additional comments at this time," a spokesperson for the agency told The Epoch Times via email.
The agency declined to provide contact information for the authors it employs, Drs. Gary Malet, Huu Nguyen, and Robert Mayes.
A number listed for Dr. Malet was disconnected while a person who answered a number listed for Dr. Nguyen said it was the wrong number.
No contact information could be located for Dr. Mayes or Lisa Chang of Governors State University, the fifth listed co-author.
The study's focus was the rate of COVID-19 infections from January to July among inmates. It divided inmates into three camps: those who received a bivalent shot, those who were vaccinated but had not received a bivalent, and the unvaccinated.
During the time period, there were 2,835 COVID-19 cases. Of those, 1,187 were among inmates who had received a bivalent, and 568 were among the unvaccinated.
Researchers also drew from vaccination records and found 36,609 inmates had received a bivalent, while 20,889 had received no shots.
The bivalent vaccines were introduced in the fall of 2022.
The researchers calculated infection rates for the bivalent vaccinated and the unvaccinated but excluded the third group, inmates who received a vaccine but not a bivalent, for unclear reasons.
The calculations resulted in the finding that the infection rate among the bivalent vaccinated was 3.2 percent, above the 2.7 percent in the never-vaccinated group.
The gap between the groups was the highest among those aged 65 and above, though it was described as not statistically significant.
The study stated that "the bivalent-vaccinated group had a slightly but statistically significantly higher infection rate than the unvaccinated group in the statewide category and the age ≥50 years category."
The conclusions claimed that the study "supports the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination at a population level, especially in vulnerable, high-density congregate settings."
Dr. Ray Andrews, a retired doctor, disagreed.
"The results showed the vaccines are not effective," he told The Epoch Times.
Other papers and observational data have also suggested the effectiveness of the vaccines, which have never had clinical trial efficacy data and were replaced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this month, plummets over time.
Cleveland Clinic researchers, for example, found in June that employees at the clinic who were "up to date" with their vaccines, or had received a bivalent dose, had a higher risk of becoming infected when compared to others.