Recently, a claim that Pfizer’s own documents demonstrate that the efficacy of its COVID-19 vaccine was only 12% went viral. This is a slasher stat, so-named because like the killers in slasher movie series, even when it appears to be dead it always reappears to kill again. This particular myth originated in The BMJ in 2021.
The claim that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the US is one of those slasher statistics that just won’t die. This time around STAT News gave space to Michael Saks and Stephan Landsman to parrot that claim credulously in the service of selling their book.