Simon Thornley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Simon Thornley
Simon James Thornley
Alma materUniversity of Auckland
Scientific career
FieldsEpidemiology, Biostatistics
InstitutionsUniversity of Auckland
Doctoral advisorRoger Marshall
Rod Jackson

Simon James Thornley is a New Zealand medical doctor and academic specialising in epidemiology and biostatistics, and as of 2021 is a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland.[1]


Thornley trained as a medical doctor prior to joining the University of Auckland as a public health academic specialising in epidemiology and biostatistics.[1] He graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Human Biology in 1997, a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery in May 2000, and Master of Public Health with First Class Honours in 2006 and a Doctor of Philosophy in Medicine in 2015.[2]

Thornley is a part of 'FIZZ', a group of New Zealand health researchers aiming to eliminate sugary drinks from New Zealand by 2025.[3] He has researched the links between scabies and other health issues in relation to health inequities.[4][5][6]

Covid Plan B group[edit]

Thornley is a member of the Covid Plan B group,[7] which has repeatedly criticised the New Zealand government's management of the COVID pandemic, and "Thornley [has] become the most notable critic of the Government’s Covid-19 elimination strategy".[8] Early in the pandemic, Thornley was quoted as saying "Hanging out for a vaccine is not an option... a fantasy, in my view."[9] The Covid Plan B group was widely criticised,[10][11] but they responded by saying that their freedom of expression was being shut down[12] and that there was 'censorship of alternate views.'[13]

Siouxsie Wiles, a fellow University of Auckland academic, wrote that "Simon Thornley of the Plan B group, about whom I’ve written before, has given evidence in support of the group trying to halt the roll-out [of the COVID vaccine]" in an article on COVID-related misinformation.[14] Thornley responded through a lawyer claiming the article was a "defamatory publication" and demanding his name be removed and a correction.[15]

A 2021 paper which Thornley co-authored which linked mRNA vaccines, such as the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, to significantly higher rates of miscarriage was publicly criticized by the academic community throughout New Zealand, including the Head and other senior members of the university’s School of Population Health, for ignoring evidence that had already been published in a high-impact peer-reviewed research journal, and for a less-than-rigorous analysis of the data provided by the Center for Disease Control in the USA.[16] The paper, which was published in a small journal edited by an American anti-vaccination advocate, was retracted in November 2021, with Thornley saying that he and his co-author had made a major mathematical error.[17]

Also in November 2021, Thornley participated in a livestream with former Northland Member of Parliament Matt King, where they discussed alternative (and widely debunked) treatments for COVID-19, as well as downplaying the severity of the disease.[18] Judith Collins, leader of the New Zealand National Party, distanced the party from these comments, saying that the party believed in the effectiveness of vaccines.[19]

Thornley received the 2021 Bent Spoon Award from the NZ Skeptics society, for showing "the most egregious gullibility or lack of critical thinking in public coverage of, or commentary on, a science-related issue".[20]

Selected works[edit]

  • Thornley, Simon, Chris Bullen, and Mick Roberts. "Hepatitis B in a high prevalence New Zealand population: a mathematical model applied to infection control policy." Journal of Theoretical Biology 254, no. 3 (2008): 599-603.
  • Thornley, S. J., A. Woodward, John D. Langley, Shanthi N. Ameratunga, and Anthony Rodgers. "Conspicuity and bicycle crashes: preliminary findings of the Taupo Bicycle Study." Injury prevention 14, no. 1 (2008): 11-18.
  • Bullen, Christopher, Hayden McRobbie, Simon Thornley, Marewa Glover, Ruey Lin, and M. Laugesen. "Effect of an electronic nicotine delivery device (e cigarette) on desire to smoke and withdrawal, user preferences and nicotine delivery: randomised cross-over trial." Tobacco control 19, no. 2 (2010): 98-103.
  • Winnard, Doone, Craig Wright, William J. Taylor, Gary Jackson, Leanne Te Karu, Peter J. Gow, Bruce Arroll, Simon Thornley, Barry Gribben, and Nicola Dalbeth. "National prevalence of gout derived from administrative health data in Aotearoa New Zealand." Rheumatology 51, no. 5 (2012): 901-909.
  • Lawes, Carlene MM, Simon Thornley, Robert Young, Raewyn Hopkins, Roger Marshall, Wing Cheuk Chan, and Gary Jackson. "Statin use in COPD patients is associated with a reduction in mortality: a national cohort study." Primary Care Respiratory Journal 21, no. 1 (2012): 35-40.


  1. ^ a b "Dr Simon Thornley - The University of Auckland".
  2. ^ "Graduation search results - The University of Auckland". Retrieved 22 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Welcome to FIZZ | FIZZ".
  4. ^ "Why we need to pay more attention to scabies in New Zealand children - The University of Auckland".
  5. ^ Thornley, Simon; King, Ron; Marshall, Roger; Oakley, Amanda; Sundborn, Gerhard; Harrower, Jay; Reynolds, Edwin; Arbuckle, Mark; Johnson, Richard J. (23 July 2020). "How strong is the relationship between scabies and acute rheumatic fever? An analysis of neighbourhood factors". Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. 56 (4): 600–606. doi:10.1111/jpc.14697. PMID 31774599. S2CID 208318336 – via Wiley Online Library.
  6. ^ "Scabies needs to be taken more seriously, says health researcher". RNZ. 15 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Covid Plan B". Covid Plan B.
  8. ^ "The scientist and the rabbit hole: How epidemiologist Simon Thornley became an outcast of his profession". Stuff. 20 May 2021.
  9. ^ "Coronavirus: COVID-19 vaccine a 'fantasy' - controversial epidemiologist Simon Thornley". Newshub.
  10. ^ "Coronavirus: Scientist hits back after being quoted 'out of context' by anti-lockdown group". Newshub.
  11. ^ "Why NZ shouldn't go the Sweden way". Newsroom. 18 August 2020.
  12. ^ "Covid-19 contrarians claim they're being censored". RNZ. 21 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Coronavirus: Health experts feel censored over alternative lockdown plan". Newshub.
  14. ^ "Siouxsie Wiles: There's a lot of vaccine BS around. Here's why I won't be debunking it". The Spinoff. 15 May 2021.
  15. ^ "Simon Thornley of 'Plan B' sends legal threat to Siouxsie Wiles and The Spinoff". The Spinoff. 22 July 2021.
  16. ^ "Covid-19: A paper on vaccination in pregnancy co-authored by Simon Thornley has been panned by experts around the world". Stuff. 13 November 2021. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  17. ^ Collins, Benedict; Reporter, 1News Political. "Simon Thornley retracts bogus vaccination miscarriage claim". 1 News. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
  18. ^ "National distances itself from ex-MP after video with Thornley". RNZ. 16 November 2021. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  19. ^ "National distances itself from ex-MP after video with Thornley". RNZ. 16 November 2021. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  20. ^ "NZ Skeptics Announce their 2021 awards, and Dr Simon Thornley wins the Bent Spoon". NZ Skeptics. 20 November 2021. Retrieved 22 November 2021.

External links[edit]