Shaw told CBC that his lab doesn't know how the figures were allegedly changed as they no longer have the original data, and their analysis was performed on compiled rather than raw data. He stated that based on viewing the data years ago and reviewing his subsequent analysis, he had believed that everything was fine with the data and that it was a "good question" how the dodgy figures weren't spotted before the paper was published.
But it's a question that might not get answered. To put icing on this terrible cake, the author also claims the original data is now "inaccessable", and is "stuck" in China with an analyst who worked on the paper.
This is the second retraction for the co-authors Christopher Shaw and Lucija Tomljenovic, according to Retraction Watch. Another paper, published in 2014 and listing both authors, was also retracted. The University of British Columbia told The Globe and Mail that they will investigate the allegations of misconduct in the 2017 study.
Dr Shaw said he thinks his conclusions in the study still stand, but because the researchers don't know, they felt it was best to withdraw the paper. As for the future, he told CBC News:
"I'm honestly not sure at this point that I want to dabble in [vaccines] anymore."