Skip to content

Correcting this week’s misinformation: week of March 14, 2024

What myocarditis information is being hidden?

The Claim:

A viral tweet claims that CDC is full of corruption, retweeting a claim that the CDC redacted a 148-page “study” as proof. Is something about myocarditis being hidden behind the redactions?

The Facts:

A lot is made of a redacted study as a response to a FOIA request by the Epoch Times, a far-right media company affiliated with the Falun Gong religious movement, but the Epoch Times has not released the FOIA request, so we have to take their word that this is what they say it is.

One can look at this redacted paper and assume that CDC is “hiding” information from the public regarding myocarditis. This assumption ignores many research articles that acknowledge that mRNA COVID vaccines do carry a small risk of myocarditis but that it often resolves on its own relatively quickly. Some of these studies often explain that the risks of myocarditis from COVID far outweigh the risks of myocarditis from the vaccines. This acknowledgment also appears on the CDC website.

Given the transparency of the research to date and the lack of transparency concerning the original FOIA request itself, it is fair to assume nothing is being hidden concerning the risks of myocarditis after mRNA vaccination.

Are COVID vaccines deadly?

The Claim:

video featuring Steve Kirsch, the self-proclaimed inventor of the optical mouse, claims that the COVID vaccine has killed 10 million people worldwide. It also claims that every study comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated children shows that unvaccinated children are healthier.

The Facts:

Steve Kirsch uses illegally acquired data from New Zealand to support his claim that the COVID vaccine has killed 10 million people worldwide. The dataset he used was from the pay-per-dose program and represented 4 out of 12 million doses administered in the country.

The claim is based on the observation that mortality increased after the shot for those over 60. The observation didn’t look at health information, cause of death, or anything other than death after the shot. It estimates 1 death in 1000. What he doesn’t know is if those in his dataset are a random sampling of everyone who received the vaccine or a sampling of a more vulnerable population. Because we do not know much about the dataset, it is impossible to make any accurate estimates of the death rate from the vaccine.

He claims nobody can find anything wrong with his analysis, even citing David Gorski, yet Dr. Gorski had plenty to say on his analysis, also pointing out “When you see a nonexpert analyze a dataset using methods that no expert uses to analyze the same type of dataset, be suspicious.” He also points out that “there are other major deficiencies in the dataset” including the fact that there is no baseline death rate in an unvaccinated group.

As for comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated children, Kirsch outlines his claims in testimony to the Pennsylvania State Senate, where he cites two studies. One has been retracted, and the other was the result of an online survey whose participants are subject to reporting biasrecall bias, and self-selection bias.

Are vaccines placebo tested?

The Claim:

An anti-vaccine lawyer claims that studies of routine vaccines are lacking because a vaccine versus placebo study has never been conducted.

The Facts:

Saline-placebo-controlled trials are conducted for many vaccines to assess both safety and efficacy for a number of vaccines, including RubellaPneumococcal disease, HibHPVPolio (The Salk version), MeaslesTdap, and COVID.

Sometimes a new vaccine is tested against an existing vaccine, or a placebo may contain an adjuvant, buffers, or stabilizers with a known safety record.

The World Health Organization guides the ethical use of placebos in vaccine trials in certain situations. It is acceptable when no effective vaccine is available and the new vaccine is intended to benefit the population being studied.

However, using placebos is considered unacceptable when there is already an effective and safe vaccine accessible in the public health system of the country where the trial is planned. In such cases, it would be unethical to withhold the existing vaccine from participants if not receiving it would pose a significant risk to their health.

Furthermore, the CDC’s definition of placebo is consistent with the accepted scientific understanding of placebos in vaccine trials. Inert placebos, such as saline solution, are commonly used, but in some cases, an active control, such as another vaccine, may be used to protect the health of participants.

It may be difficult to convince an ardently anti-vaccine person of the value of non-saline placebos because they enter the conversation already believing that vaccines writ large are dangerous.

Just the Facts Newsletter:

Correcting this week's disinformation

Sign up to get a weekly look at the latest vaccination facts as we debunk the latest false vaccination claims making the rounds on the internet.

Back To Top