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week of May 5, 2022

Pediatric hepatitis mystery

The claim:

Cases of liver inflammation and damage (hepatitis) across the world have some people pointing to the one thing they think causes everything: vaccines.

The facts:

As of 21 April 2022, at least 169 cases from 12 countries of acute hepatitis in young children have been reported to the WHO. While the cause is unknown, the vast majority of scientists do not suspect that the vaccine is the cause.

Why exclude the vaccine? Children ages 1-16 were affected by this outbreak. The rates of hepatitis cases in children 5-16 were not greater than they have been in the past, but cases in children under 5 exceeded the average. Since the vaccine is not available anywhere for children under 5, it could not be a cause for this outbreak in the youngest children.

Some current hypotheses for these cases include adenovirus, which some experts say is unlikely, and COVID itself, either acute infection or as a result of MIS-C from prior COVID infection.

Death and documents

The claim:

After poring through more FOIA-request responses, anti-vaxxers are claiming that manufacturers covered up 1,200 deaths during COVID vaccine trials.

The facts:

Over 10 million people received the vaccine within the reporting period for this set of data. Included were 42,086 reports of adverse events and, of those, 1,223 deaths. 

During clinical trials, those conducting trials are simply reporting adverse events regardless of cause, and all deaths regardless of cause are mandatory reports. If one person dies from a heart attack and another from a bear attack, both after getting a vaccine, no pattern of vaccines causing death could be established.

Unfortunately, on any given day, people will die of many different causes; cancer, heart attack, bear attack, etc. In the United States alone, there are over 3,350,000 million deaths daily, so you'd expect to have a number of people die during any length of reporting period.

Who needs a Lyme vaccine?

The claim:

News about testing a new Lyme vaccine for humans has some poo-pooing the very idea, claiming treatment is better.

The facts:

Given that there is no current vaccine for humans (but there is for dogs!), all our focus has been on treatment, particularly antibiotics. The burden on those inflicted with the disease is quite high.

According to the CDC, approximately 476,000 people in the United States are diagnosed and/or treated for Lyme disease annually, for a financial burden of between $712 million and $1.3 billion a year. Included in this figure is the treatment for what some call persistent symptoms post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome or "chronic Lyme."  Although the diagnosis of chronic Lyme is controversial, some patients do have lingering symptoms, and there is no known treatment.

So we do have to wonder about focusing on treatment and wonder how well that's working out for us.

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