You may have seen or heard headlines like this late last week.
The CDC was out with a study on Thursday that seemed to claim that we were seeing a "troubling" increase in hospitalizations of teenagers for Covid.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky called the data "troubling" during a press conference on Thursday.
"In the month leading up to the recommendations of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for teens and adolescents 12 and older, CDC observed troubling data regarding the hospitalizations of adolescents with COVID-19," she said. "More concerning were the number of adolescents admitted to the hospital who required treatment in the intensive care unit with mechanical ventilation."
Walensky said the report's findings "force us to redouble our motivation to get our adolescents and young adults vaccinated."
Let's take a step back and look at this "troubling" increase in context.
This is the most recent CDC data on hospitalizations from Covid.
The top line shows total overall hospitalizations per 100,000 population.
The bottom line shows the rate for those in the 12-17 age group.
There was an increase in hospitalizations in teens in the March/April period but this also occurred in the overall population.
Vaccinations for those ages 12+ (Pfizer vax only) were not authorized until May 12. By that time the hospital rate for teens was already heading down.
What is even more interesting in looking at the underlying data accompanying the CDC study are the details surrounding the hospitalizations. Bear in mind the CDC only looked at detailed data in selected counties in 14 states between January 1-March 31, 2021 for its study.
There were 376 hospitalizations of children age 12-17 in the study.
However, only 204 were admitted to the hospital with Covid symptoms. The remaining 172 (46%) were admitted to the hospital for something else and must have tested positive for Covid in the hospital.
Of the 172 who were admitted to the hospital for other reasons, 76 were psychiatric admissions for medical care.
That is an astounding number which says a lot about the effects the lockdowns and school closures have had on teenagers. It is over 3 times the number of hospitalizations for trauma in this age group.
In addition, 71% of the teenagers admitted with Covid symptoms had more than one underlying medical condition. 36% were obese. 31% had some form of chronic lung disease.
This seems to suggest that those that were admitted to the hospital with Covid had other significant underlying health conditions. Healthy teenagers are not being hospitalized with Covid.
It is true that the Covid symptom cases resulted in more ICU admissions.
However, more of those admitted for non-Covid symptoms ended up on mechanical ventilation than did those with Covid symptoms.
Interestingly, those admitted with Covid symptoms had shorter average hospital stays (2.4 days) than those who had no symptoms at admission (3.2 days).
It is important to also note that there was not one death reported that was associated with these hospitalizations.
Looking at all of this data in context, does this look "deeply concerning" or "troubling"?
Would it be fair to say that the CDC statements with regard to the underlying data is misleading?
Why was it done?
It was clearly done to scare parents (and the teenagers themselves) in an attempt to increase vaccinations in this age group with a vaccine that is only available to them under the an emergency use authorization.
It is also interesting that at the same time that the CDC in the United States was stating that hospitalizations of adolescents with Covid was "deeply concerning" and "troubling" the European CDC came out with a similar report in which it said this.
Hospitalisation remains a very rare outcome for adolescents,with no indication of increases in either hospitalisation rates or the proportion hospitalised among this group
One of the most important ethical considerations in medicine is that patients should always be given the ability to have informed consent when considering any medical intervention.
This is what the American Medical Association has to say about informed consent.
Every medical intervention has benefits...and risks.
There is little doubt that the CDC and our government has worked very hard to inform people of the risks involving Covid-19 and the benefits of the vaccines.
However, they have done little to put the risks of Covid in context, especially for the young.
They have also worked hard to diminish any risks associated with the vaccines.
Is the information being provided on the subject of Covid and the vaccines such that it can be stated that "well-considered decisions about care" are being made?
For example, take a look at the myocarditis/pericarditis cases reported to the VAERS website (vaccine adverse events) by age from the Covid vaccine.
Looking at how skewed these cases are to the young does it raise any question in your mind about increased risks to teenagers and younger children from the vaccine?
Bear in mind that 12-15 year olds were only first authorized to have the vaccine as of May 12. These numbers in VAERS as of May 28 are almost exclusively those in the age 16-18 age group.
Let's look at the benefit/risk equation.
I calculate that approximately 4 million in the 16-18 age group have had at least one dose of the vaccine.
139 adverse events specifically have been reported for myo/pericarditis thus far in VAERS for those between 6-18 years of age. Almost all of these are in the 16-18 age group.
That is a rate of about 3.5 per 100,000.
What is the highest rate of hospitalizations we have had this year per 100,000 from Covid among 5-17 years olds?
1.3 per 100,000 (the week of January 9, 2021).
Perhaps the hospital rate would be higher if we had the numbers just for 16-18 year olds. However, this data should clearly show that there is a substantial question about the advisability of aggressively promoting the use of an emergency use vaccine on teenagers and children.
Does the risk of the vaccine justify the benefit?
What justification is there for the Director of the CDC to use misleading data to promote vaccinating teenagers?
What justification is there for Governors and others to be offering million dollar prizes, free college, ice cream and other incentives for those who agree to be vaccinated?
When was it ever necessary to do anything like this to convince people to take the small pox vaccine, polio vaccine or other vaccines? These vaccines were also APPROVED. They were not authorized only for emergency use.
Shouldn't the benefits be self-evident?
Why do they have to mislead?
If they are willing to mislead about this, what more have we been misled about?