White House Stifling Scientific Debate – Part II

In Part I, we discussed how the White House is stifling scientific debate among public health doctors and scientists at the NIH, FDA, and CDC. This situation is causing low morale among the doctors and scientists that work at these public health institutions. Many are choosing to resign, even at the highest levels, but most continue on with a situation that is frustrating, exasperating, and alarming.

How is this environment impacting policy decisions?

That’s what really matters, beyond the career concerns of these public health officials. The American public must have faith in the medical policy decisions of their government officials. When these institutions make recommendations, the American people must believe these decisions are being made in their best interest, not the best interest of a particular political agenda.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about decisions being made by the Biden Administration. Dr. Marty Makary, Johns Hopkins Medical School professor continues his concerns in an article published by The New York Post.

Makary says nowhere has this problem of trust been greater – or the stakes higher – than on official public-health policy regarding children and Covid. He says, “First, they demanded that young children be masked in schools. On this score, the agencies were wrong. Compelling studies later found schools that masked children had no different rates of transmission. And for social and linguistic development, children need to see the faces of others.”

“Next came school closures. The agencies were wrong – and catastrophically so. Poor and minority children suffered learning loss with an 11-point drop in math scores alone and a 20% drop in math pass rates. There are dozens of statistics of this kind. Then they ignored natural immunity. Wrong again. The vast majority of children have already had Covid, but this has made no difference in the blanket mandates for childhood vaccines. And now, by mandating vaccines and boosters for young healthy people, with no strong supporting data, these agencies are only further eroding public trust.”

What is the truth about vaccines for children?

Three weeks ago, the CDC vigorously recommended mRNA Covid vaccines for 20 million children under five years of age. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, declared that the mRNA Covid vaccines should be given to everyone six months or older because they are safe and effective. But is that really true? Here is the real data – you decide.

Pfizer used a three-dose vaccine in 992 children between the ages of six months and 5 years. They found no statistically significant evidence of vaccine efficacy. In the subgroup of children aged six months to two years, the trial found that the vaccine could result in 99% lower chance of infection – but that they also could have 370% increased chance of being infected.

Makary says, “In other words, Pfizer reported a rage of vaccine efficacy so wide that no conclusion could be inferred. No reputable medical journal would accept such sloppy and incomplete results with such a small sample size. More to the point, these results should have given pause to those who are in charge of public health.” He quoted one high-level CDC official who joked: “You can inject them with it or squirt it in their face, and you’ll get the same benefit.”

Moderna’s results were only slightly better. It conducted a study on 6,388 children with two doses. Against asymptomatic infections, it claimed a very weak vaccine efficacy of just 4% in children aged six months to two years. It also claimed an efficacy of 23% in children between two and six years old, but neither result was statistically significant. Against symptomatic infections, Moderna’s vaccine did show efficacy that was statistically significant, but the efficacy was low: 50% in children aged six months to two years, and 42% in children between two and six years old.

If you’re feeling skeptical after reviewing these results, so were many public health officials who feared their jobs if they were candid. One CDC physician said, “It seems criminal that we put out the recommendation to give mRNA Covid vaccines to babies without good data. We really don’t know what the risks are yet. So why push it so hard?” One FDA official had a similar reaction: “The public has no idea how bad this data really is. It would not pass muster for any other authorization.”

Fortunately, it seems the public is not as foolish as the White House believes. So far, only 2% of parents of children under age five have chosen to get the Covid vaccine, and 40% of parents in rural areas say their pediatricians did not recommend the Covid vaccine for their child.

Some scientists are pushing back against this politicization of science. The FDA’s two top vaccine regulators – Dr. Marion Gruber, director of the FDA’s vaccine office, and her deputy director, Dr. Philip Krause – quit the agency last year over political pressure to authorize vaccine boosters in young people. After their departure, they wrote scathing commentaries explaining why the data did not support a broad booster authorization. They argued in The Washington Post that “the push for boosters for everyone could actually prolong the pandemic,” citing concerns that boosting based on an outdated variant could be counterproductive.”

You have to admire those public health officials for standing up for their scientific opinions, even if they had to resign. It’s too bad others, like Dr. Walensky of the CDC, haven’t done the same.

 

 

 

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