A top epidemiologist voiced his concerns about a new study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that alleges there is an increased risk for post-COVID-19 conditions for children and teenagers who are seeking medical care.
In the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) on Aug. 5, researchers say that children aged 17 and younger with previous bouts of COVID-19 had higher rates of uncommon conditions such as myocarditis, cardiomyopathy, renal failure, type 1 diabetes, and other conditions. The study cited specific disease codes between March 2020 and January 2022.
In conclusion, the agency said that all children, even 6-month-olds, should get COVID-19 vaccines.
“COVID-19 prevention strategies, including vaccination for all eligible persons aged ≥6 months, are critical to preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection and subsequent illness, and reducing the public health impact of post-COVID symptoms and conditions among persons aged 0–17 years,” the CDC wrote.
But University of California San Francisco epidemiologist Vinay Prasad, who has often criticized the CDC and other federal health agencies for their studies during the COVID-19 epidemic, argued CDC researchers are pushing “garbage” and “publishing poor quality science in MMWR.”
“It doesn’t help the vaccine decision,” he concluded on his Substack page last week. “The paper provides no evidence vaccination would have averted these outcomes, but worse: where is the evidence vaccination lowers the risk of these outcomes for a parent making that choice TOMORROW, where there is a 90+ percent chance their kid already had COVID?”
“But more importantly, the paper is not persuasive. It is trash,” Prasad said. “I still don’t know if a kid who had asymptomatic COVID, mild COVID, or severe COVID has risks greater than not having had COVID, or having had a milder version of COVID. I am interested in this for biological and scientific reasons, but not so much policy reasons, as I note.
“If the authors cared about this question, they would need to reimagine the entire study. I think they would want to use seroprevalence to build a cohort and carefully stratify people by severity of illness and work from there. It would take actually work, not just playing with a claims data-set.”
The CDC’s study, he added, doesn’t separate children who were “sick enough to see a health care provider for COVID” from children who went to see a provider for reasons other than COVID-19 and “had an established doctor in whom that consultation was easy.”
“They don’t look at vaccination status, which leads to … claims that vaccines can prevent whatever they find, or this study shows ‘why kids’ vaccines are needed’ are unjustified,” Prasad wrote. “The authors could have explicitly looked at that, but chose not to.”
Prasad further argued that researchers with the CDC did not look into the child’s vaccination status and “picked a huge and garbage list of ICD codes that might possibl[y] be linked to [COVID].”
“COVID might be bringing in kids who weren’t getting regular care,” the epidemiologist added. “Imagine this: Both groups of kids have other medical problems at equal rates, but the ‘COVID’ group has more kids in whom COVID brings them to the [doctor] for the first time (at least in a while), prompting diagnosis of other problems.”
“Control kids have been coming for many visits, and other problems already coded in system. A positive COVID test doesn’t ‘cause’ the other problems but is the event that prompts work up for someone who hasn’t been seen for [over] 365 days.”
And the unexplained finding that COVID-positive children had a less likely chance to have mental conditions, sleeping disorders, and anxiety suggests the CDC researchers “are comparing apples and oranges the whole time,” Prasad said. “Likely their [expletive] methods are comparing kids sick enough with COVID who go to the doctor to kids suffering from school closure, disruption in normal social life, and all the other awful restrictions placed on kids.”
The Epoch Times has contacted the CDC for comment.