My Written Debate With Jonathan Howard MD on COVID Vaccines for Kids
By STEVE KIRSCH
He will only debate things he’s written articles about. OK, let’s start with his article which makes the ridiculous claim that “The vaccine …[is] far safer than the virus for children.”
Note that he just recently agreed to be challenged in writing, but ONLY on his blog posts! So I spent an hour looking at his articles and an hour writing my challenge on his child vaccination is safe article. So him characterizing the “2 hours” I spent to take him up on his challenge as “2 years” is very disingenuous of him. This is likely indicative of the scientific quality of the written debate to follow. We’ll see.
So this is attempt #2 to get a written debate with Jonathan Howard MD since I can only challenge him on material in his articles, not his tweets.
OK. Game on.
Article being challenged
His article says:
Overall, these three studies are entirely consistent with every study published thus far. The vaccine isn’t perfect, but it’s far safer than the virus for children.
I’m going to focus on those two sentences in challenging what he wrote.
The debate starts here
- Every study? Seriously? The Thailand prospective study showed a 3.5% rate of myo/pericarditis in teens. So doesn’t the existence of that study, which is very inconsistent with the rates in the studies you cited, prove that your first sentence is false and misleading? And how can you be so certain your studies are better? The anecdotes I’m aware of are numerous and they all favor the Thailand study as the most accurate estimate of the rate of myocarditis post-vaccination.
- You are basically recommending the vaccines for kids in this article. In order for you to do that responsibly, you must show three things:
- Is it safe?
- Is it effective?
- Is it necessary?
- Necessary: I have a friend John Beaudoin who has the ground truth data in Massachusetts since 2020. Fewer than 1 healthy kid per million died from COVID. If you have more credible record-level data than that with ICD-10 codes, we can use your data. So we’re looking at a tiny problem here. In fact, in 2020 and 2021, not a single healthy kid died from COVID in Massachusetts. There was supposed to be one death but I contacted the parents who told me the child had a congenital heart condition. So we’re looking at saving fewer than 1 life per million. There are about 1.5M kids under 19 in Massachusetts so to go for 2 years without a COVID death in healthy kids suggests a pretty small problem to me. So I really question whether a vaccine is necessary. What do you think the number of kids under 19 who were perfectly healthy in Massachusetts who died from COVID was? We don’t have to guess, we have the data. So if you think we are wrong, what data are you using and how do you know it is more reliable than the Massachusetts data? What is the COVID death rate among healthy kids in your more reliable data?
- Safe: If we’re saving 1 life in 1M population (not all of whom will be infected), we’ll need a vaccine which should kill fewer than 1 child per 10M doses since the intervention needs to be far safer than the disease (and because multiple doses are required). Where is your study of 10M kids showing the vaccine kills fewer than 1 per 10M doses? I missed that in your article. In order to do such a study, you’d need the record level birth, death, vaccination data and then do a time-series cohort analysis on that data. VSD is not going to cut it. No state will provide that data and such a study has never been done in US history as far as I know. Am I wrong? Why, as a physician, aren’t you calling for data transparency of public health data like this so that we can do such studies? Don’t you think it’s a good idea for us to know exactly how safe or unsafe a vaccine is?
- Effective: Finally, we have to show the vaccine is effective, that it really will save one COVID life per million kids per year. Fortunately, we have kids who aren’t vaccinated as a control, but to prove efficacy, you will need the record level data from multiple states to do the cohort time-series analysis comparing the vaccinated vs. unvaccinated groups. As I noted in the previous point, this has never been done in history for any state. To think it has been done for multiple states is delusional. Also, it is non trivial to even gather that data which I’m not sure you appreciate. The UK couldn’t even do it reliably for adults in the UK (see The ONS data on vaccine mortality is not fit for purpose). So if you have state data that is reliable, I’m seriously interested in seeing that (as will all my colleagues). The fact is that if you had it, my colleagues would be all over it. It simply does not exist. Also, your comparison group (the healthy unvaxxed kids) would have to have at least 4 deaths from COVID or you aren’t going to be able to show a statistically significant death benefit which is what is required here.
- There is plenty of data that you are ignoring showing these vaccines are extremely dangerous. For example, how can you explain this (I have dozens of examples like this, I won’t dump them all here; see this presentation for many more examples):
- It was recently demonstrated that COVID vaccines make you more likely to be infected. How did that not factor in your recommendation? Why would we give a child a “vaccine” which increases their likelihood of being infected? That’s pretty dumb, isn’t it?
- It turns out that the Amish died from COVID at a rate that was 90X lower than the US as a whole. Their secret? They ignored all the CDC’s advice including to get vaccinated for COVID. How is that possible? Shouldn’t it be the reverse? I even went to Lancaster County, PA myself to verify the numbers. The Amish should be dying at a rate 10X higher from COVID, but instead they died at a rate close to 100X lower. That’s a shift of 3 orders of magnitude. How do you explain it?
- In short, the burden is on you to show the vaccine is safe and effective and your large scale epidemiological studies are very inadequate to do that. You have to have state data to prove it (since only the states have the underlying data) and no state has ever produced the data needed for the analysis. The CDC doesn’t have it either (I’ve asked). You are irresponsibly risking the lives of our children by making a recommendation that is not backed by data and, in my opinion, you should have your license to practice medicine revoked for your actions.
Looking forward to your reply.
Dr. Howard’s response
My response to his response
Specifically, he wrote back with two references that were off target and mischaracterized what I wrote.
He wrote “you think troponin = myocarditis.” This is preposterous. I never said that. Please watch this video of Dr. Peter McCullough discussing the Thailand study. Dr. Howard then references a debunk of the Thailand study written by someone who didn’t read the study (which clearly said baseline EKGs were taken), yet Howard’s expert wrote “In the absence of baseline EKGs,…” McCullough is the senior scientist here by a long shot and his video is crystal clear on this study: it’s a disaster. Howard is relying on an “expert” (with only 3,000 Twitter followers) who clearly didn’t even read the paper and who supports Howard’s point of view.
Howard didn’t even acknowledge that the Thailand paper proved his first sentence (at the start of the article) was wrong.
Next, Howard claims COVID is killing more than 1 in a million kids and cites his own article which cites numbers with no proof whatsoever that these were healthy kids who died FROM COVID. I said I had the Massachusetts record level data which is better than anything he has because it has the ICD10 codes so we know their comorbidities and cause of death. He basically ignored my data entirely. He’s not serious about this. He should have said what his data source was and why his data source is superior to the full death records that we have.
He didn’t respond to any of my issues about having enough statistical power to make a recommendation on either safety or efficacy.