Do mRNA Vaccines Increase Risk Of Illnesses In Children?!

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Did a new study just show that mRNA vaccines increase the risk of severe illnesses in children?!

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!


Claim : mRNA Vaccines Increase Risk Of Illnesses In Children!

Anti-vaccine activists are sharing an article by The Epoch Times, as evidence that the “unprecedented surges” in cardiac arrest cases in Victoria is somehow linked to COVID-19 vaccines!

Here is an excerpt from that article by The Epoch Times. It is long, so please feel free to skip to the next section for the facts.

Children Vaccinated in Messenger RNA COVID-19 Trials at Higher Risk of Certain Illnesses: Study

Study analyzed data from clinical trials.

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No Evidence mRNA Vaccines Increase Risk Of Illnesses In Children!

Let’s take a look at the “shocking” study, and find out what the facts really are!

Fact #1 : Study Is Unreviewed Preprint

First, I should point out that the study in question is called “Overall Health Effects of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines in Children and Adolescents: A Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis” by Hoffmann et. al. which you can read here.

This study was posted on December 7, 2023, in medRxiv as a preprint. That means it has not undergone the initial peer-review process, never mind verification or criticism by other researchers after publication in a reputable journal.

To be clear – this paper has not been peer-reviewed. It has also not been published in any medical journal. It was only posted by the author/funder to the medRxiv preprint server.

Fact #2 : Study Was A Meta-Analysis

I should also point out that the study was a meta-analysis conducted on 6 out of 64 randomised controlled trials the authors evaluated. Meta-analysis can be a useful tool to elicit a more precise estimate of an effect, but any bias in the selection of studies, or its analysis, can lead to a misleading conclusion.

For example, the authors assessed 64 of 1,199 studies, but only selected six studies. Why they selected those 6 studies, and not the remaining 58, was not stated. That does not mean that the six studies selected were not the right ones. We just don’t know why they were selected, but not the others. Would the meta-analysis come to a different conclusion if the other 58 studies were included? Wouldn’t you like to know?

On top of that, the study was unable to distinguish between “overall and infectious severe AEs” because the selected studies lacked details. Interestingly, this meta-analysis showed that the risk of severe AEs was lower for younger children, even while it was higher for older children. Does that mean the COVID-19 vaccines actually protect younger children?

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Fact #3 : Adverse Events Are Not Necessarily Side Effects

The study looked at Adverse Events of Special Interest (AESI) that were “adapted” from the Brighton Collaboration – the list of which was not provided. So we don’t really know if those AESIs are really relevant.

After all – Adverse Events of Special Interest are not side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines, as I pointed out earlier.

Adverse events are “unfavourable” or “unintended” events that happen after vaccination or taking a drug, like having an anaphylactic reaction or getting into a car accident.

All reported adverse events have to be investigated to find out if they are related (anaphylactic reaction) or not (getting into a car accident) to the vaccine or drug that was taken.

Even if an adverse event was “possibly caused” by the vaccine, it must still be confirmed that the vaccine directly caused it, because an anaphylactic reaction (for example) can also occur from a bee sting, or an existing peanut allergy.

Only once an adverse event is confirmed to be caused by the vaccine, is it then a vaccine side effect. Otherwise, it is merely an adverse event, not a side effect.

Fact #4 : COVID-19 Vaccines Do Not Increase Risk Of RSV

The claim that children who receive the COVID-19 vaccines are more susceptible to infectious diseases like the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) have been circulating since 2022. However, there is absolutely no evidence that COVID-19 vaccinations increase the risk of any child getting RSV infections.

There’s no data whatsoever to prove or to show that Covid vaccination makes kids more susceptible to RSV.

If that were true — that Covid vaccination puts you at higher risk of infection — then we would have seen this impact a long time ago on all age groups, but we didn’t.

– Alon Vaisman, infectious disease expert with University Health Network, Toronto

There’s no data whatsoever to prove or to show that Covid vaccination makes kids more susceptible to RSV.

If that were true — that Covid vaccination puts you at higher risk of infection — then we would have seen this impact a long time ago on all age groups, but we didn’t.

– Anthony Bryne, respiratory infection researcher and physician at St. Vincent’s Hospital

It just happens to be a coincidence. RSV is going around right now. You’re not going to increase the risk of your child getting RSV by getting them immunized.

–  Dr. Mary Ottolini, M.D. – chair of paediatrics for the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.


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