Is It Safe? Dr. Makary on the Vax for Kids

10 Nov 2021

CLAY: We are joined now by Johns Hopkins’ Dr. Marty Makary. He has written a great piece in the Wall Street Journal, was in the print edition yesterday, answering and analyzing a question that many of our listeners have about vaccinating children. Dr. Makary, appreciate you joining us right now. Correct me if I’m wrong, but in your article, I believe the data said there are 28 million children ages 5 to 11; 94 of them have died with covid, which is such an infinitesimally small percentage that the covid vaccine doesn’t really change any of the risk factors in any way because, fortunately, the risk factor is so minuscule for children. Regardless of what decision parents make, their kids are likely to be very safe when it comes to covid.

DR. MAKARY: That’s right, Clay. The child may be more likely to die in a car accident driving to the pediatrician’s office to get the vaccine right now if the child is healthy. Now, for kids with a comorbid condition, that was probably nearly all of the 94 kids who died. In those kids it doesn’t make sense. In kids who had covid in the past, no. There’s no scientific justification. By the way, that may be 50 to 60% of kids out there right now.

BUCK: Dr. Makary, it’s Buck. I want to know why you think it is that you don’t leave more MDs…? One of the frustrations Clay and I have had for a long time is that there are docs that we know like you with impeccable credentials — as real as it gets in the world of MDs — who are horrified by things like the sense that so many parents have, the exaggerated sense of fear, the exaggerated sense of risk for their children.

And yet we don’t see doctors coming out saying, “This isn’t dangerous for your kids.” In fact, we had Vivek Murthy coming out saying the opposite just in the last 24/7, that this is a risk for children. Where is the medical community on this? Is everybody just afraid the hospital system is gonna come down on them?

DR. MAKARY: Well, there’s a lot of groupthink right now and cancel culture has moved into medicine. I talked to doctors around the country that say, “Thank you for speaking up. You can’t do that at my hospital,” or, “My academic leaders are putting a lot of pressure on me, or it’s hard to study these issues.” Why is no one, for example, tested people 19 months after they were infected in New York and looked at their immunity levels?

The NIH is not doing it with their $42 billion. Why aren’t academic doctors around the country doing that research? Because there is a lot of people pressure on them. We’re doing it, by the way. We’re doing that particular study. But to answer your question, Buck, there’s an oligarchy. There’s a small group of doctors making all the decisions on covid policy. It’s Collins and Fauci, and they dismiss people that raise questions, that just simply ask questions in the spirit of scientific methodology.

There is no “the science.” Science is an evolving process. So when you’re talking to your pediatrician about child vaccines, ask them, “What’s the incidence of myocarditis after the second dose, and has anyone died from myocarditis?” In my own conversations with a lot of doctors, they haven’t even read the studies.

BUCK: What is it? Can you tell us, by the way? ‘Cause those numbers — what is the risk? Do we have any sense of myocarditis to children? I just saw another case, otherwise young, healthy woman got the shot, rare complications, she’s dead. So, this does happen.

DR. MAKARY: That’s right. So this is good for people to know. In young males — even under age 30, if you go that far up — the rate of myocarditis, heart inflammation from the vaccine, is one in 7,000. Now, that’s high, in my book. Now, the New England Journal of Medicine published the Israeli experience where they found 136 of these myocarditis cases. Two of them were seriously sick in the ICU and had heart biopsies. That’s not fun. One of them died. So the idea that, “Oh, this is totally safe”? It’s better to be honest with people, and you probably get more reception that way.

CLAY: Dr. Marty Makary, he is at Johns Hopkins. I want to circle back on one of the comments that you made about the number of kids that likely have natural immunity — that is, they’ve already had covid. You said you think it’s probably somewhere around 50 or 60%. We don’t know because our CDC has sun such a poor job of collecting all this data. But let’s presume it’s half.

Let’s presume that half the kids between the ages of 5 and 11 have already had covid. Would you encourage parents to get antibody tests for their kids to see if they had had covid, first of all? And, secondly, if the kids have had covid, what has the data shown us about their risk going forward for covid and whether it makes any sense for them then to get vaccinated?

DR. MAKARY: So, first of all, on the ground, when I talk to doctors, we don’t see people get reinfected and get severely ill or die. It just doesn’t happen. Now people say, “Oh, it happens.” It’s like Bigfoot. People say they’ve seen a case. Show me the evidence. We just do not see reinfections cause severe illness. That’s the observational data. Now, the hard data shows that the reinfection rate’s less than 1%.

And in the Pfizer study of kids, the study of 1500 kids that everybody’s so giddy about, it showed — and I’m gonna read it to you. One line in the 70-page Pfizer report said, “No cases of covid-19 were observed in participants with prior infection.” So you got nothing to worried about right now. Now, things could change in the future, but right now the data is on your side. Natural immunity works. Don’t expect the pharma industry to talk enthusiastically about natural immunity, by the way.

CLAY: Yeah, and that leads into the other part of the question I had for you which is I went and got antibody test. I know I’ve had covid. I recovered. I have natural immunity. I haven’t gotten my own children antibody tested. Would you suggest it makes sense if you believe your kids may well have had covid to see if they have had covid antibodies as you assess your decision-making as it pertains to vaccine?

DR. MAKARY: First of all, if they’ve had any positive tests confirmed, you wouldn’t need it. If not and you want to know, sure, yeah, go ahead and get the antibody test, or someone may choose to do one dose of the vaccine. And that’s reasonable. The second dose is where people get into problems. And that’s why I think it’s very reasonable to say”You know, I might just want to do one dose.” These are the creative strategies that are good but you’re not hearing about.

BUCK: Dr. Makary, I just need to get your take on the comment that was made just last week by Rochelle Walensky, the head of the CDC, when she put out some public statement that masks are more than 80% effective in preventing the spread of the virus. This is just embarrassing at this point. Like, when do people just say, “This has gotten too crazy”?

DR. MAKARY: (laughing) I’m there. I, for one, think that the stuff coming out of the CDC is so unreliable, I wonder if we’d do better if we did not have a CDC right now adjudicating on every aspect of American life. I don’t want to wear a NASA astronaut space suit every day. I beware a surgical mask at work at the hospital. I want to live my life.

And I think there’s this sense that we have to stomp out every virus replication particle if it means taking three showers a day in alcohol and demonizing Aaron Rodgers. By the way, these athletes are the lowest-risk people on Planet Earth. Tell me if you ever hear of a professional athlete in any sport in any country who’s ever died of covid? Never happened, and yet we put ’em under the frying pan.

BUCK: It’s crazy.

CLAY: What do you think about Aaron Rodgers’ comments, as a doctor?

DR. MAKARY: Yeah, I think it was reasonable. I think he has a right to not get vaccinated. There’s risks of myocarditis, especially affects young males and athletes, and I think he can do whatever he wants. He’s not putting anyone else at risk. That study was done in our big journal JAMA. Out of all the SEC games they identified zero cases of transmission, you know, with regular activity.

BUCK: And yet Dr. Fauci said that it would be a feast for covid over the summer. I mean, this guy is so reliably wrong over the lost 40 years on major health issues it’s amazing to me, Dr. Makary, anybody listens to him. Before we let you go, Clay and I are going back and forth here on the numbers. Looks like there’s a bit of an increase here in covid. You got the study that came out that showed that vaccine efficacy — when it comes to preventing at least infection — drops off dramatically. With the J&J it drops off almost to nothing like 13% or something like that. What do you see happening this winter?

DR. MAKARY: We’re gonna have a small bump in the viral season in the north but it’s gonna be mostly cases. If you’ve got immunity of any kind, you’ve got nothing to worry about. No one’s world about mild cases asymptomatic positive test results. Remember the PCI test is so good it will detect one dead virus particle in your nose. People at risk over 65%, I’d say, get a booster because we shouldn’t have been given doses three and four weeks apart. We still should it be doing that. They really function as one primer dose, and two may be the magic number for at-risk adults who have not already had covid.

BUCK: Dr. Makary, really appreciate it. People should go check out, “Should you vaccinate your 5-year-old?” in the Wall Street Journal by Dr. Nicole Saphier and Marty Makary. Doc, thanks so much for being with us.

DR. MAKARY: Thanks, guys.

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