NEJM Paper Falsely Claims Infants are at “High Risk” From COVID-19 to Justify Vaccinating Pregnant Women

I subscribe to a publication called MedpageToday. This is an excellent way to follow what is going on in the mainstream medical discussion, not least to understand better what is wrong with it.

This week it published a piece on the benefits to infants from vaccination during pregnancy, reported in a study published in NEJM on June 22nd (with a linked editorial about how vaccination during pregnancy is “two for the price of one”). In the introduction, the study authors make the following claim: “Infants younger than six months of age are at high risk for complications of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).”

This came as a surprise, so I checked the source they cite in support of this statement. In short, the source tells us nothing about risk of hospitalisation from contracting COVID-19. All it tells us is the number of hospitalised infants over time per 100,000 in the population, which shows that early January this year, during a surge of Omicron infections, there was of course also a spike in infant hospitalisations; if we look at the general trends we see this in all age-groups. This has nothing to do with the hospitalisation risk of infection at all.

Are infants really at “high risk for complications” of COVID-19? In the general population, the probability of hospitalisation following a Covid infection according to the U.S. CDC in October 2021 was around 5%; this means one in every 20 people infected was admitted to hospital. After Omicron took over, this number went down by 50-70%, to between 1.5-2.5%. And if we look at the latest CDC estimate on relative risk between age groups, children up to 17 have the lowest risk of hospitalisation. For infants in particular, the risk of hospitalisation is about one tenth the risk for the oldest age-group. It might be added that their risk of death is less than 1/330 (0.3%) of the oldest age-group. This is very low risk, not high risk.

Still, according to the authors of this study, infants are “at high risk for complications of coronavirus disease 2019“, contrary to all evidence, referring to a source that doesn‘t address the matter.

Clearly, we should not be concerned with the risk of COVID-19 for infants, for as the numbers tell us, it isn‘t concerning at all; infants are in very little danger from COVID-19. We should in fact be more concerned with the injection of mothers-to-be with substances which health authorities in Scandinavia have not recommended for children under 12, with the exception of Denmark only, a decision the Government now says it regrets. We’ve seen worrying spikes in complications during pregnancy and in infant mortality and stillbirths since the vaccine rollout to pregnant women, though the official studies on this seem designed to conceal it.

We should not be concerned by the low Covid risk to infants. But we should be deeply concerned when we see a study, authored by around 40 medical practitioners and academics, and peer-reviewed by I don‘t know how many, putting forth a claim that is obviously false, and backing it up with a source that doesn‘t support it. The study is funded by the CDC.

What might be the reason? Have all those people become so blinded by a preconceived conclusion, so biased towards what they think they are supposed (and paid) to believe, that they are now unable to understand the simple distinction between hospitalisation risk on infection and disease prevalence? Or have they taken it a step further – do they in fact understand, but choose to ignore or distort the facts to please their peers and superiors, trusting in the safety of numbers? Has dishonesty become normalised now in medical science?

Thorsteinn Siglaugsson is an economist who lives in Iceland. Find him on his Substack page.

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