More Control Group Shenanigans from the CDC
A CDC study of vaccine safety was recently cited by the feds in defending themselves against charges of a coverup. But over half the study's control group were dropped as soon as they got vaccinated.
I woke up Sunday morning planning to spend the day working on the next installment in my series of reports on pet vaccines. However, before I even rolled out of bed, I saw a story from The Associated Press claiming that those who received the Covid-19 vaccines were less likely than their unvaccinated peers to die not only from Covid-19 but also from heart attacks and strokes.
It was so exciting! This was music to my ears! Most of my siblings are vaccinated. I have spent many sleepless nights worrying about what will happen to their children if they “die suddenly” like so many seemingly healthy, non-elderly people are doing these days.
The claim that the Covid-19 vaccine actually prevented deaths unrelated to Covid-19 sounded suspicious, of course, but I assumed it must be true. Otherwise, why would anyone make such a bold claim?
It turns out the source of this claim was none other than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which was responding to Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo’s demand that the feds come clean on Covid-19 vaccine injuries and deaths.
One of the studies that the FDA cited in its four-page response to Ladapo was the following CDC-sponsored study published in January 2023 in the journal Vaccine.
I eagerly looked this study up so that I could read the great news for myself.
It is a retrospective cohort study that set out to measure the overall safety of the Covid-19 vaccines by comparing the rates of mortality from all non-Covid causes— including heart attacks, blood clots, strokes, cancer, and other illnesses as well as accidents, suicides, and overdoses — in vaccinated vs. not-yet-vaccinated. The authors cross-referenced the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Datalink with Kaiser health records from select sites in California, Washington State, and Colorado.
The study covered the period of December 14, 2020, through August 31, 2021, during which time tens of millions of Americans were rolling up their sleeves for the Covid-19 injections.
Three separate analyses were conducted for each of the three available shots — Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. Crude non-COVID-19 mortality rates were reported by vaccine type, age, sex, and race/ethnicity and compared to the unvaccinated.
From the results:
“In this study of more than 6 million recipients of COVID-19 vaccines and their unvaccinated comparators, we found that recipients of BNT162b2 [Pfizer], mRNA-1273 [Moderna], and Ad26.COV2.S [Johnson & Johnson] vaccines had lower non-COVID-19 mortality risk than their comparator groups.”
It all sounded good.
However, as is always — and I do mean always — the case with CDC-sponsored studies of vaccine safety and efficacy, the devil was in the details, and the most critical details were hidden in the study’s Supplement where far fewer people think to look.
Read the following Supplemental table carefully and you will see that more than half the so-called comparators, which consisted of the not-yet-vaccinated, were “censored” — in other words, dropped — from the study as soon as they got vaccinated.
The not-yet-vaccinated had been randomly placed in a control group for one of the three vaccines. If they eventually got the vaccine for the group for which they were pre-selected, they were transferred to that vaccinated group, and any deaths from that point forward were reported as deaths in the vaccinated. However, if they got one of the other two vaccines, they were dropped from the study.
For example, if the comparators were in the control group for the Pfizer vax but ultimately chose to get the J&J vax, they were dropped from the study as soon as they got the J&J vax. If, after getting vaccinated, they died from any cause, their deaths were not included in the results.
This table shows that for 2.5 million (36 percent) of the nearly 7 million people whose health records were reviewed for this study, any deaths they suffered in the course of the study only counted as long as they remained unvaccinated. Once they got vaccinated with one or more doses of a vaccine for which they had not been randomly pre-selected, they were dropped from the study regardless of whether they lived or died — or how they died. If they were randomly placed in the Pfizer comparison group, for example, but received a Moderna shot and suffered a fatal heart attack a few days later, their vaccine-induced death is nowhere to be found in this study’s results.
Editor’s Note: I must pause here to remind my readers that I am a licensed elementary school teacher, not a scientist. I know that many of you are actual scientists. Please tell me if you think I am misinterpreting this data!
The authors seem to want us to believe that they worked around this confounder by reporting mortality relative to the length of time, in person-years, that each participant was tracked for the study. In other words, since they stopped adding in the person-years of those who were dropped from the study after receiving a particular vaccine, the death rates are not affected by censoring any deaths among those participants post-vaccination.
However, this does not solve the problem.
The best way to explain it is through an analogy. Let’s say we wanted to compare the death rate for people who swim in the ocean by themselves vs. those who swim with a pool of sharks. (Yes, I am now comparing Covid-19 vaccination to swimming with sharks.) We are studying three different kinds of sharks: Red Fin, Blue, and Gray Reef. We place 30 swimmers in each shark group for a period of seven days and track them while they swim with the sharks. We also place 30 swimmers in a comparison group for each species of shark. Each of those swimmers starts out swimming on his/her own, but some eventually will join a shark group.
Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that each group of sharks has a similar though not identical death rate (like the Covid-19 vaccines). This will enable us to focus on just one group, the Red Fin Group:
So, we have 30 people swimming with the Red Fin sharks for the entire 7 days. Let’s say 4 of those swimmers die from shark attacks on Day 7.
The Red Fin Swimmer Death Rate is:
4 deaths / (30 persons x 7 days) = 4 deaths / 210 person days = 0.019
Meanwhile, in the Red Fin comparison group of 30 swimmers, 15 start out swimming on their own and never join any shark group. Two of those swimmers die on Day 7 (because swimming by yourself in the ocean is always risky, with or without the presence of sharks.)
The Swim-Alone Death Rate is:
2 deaths / (15 persons x 7 days) = 2 deaths /105 person-days = 0.019
The other 15 swimmers in the comparison group swim alone for 2 days, and 1 dies on Day 2. So, 15 x 2 = 30 person-days are added to the swim-alone group, with 1 new death.
The Updated Swim-Alone Death Rate is:
(2 + 1 deaths)/ (105 + 30 person-days) = 3 deaths/ 135 person-days = 0.022
After that, the remaining 14 swimmers join the Blue shark group, and 3 more of those swimmers die on Day 7. Since those 14 swimmers were in the comparison group for the Red Fin shark, once they decided to join the Blue shark group they were dropped from the study, and their 3 deaths were not included in any analysis.
As a result, it looks like swimming with sharks is less dangerous than swimming alone — 0.019 vs. 0.022
However, if instead of dropping them from the analysis we include the Blue shark swimmers in the Red Fin total, then we must add 14 x 5 = 70 person-days and 3 deaths. In that case, the results look different:
The Shark Swimmer Death Rate becomes:
(4+3 deaths)/ (210 +70 person-days) = 0.025
Now, swimming with sharks looks more dangerous than swimming alone — 0.025 vs. 0.022.
Multiply these subtle shifts in the data by 2.5 million and you can begin to get a sense of the potential scale of manipulation by the CDC.
In addition to conveniently dropping members of the control group as soon as they got the “wrong” vaccine brand, control-group participants also were censored (i.e., dropped) if they received any vaccine in the final two months of the study. It is not clear how many members of the control group eventually were dropped for this reason. That number appears to be deliberately obscured in the write-up. What we do know is that their deaths before vaccination would have counted toward the total number of unvaccinated deaths, but their deaths after vaccination would not have counted toward the vaccinated deaths.
This study is riddled with other potential confounders and biases. However, in light the authors’ decision to drop more than half the people in the control group the moment they got vaccinated, it should come as no surprise that the study shows higher mortality in the unvaccinated group. It appears to have been designed expressly for that purpose.
In fact, based on everything we’ve seen these past three years, I would not be surprised to learn that there are statisticians at the CDC whose entire job is to sit around all day reverse-engineering studies like this one, until they can identify some method — however nonsensical — that will give them the results they want.
Indeed, since this was a retrospective study, the authors easily could have waited until August 2021 and then retrospectively selected their entire control group of not-yet-vaccinated instead of settling on this convoluted approach.
To this day, millions of Americans — including yours truly — remain unvaccinated. Why is it impossible to find a single CDC-sponsored study that offers a true comparison of health outcomes in Covid-19 vaccinated vs. unvaccinated?
This, of course, is a rhetorical question. We all know the answer.
nice work! I think I'll go out and birth a child so she can be in your elementary school class!
Sure, stands to reason. To survive longer with a heart condition one first needs to get such condition. Why, stroke is also mentioned as part of the immunization. Mild enough, presumably. Slide 16 (p. 17 in PDF) was long on promise, and long on delivery, too.