Kevin Bae

Non-Social in a Socially Networked World

Boosters for teenage boys look like a really bad idea… unless you like myocarditis

Why anyone is vaccinating children at all is beyond me. Why anyone 30 and under, who don’t have any underlying medical conditions, are getting vaccinated is beyond me. I don’t understand the panic. But children, specifically young boys who already received two mRNA shots, apparently are at much greater risk from myocarditis (10 in 100,000 risk) than from COVID (0.3 in 100,000). What the hell are we doing to our kids?

Surely, the CDC presented the second slide in order to show the effectiveness of the vaccine at reducing hospitalizations. But the data it showed also pointedly undermined the committee’s eventual recommendation. Here’s why: If you are a vaccinated boy between the ages of 12 and 17, the graph shows the likelihood of being hospitalized with Covid is 0.3 out of 100,000. But if you are a boy in that same group and you get a booster, your likelihood of getting myocarditis is 10 out of 100,000. (Ninety-five percent of diagnosed vaccine-associated myocarditis cases result in hospitalization.)

In other words, if you are a young male who is vaccinated you have two choices. Option A: don’t get a booster and run a 0.3 in 100,000 risk of ending up in the hospital with Covid. Option B: get the booster and run a 10 in 100,000 risk of getting myocarditis. 

The risk/reward calculation seemed so crazy that I thought I was misunderstanding it. Did the CDC notice what I was seeing in their slides? I contacted Dr. Sarah Long, a member of the CDC advisory committee and a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Drexel University. “Your numbers are correct,” she told me in an email. But she said that, in her view, the sample size, with just two incidences of myocarditis out of 20,000 doses to males, was too small to make projections. 

According to several epidemiologists who I discussed these data with, extrapolating a 10 in 100,000 incidence of myocarditis from two cases produces what’s known as a “noisy” estimate—meaning the ultimate numbers could be higher or lower. Another factor to consider is that the risk of hospitalization from Covid continues month after month, while the risk of vaccine-associated myocarditis is a one-time potential event. Still, they all said that the central comparison was correct. 

Why Are We Boosting Kids? – Common Sense (

Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay