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Dr. Robert Malone is an American immunologist and virologist who has made controversial claims about the COVID-19 vaccines.

He was interviewed on the Joe Rogan podcast, in an interview that was (controversially) later removed by YouTube.

In the interview, Dr Malone said:

"The myocarditis was so bad [after vaccination] that you went to the hospital. The incident rate was 1 in 2700. Now, there's all kinds of hand waving that 'Myocarditis is mild, they recover from it.', ok? Those statements aren't, let's say gently, based on fact. Historic incidents of death post-myocarditis is about 27%. Now the assertion is 'Well, this is a different kind of myocarditis, and therefore it's not going to kill these kids... or young adults', but that's being said in the absence of data, it's pure speculation."

[The Joe Rogan Experience, ep. 1757, 1h:23m:10s]

Is there any data that cases of general myocarditis from patients are significantly different than cases arising shortly after getting any sort of COVID vaccine in the same demographic? Further to the core of claim, are there any prominent claims made by public health officials, or those who make public health policy using said data?

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    Regarding the removal of "fatality" from the question title, that is the claim. The claim is juxtaposed with "Historic incidents of death post-myocarditis is about 27%". Fatality literally means the incidence of death.
    – fredsbend
    Jan 5 at 15:37
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    Dr. Malone's reasoning assumes that the death rate from myocarditis is normally independent of what caused the myocarditis. This seems unlikely to me, and some quick searching shows it's not the case. For example, from "Mortality in primary and secondary myocarditis" by Pulerwitz et al: "Results: The mortality rate associated with secondary myocarditis varied substantially depending on the underlying systemic disorder." Jan 5 at 22:04

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There are several studies available specifically about myocarditis after the mRNA COVID vaccination. So it is not true that experts are making these statements without data, the data is here and I'll quote three different studies here:

From a Danish study on myocarditis after COVID vaccination

We observed no readmissions, diagnoses of heart failure, or deaths among people with myocarditis or myopericarditis occurring within 28 days of mRNA-1273 vaccination.

From a study in Israel

A total of 76% of cases of myocarditis were described as mild and 22% as intermediate; 1 case was associated with cardiogenic shock. After a median follow-up of 83 days after the onset of myocarditis, 1 patient had been readmitted to the hospital, and 1 had died of an unknown cause after discharge. Of 14 patients who had left ventricular dysfunction on echocardiography during admission, 10 still had such dysfunction at the time of hospital discharge. Of these patients, 5 underwent subsequent testing that revealed normal heart function.

From another study in Israel

In the 136 cases of definite or probable myocarditis, the clinical presentation in 129 was generally mild, with resolution of myocarditis in most cases, as judged by clinical symptoms and inflammatory markers and troponin elevation, electrocardiographic and echocardiographic normalization, and a relatively short length of hospital stay. However, one person with fulminant myocarditis died.

We have data on the severity of the rare myocarditis case after COVID vaccination, and that data indicates that it is mild in most cases. And the data in these studies would look pretty different if the death rate were 27% as alleged in the claim. There are only 2 deaths mentioned here, out of roughly 600 myocarditis cases, and one of them is listed as "unkown vause after discharge" so it is unclear if it is at all connected. This is very obviously not even close to the death rate mentioned on the podcast for myocarditis in general.

It is also important to keep in mind that overall the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis from COVID itself is higher than from the vaccine. Though there is a subset of the population (younger than 40 and with two doses of Moderna) where the risk from the vaccine is slightly higher. Keep in mind though that this comparison ignores all other complications from COVID, it does not compare the total risk. You can find all the details in the publication "Risks of myocarditis, pericarditis, and cardiac arrhythmias associated with COVID-19 vaccination or SARS-CoV-2 infection".

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  • The end text of the claim seems to have a focus on "kids... or young adults". Your presented data I assume is not focused on that subset? And you concede at the end "Though there is a subset of the population (younger than 40 and with two doses of Moderna) where it is slightly higher". But provide no citation. I feel this answer would greatly improve if reorganized around that uncited fact as the thrust of the claim being addressed.
    – fredsbend
    Jan 5 at 15:41
  • @fredsbend the entire last paragraph is supported by the citation in it. And I don't really see how a focus on younger people would change this when there are almost no deaths in the entire observed population. I do think the three studies show clearly that we have data on this, and that this data is clearly different from the 27% death rate claimed. The last paragraph is more about the context, it does not address the core claim directly.
    – Mad Scientist
    Jan 5 at 16:05
  • That was not clear to me. I didn't suggest changing the answer, but reorganizing it.
    – fredsbend
    Jan 5 at 16:09
  • Interesting... Are these studies from a specific demographic? Also, I notice that this has no studies on myocarditis from other causes. I think that this means that the death rate is different than the claim, but does not prove that the death rate is different from general cases
    – tuskiomi
    Jan 6 at 17:20
  • What happened on the 29th day that they had to stop at 28?
    – Nikhil VJ
    Jan 11 at 9:39

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