Did The Covid Vax, Or Any Vax, Cause ADHD or Autism? Steve Kirsch’s Survey Data Analyzed

Did The Covid Vax, Or Any Vax, Cause ADHD or Autism? Steve Kirsch’s Survey Data Analyzed

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Steve Kirsch ran a survey asking parents to say about their kids how many vaccinations of all kinds they had, including separately covid, and whether these kids had any of several afflictions, such as ADHD, autism, and allergies. He asked me to look at the survey, which I did. I received no form of consideration for this from anybody. (I rely on the kindness of followers.)

Before we get to that, a word about academic Experts. For at least a century, since science became a profession, academics have reacted to intelligent criticisms of cherished theories in the same way as apes when deprived of bananas. Just ask Ignaz Semmelweis. They reach into their diapers and fling feces with furious force, while screaming they are in excruciating pain. Their hertrionics and hersterical ravening make Dr Smith sound like Wittgenstein at his subtlest.

Which is why it is such great fun to tease them.

It is forbidden, among academic Experts, to even suggest that vaccines cause autism. And after the covid panic, it is not allowed to say vaccines cause harm of any kind, even though vaccines cause harm by design and on purpose. Academic Experts as a class (which is not all academics), therefore, are willing to lie to preserve their status and prerogatives.

Do vaccines, and in particular does the covid vax, cause autism? I don’t know. The subject is large and tricky, and there is no way we can answer all questions, most of which are of great complexity, in one article. We can, however, look at Kirsch’s survey and see what it says and if it’s helpful.


First, there is no such thing as a “scientific survey”. All surveys ask groups of people questions. If the survey queried all relevant people (like in a vote), then the answers the people give say all you can know about those questions, and only those questions, about that entire relevant group.

Surveys cannot say whether people are lying, exaggerating, forgetting, misinterpreting, tricking, or anything else, though we might be able to guess, with uncertainty, some of these things. “Randomness” is meaningless in survey design: random only means unknown.

If a survey only samples some of a relevant group, and its summary (or model of its summary) is an accurate assessment of those who answered (how could it not be!). But it can also be taken as a prediction of those not sampled. That is, a prediction of the type of people who were driven to answer surveys of this type. Other types of people than those who took the survey might exist, and the prediction of what these different people would answer might therefore be poor, or irrelevant.

Kirsch’s survey did not query all relevant people, and he meant to take its summary—which is an accurate assessment of those who answered—as a prediction of those who did not take the survey. What that means in his case, I say later.

What I Did

Here are the details of the data and my manipulations of it. Dull, but necessary. Skip to the next section if you don’t care.

I downloaded a snapshot of the data on Saturday afternoon. I don’t know if it changed after. It’s a standard simple spreadsheet: I put the field names in quotes. There are 8,300 people in my version.

I first transformed “# covid shots” into 1 through 6, and ignored the “+” in “6+”. I do see many reports of people with lots of shots, so this data looks believable, but I of course do not know this. Here’s the table:

# covid shots Count
0 5745
1 410
2 1352
3 577
4 133
5 13
6 42

This aligns with practical experience: for 6 shots, 42/8300 = 0.5%, which isn’t nuts.

I deleted all rows in which people reported more than 100 “Total # vaccine shots” (this is shots of all kinds, not just covid). This was 9 data points, all obviously absurd (but there is some uncertainty!). One person reported 1,500,000 total shots, for instance. I’m unsure what the real distribution in shots is, so I can’t judge whether, say, 50 shots is too high or average. But we can look at the reported distribution.

I had 1,0001 with zero reported total all vaccine shots; the rest had one or more. Here is the distribution of reported total vaccine shots.

I used “50” as the top total to consider below, but only because of the bump; which, of course, might only reveal the standard five-finger memory bias. If this survey only attracted anti-vaxxers, then it’s odd the people reporting 0 total shots would also report any condition. Like this:

Any = N Any = Y
0 r. shots 809 183
≥ 1 r. shots 3802 3453

About 18% of parents who reported 0 total shots also reported any condition; whereas about 48% of those who reported at least one shot reported any condition. For autism the rates were 2.3% (0 r.shots) and 5.3% (≥ 1 r. shots). For ADHD, these are 2.1% (0 r. shots) and 12% (≥ 1 r. shots). This is in favor of the participants not (wholesale) lying.

So is the percent of reported deaths. About 1.5% of parents reported the child was no longer alive (i.e. dead) also reported 0 total shots. And 0.8% of of parents reported the child was dead about also reported 1 or more total shots. Which is in favor of vaccines. For just covid shots, this was 1% (0 r. shots) and 0.6% (≥ 1 r. shots). Which is also in favor of vaccines.

I next looked at the field “Health conditions”. This contained all the listed maladies the parent said the child had.

If a person had ‘Child is alive AND perfectly healthy’ in this field, regardless of any other entry in that field, then I classed the kid as having NO conditions. Otherwise, if they had any other entry and did not have ‘Child is alive AND perfectly healthy’, then I classed them as Yes (Y) to having “Any” condition; i.e. they had at least 1 reported condition, of whatever nature.

I did the same separately for ADHD and Autism reported in that field, classing them as Y or N if they had these entries in that field, but did not have ‘Child is alive AND perfectly healthy’.

There were other fields, like reported child’s “Age today”, “Gender”, “Race”, whether the kid was reported “Alive” (there were only 75 reports of death), “Vaccine list”, details about the mother and whatnot. I did not consider any of these at this time.

I did two analyses. P-values and hypothesis tests should die, and should never be used under any circumstance. I have written about this extensively and will not bore you with these details here. But if you want, I can bore you in this talk I gave at Hillsdale, about half way
through (confusing causation with correlation):

(Why haven’t you watched this yet? Do I have to call your mothers?)

I did simple logistic regressions of either total number of covid shots, or total vaccine shots, and Any condition, then ADHD, then Autism, but the latter two only for total vaccine shots (of any kind).

I think the analysis of reported ADHD and Autism would be wrong for reported covid shots at this time. Supposing covid shots do indeed cause austism or ADHD, it is far too early after the shots, most of which only happened in the last 12 to 18 or 24 months, which is scarcely long enough after to get a useful diagnosis of either condition. These things take time. (But, for fun, I did do it; ADHD looks as below, and there is no signal for autism; i.e. a flat line.)

I used a predictive analysis (technically, what you see below is the predictive posterior distribution using default priors and fitted with stan_glm with four chains of 10,000 iterations each; convergence was reached, as will be obvious). No hypothesis tests! What you see below is the modeled probability of reported Any = Y (or ADHD = Y, or Austim = Y) given the total number of reported shots, covid or all kinds.

Now all this is REPORTED shot numbers, and REPORTED conditions, which might even be actual shot numbers and actual conditions, but we cannot know. The model is therefore of reported shots predicting reported conditions in survey populations like this. For instance, it remains a real possibility that this survey attracted those parents with children who suffered conditions, more than it attracted those parents with children who had no conditions. It could have attracted an army of anti-vax liars. We cannot know. But if the people lied, they did so in a linear way (you’ll see), which doesn’t seem likely.

Meaning these are NOT models of covid/total vaccine shots and (say) Austim. These are models of REPORTED covid/total vaccine shots and REPORTED Austim in people of the sort who answered this survey. That distinction must be remembered. (This applies to all surveys, not just this one!)

I haven’t done any other quality control, other than what I’ve mentioned here.


First covid shots, then total all vaccine shots (which I do not think include covid numbers).

You can see the probability of reporting Any condition increases from about 40% with reporting no covid shots, to about 65% for reporting 6 covid shots. That 40% with reporting zero covid shows makes some sense, because kids can have, say, allergies (or whatever) even with no covid vaccine shots.

The result is plausible if we consider it points in the direction of actual numbers of maladies and actual numbers of covid shots. To repeat myself, all vaccines cause harm. On purpose. By design. That’s how they work, by causing harm! To develop some kind of noticeable reaction with vaccination is not usual, and that’s what we may be seeing here. (But we do not forget this is reported numbers, which only might be actual ones.)

Next is reported total vaccine shots and reported conditions.

Here the signal is clear, and obvious. More reported shots, the greater the chance the parent reported any kind of malady, or reported ADHD, or reported autism.

Autism is reported about 4% of the time in kids with no reported shots, and is reported about double that rate for kids with 50 reported shots. (I keep saying “reported”, but watch and see if this post gets any criticism, which will instantly forget this modifier.) There is no special reason to use the 50, other than that bump (seen above). Perhaps 30 is a better number, given 92% of the reported totals are 30 or fewer. You can work out whatever examples you like from the picture.

As you can plainly see, the signal is similar for the reported Any condition and ADHD.

Just Answer The Question, Briggs!

I can’t answer the question, because I don’t know the answer. Vaccines might cause autism, they might not. We can never know cause from these kinds of statistical models. What we can say is that this data is in the direction of the possibility. It is not against the idea. The idea therefore should be taken seriously and not screeched at as unworthy.

There are, though, alternate explanations which also must be considered.

Quoting myself from above (for those who skipped): it remains a real possibility that this survey attracted those parents with children who suffered conditions, more than it attracted those parents with children who had no conditions. If this is so, then this data will show elevated, and maybe even exaggerated or fictional, rates of maladies above actual rates. How exaggerated and how fictional we cannot say.

Another possibility, and a stronger one, is that the more shots a kid gets, the more he sees a doctor, and the more he sees a doctor, the higher the chance he is “diagnosed” with something, anything. It is now almost impossible for a doctor not to find something not quite to their liking, given our descent into scientisim and over-measurement.

This objection is especially likely, I think, for maladies that are “popular” and in which mothers insist their kids are checked for. The false idea that we cannot be sure we are healthy unless certified by an Expert, only after much probing and prodding, is endemic. How can you, Mr Non-Doctor Reader, say you’re healthy? Where did you get your medical degree!

This is one of the criticisms I advanced when we first looked at vaccines and autism in 2015 and 2014. The more autism is in the news, the more mothers drag junior to the Expert to have him checked. And doctors are obliging in this way. Ask your doctor if this diagnosis is right for you.

I did not in 2015 think the signal of vaccines and autism was clear. It is still not clear, at least in data like this. But we haven’t seen, in this data, anything that dismisses it. Of course, everything said about autism goes for ADHD, but perhaps more so given how many boys are drugged to keep them tame.

Prediction: This post will make everybody confirm that their preconceived (i.e. thought of before you read this post) conclusion is the right one.

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  1. > Prediction: This post will make everybody confirm that their preconceived (i.e. thought of before you read this post) conclusion is the right one.

    Well this one certainly comes true with me! xD

    But seriously now, I like this post because it shows in practice how you play with numbers and shows in practice how to put into action all those things you write about in your actually interesting posts. NGL, I’m here for the math and don’t really care about this Expertism crap. xD

    I DO wonder what these numbers mean, however. For example, 40% ADHD in many-shots people is just insane. F*cking impossible! There’s something wrong with that number, and it needs to be ferreted out. If shots caused ADHD on that level, it would have been known back in the fifties when men were men and women were women. So that number is really fishy and I’d like to see that explored. At the absolute lowest it needs to be cross-referenced with other countries and times (think USSR or SFRY).

    Additional observations: prevalence (?) of ADHD raises exponentially with numbers of shots. This might be explainable (cumulative risk or something) however, the prevalence of all maladies rises logarithmically (!) with total number of shots. That’s just weird. That just screams “HERE! INVESTIGATE ME!” If total maladies rise logarithmically, then there is some kind of a “saturation point” beyond which most of the people who are going to have maladies get them and the rest are naturally immune. Well, that WOULD be an explanation except that almost all kids in many-shot group have some kind of a malady so we really need to get back to the drawing board.

    Isn’t it strange that no less than 1/3rd of kids have some kind of a malady? Isn’t it bizzare? It’s abnormal, isn’t it? Am I right or am I right? xD That number needs to be cross-referenced, including among different countries and different times. It’s fishy.

    > Supposing covid shots do indeed cause austism or ADHD, it is far too early after the shots, most of which only happened in the last 12 to 18 or 24 months, which is scarcely long enough after to get a useful diagnosis of either condition.

    I <3 this with all my heart.

  2. Briggs


    It’s a rare kid that doesn’t have something “wrong” with him these days. Like allergies. Or whatever. 40% doesn’t seem to high. Not with the expertism, i.e. the idea everybody has to run to the doctor to “know” they are fine.

    But, of course, who knows.

  3. Hagfish Bagpipe

    Briggs, this is too reasonable. Too cautious. Just say vaccines make you sprout a second head, or whatever. Then pour gas on the fire, maybe toss a kitten on the flames. That’s the way to pack a theater.

    Kidding aside, it’s a good demonstration of how to be careful analyzing data and cautious in conclusions. The world could use an AI app with those qualities… call it, say, the “Briggsian Uncertainty Extenuator”. Available soon at the App Store.

  4. Briggs

    Hagfish, Nobody would buy it. People crave certainty and are never satisfied when it can’t be asserted. “Progress” isn’t made in science unless certainty, or something like it, is declared. When I say things should be more uncertain I am holding back this progress. I am a bad man.

  5. Al

    > “This post will make everybody confirm that their preconceived (i.e. thought of before you read this post) conclusion is the right one.”

    Excellent analysis Professor. I do love me a bit of that there objectivity, quite rare these days. So many commentators looking for soundbite confirmation of their narrative, facts be damned.

    Like many of those who spend time with this kind of material and Substacks in general it’s always tempting to jump on an argument that seems to support your pre-existing position. I try hard not to. Others, it seems on the opposite side, less so. Or maybe I am introducing subjectivity into my viewpoint. Tricky innit.

  6. PhilH

    “the more he sees a doctor, the higher the chance he is “diagnosed” with something, anything.”

    Ain’t it the truth!

    Hey, absent-minded professor, you forgot to say how we can support you financially.

  7. Briggs


    Right at the bottom of the post. Thanks.

  8. Robin

    Great article. Just finished reviewing the first 3 chapters of Jaynes’ Probability Theory and return to find another gem by Briggs.

    But don’t knock AI. Machines can already do anything we tell them to do, they just cannot yet do what we cannot describe in detail. But it’s coming.

  9. cdquarles

    Medical practitioners are just as, if not more so, susceptible to fads as the rest of humanity. In the old days, if I am not mistaken, folk wanted to hear from medical professionals that they weren’t sick, unless it was obvious that they were and that you could only guess what it was, bounded by local experience and doing as rigorous testing and evaluation of said tests as could be done. That, though, was before “tort lawyers”, “defensive medicine”, and “evidence based medicine” affected things. Flip side of the vaccine stuff. Old codgers like me got way more natural infections than we got vaccines. Those that didn’t survive that, well, can’t get illnesses that we who did can.

  10. JH

    According to this, at least 80% of the population have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine. This survey shows that 5745/8300 ~ 69% of respondents are not vaccinated against COVID. Which implies conclusions can only be applied to the respondents… perhaps to his followers if one is willing to ignore obvious sampling biases.

    From the survey,
    For the SERIOUS CONDITION you picked, what do you think the PRIMARY cause was:”

    “Smoking” is not one of the choices, but “covid-vaccine” and “just bad luck/random” are. What serious conditions listed can be caused by “Gastrointestinal issues” (GI)? I need to do some research what causes GI.

    Such is a survey designed by a non-academic. Experts are needed to design a good survey. This post reminds me of the voter fraud stats here and
    Simpson’s paradox.

    It is such a great fun to tease Briggs.

  11. J. Rob

    Wow! A connection between Steve Hersch and Matt Briggs. This is just what I’ve wanted. I read Kirsch’s blog because I find a lot of interesting information there, but he’s always impressed me as a rather desperate layman. He want’s to be taken seriously without any means to perform serious investigations and analysis. Thus, he conducts his online surveys and begs the establishment to debate him. He pesters the experts to explain his data and his observations. As expected, no one does.

    To be fair, he has funded and worked with like minded medical doctors to run small trials of alternative drug treatments for Covid infections, and they have produced real and positive results. He just seems to undermine his serious concerns with his stunts like the online surveys.

    I think it’s obvious that no one is going to prove anything about vaccines with online surveys, and every time I see one of his posts I silently wish someone would take him aside and explain this to him. Now that Briggs has provided an extremely gentle explanation of the futility of his numbers, maybe it will help.

  12. J. Rob

    In my post I meant to say Steve Kirsch and not Steve Hersch. At least I got it right in the next line.

  13. Don B

    Robert F Kennedy, Jr. tells the story of how our government determined that vaccines in children caused autism and other problems, then buried the results.


    “In 1999, in response to exploding epidemics of autism and other neurological disorders, CDC decided to study its vast Vaccine Safety Datalink — the medical and vaccination record of millions of Americans, archived by the top HMOs — to learn whether the dramatic escalation of the vaccine schedule, beginning in 1989, was a culprit. CDC’s in-house epidemiologist, Thomas Verstraeten, led the effort.

    “Verstraeten’s initial data run suggested that mercury-containing hepatitis B vaccines — administered during the first month of life — were associated with a wide range of neurological injuries, including a dramatic 1,135% rise in autism risks among vaccinated children. ”


  14. Mens Bellator

    People who have sick kids make them get more vaccines? People who are vaccine and other medicine obsessed are also hypervigilant to kid maladies?

  15. The problem is there is never any ability to sample the population in a rational way that would support a defensible analysis. Most scientists don’t even bother to attempt to this even when it might be feasible. In any case, nobody cares unless it gives them the answer they want to hear.

  16. McChuck

    The older children are, the more vaccines they have had inflicted upon them, and the more likely they are to have noticeable levels of ADHD (formerly “being a boy”) and autism (formerly “being shy”) they have. Simply because they are older and have more personality.

  17. Gunther Heinz

    Steve forgot to ask how OLD the parents were when they decided to spawn. Old spunk and eggs can generate a tard on account of the mutational cesspool. It’s just science.

  18. 1 – 40+ vaccinations is easy: during a misspent youth I got sent to all kinds of weird places, all of which came with a list of required vacinations (or periodic pills you had to take while “over there”).

    2 – the survey issue is obviously self-selection. It’s a virtual certainty that people who don’t give a star-blank-star didn’t respond. So the survey found that hypochrondriacs claimed to be sick more often and in more ways than normies. gee, what a surprise.

    3 – there’s no compelling evidence things like ADHD exist – the diagnosis does, but the condition may not; or, at least, be quite rare/unusual.

    4 – The anti-vax position tends to conflate those who see the covid vaxes as horrific and those who see all vaccinactions as horrific. In reality this is a numbers game most people simply can’t play. All vaccines carry risks, but effective ones reduce the risk of illness etc below what it is without the vax. e.g. Your kid will catch X and die (be crippled – whatever) with p approx 1/1e4 without the vax; but only 1/1e5 with it – and the vax itself has a 1/1e5 chance of leaving the kid irreparably harmed. Given the numbers most vaxes are good bets despite the risks.

    In the special case of the covid mRNA vexes, Trump et al were led to believe that 3-5% of Americans would die without the vax but <1% would die of the vex. Kind of a no brainer -right? A bit later most of Trump's inner circle understood that the 3-5% was a vast exaggeration, but world-wide politics/media made shutting down the process impossible.

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