Approving vaccines for children is not a cause for celebration

On Thursday, October 7, 2021, Pfizer asked the FDA to approve COVID vaccinations for children ages 5-11. If it gets that approval, vaccinations for young children could start in less than a month. Looking at the evidence objectively, it’s hard to justify doing this.

Still, there are parents who believe such vaccinations will give families their lives back. Children will be able to take off masks, participate in sports, visit elderly friends and relatives. All it will take to restore the world to normal is two little jabs of an experimental mRNA therapy, dubbed a vaccine, and tested for less than a year. What could go wrong?

Two of the things that could go wrong are myocarditis and pericarditis, two conditions in which the heart becomes inflamed. These illnesses have not been definitively linked to the mRNA vaccines. However, they emerged in young people in the United States and Israel after the Pfizer vaccine rollout and no other cause has been suggested for the sudden appearance of these conditions.

There is short-term data about the Pfizer vaccine that is less than encouraging. Israeli researchers released a study in August comparing more than 32,000 people who either got a second dose of Pfizer vaccine or were infected with COVID. They found that the risk of developing COVID symptoms was 27 times higher among the vaccinated than among people who had a previous COVID infection. The risk of hospitalization was eight times higher for the vaccinated than for those who had a previous COVID infection.

It is true that some children have died from COVID. It is also true that the vast majority of children who have contracted COVID recover after a mild illness or show a negative test result without experiencing any symptoms at all.

Some parents may feel that the only way forward is to vaccinate their children. Others may hesitate at allowing their children to be experimented upon. Children are among the most vulnerable members of our society. They depend on the adults in their lives to protect them.

It does not seem protective to use unproven technology with no long-term data on children who rarely contract COVID and who are only slightly more likely to die from COVID than they are from the flu. (See Chart 4 in the linked article for more detailed information.) The difference is that no child is being forced to take flu vaccines to go to school, play sports, or visit elderly relatives.

Incidentally, it should also be noted that those children who, sadly, have succumbed either to COVID or the flu almost invariably have severe comorbidities. Neither the flu nor COVID is a disease that is likely to kill otherwise healthy children.

Pandra Selivanov is the author of The Pardon, a story of forgiveness based on the thief on the cross in the Bible.

Image: A schoolboy in a mask by Kelly Sikkema. Unsplash license.

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