The FDA approved the COVID vaccine for kids, but there are still issues

A sixteen-year-old student has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the San Diego Unified School District, arguing that the district's mandate for COVID vaccination violates her religious freedom.  The Thomas More Society, a law firm that specializes in religious freedom challenges, is representing the young lady, who is identified as Jill Doe.

Her challenge to the vaccination mandate just got a lot harder.  Yesterday, the FDA approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for kids aged 5–11.

Pfizer's vaccine has been linked to neurological conditions, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and hemorrhagic stroke.  Teenage boys are at increased risk of inflammation of the heart muscle after receiving the Pfizer vaccine.

These events are rare, and small children would get low doses of the vaccine.  Presumably, the FDA advisers feel that the risk of the vaccine is worth the reward of the dubious immunization.  After all, booster shots are already being called for, less than a year after the first rollout of the Pfizer vaccine, due to waning immunity against COVID.

Nothing daunted, some are already calling for widespread vaccination for young children.  Laura Blaisdell, M.D., MPH, writes in MedPage Today that doctors need to advocate for vaccinating small children.  She shrugs off concerns about long-term side-effects with the declaration that such side-effects are seen in a matter of months, not years.

That may be true for genuine vaccines, but the Pfizer shot is not a true vaccine.  It's mRNA gene therapy and this is the first time this technology has been widely tested.  We can't really know what effects mRNA gene therapy will have on children until they grow up and start having children of their own.

Dr. Blaisdell is also blithely unconcerned about the newness of mRNA vaccines.  She believes that, after millions of doses, Pfizer mRNA vaccines are not new.  Millions of doses is a large number, but Dr. Blaisdell is confusing quantity with length of time.  All those doses were given in a matter of months.  That is hardly long enough to determine if mRNA gene therapy is actually safe in the long run.

Dr. Blaisdell points out that vaccination against diseases like polio is already mandated.  Perhaps Dr. Blaisdell should have a talk with Martha Lillard, one of the last polio survivors to be stuck in an iron lung.  In the 1940s, more than 30,000 people were disabled from polio every year.  Martha has been living with an iron lung for almost 70 years.  She was never able to wean herself off and must sleep in her big metal box every night.

Death, disability, and lifelong dependence on technology to breathe are reasons to take a chance on a vaccine that may have deadly side-effects.  COVID rarely affects young children, and when it does, they usually recover after minimal symptoms with no lingering effects.  It's just not worth risking children's health with experimental gene therapy to prevent a disease that is generally no worse than the common cold.

Pandra Selivanov is the author of Future Slave, a story about a 21st-century black teenager who is sent back in time and becomes a slave in the Old South.

Image: Children in iron lungs before the Salk vaccine

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