Vaccines for Kids Under Five?
Young children are at very low risk from COVID, and vaccines are neither a silver bullet nor entirely safe.
Last week, an independent advisory panel assembled by the FDA unanimously recommended Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines for children ages six months to five years old. The Centers for Disease Control then separately met to rubber-stamp the decision.
Joe Biden announced that vaccination of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers can begin as early as Tuesday, with millions of vaccines already ordered in anticipation of approval – despite the fact that this age group is at minuscule risk for serious risk.
Approximately 18 million children under five represent the last group of Americans who have not had access to a vaccine. Pfizer and Moderna, the companies at the forefront of COVID vaccine development — and the ones receiving the most taxpayer support from the federal government — have been working for months to bring a viable vaccine to market for this age cohort. But parents should know that these vaccines may not provide the level of protection that the FDA, the CDC, or even their own doctor or pharmacist might suggest.
The current Pfizer regimen calls for three shots at one-tenth the strength of the adult vaccine. In trials, the first two shots were only 14% effective for children under age two and 33% effective for kids age two to four. It wasn’t until the third dose did effectiveness rise to 75% and 82%, respectively. The Moderna regimen calls for two shots about one-fourth the strength of the adult vaccine. Effectiveness in trials rated 51% for kids six months to two years and 37% for kids ages two to five.
In both the Pfizer and Moderna trials, the vaccines were used against the Omicron variant, which was considered more easily spread but less deadly than previous COVID variants.
Another important distinction to be aware of is that for children to take part in the trials, they must not have been previously exposed to COVID. Therefore, the vaccine efficacy rates deliberately ignore natural immunity as a factor in children’s ability to combat the virus.
Since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020, more than one million Americans have died of COVID. According to the CDC, however, only 442 of those deaths have been children under age four. That’s a ratio of one death for every 2,200. For that reason, many parents and physicians question whether there’s even a need for a widespread vaccination program among young children. Every one of these deaths is tragic, but do they collectively warrant vaccinating millions of other children with medicines that are not all that effective against a virus with mostly mild effects on children, and whose long-term effects can’t yet be known?
Even Anthony Fauci, who caught COVID last week despite having been as thoroughly vaxed and boosted as possible, said a few months ago that the concern over children is overrepresented. “If you look at the children who are hospitalized, many of them are hospitalized with COVID as opposed to because of COVID,” he explained. “If a child goes in the hospital, they automatically get tested for COVID. And they get counted as a COVID-hospitalized individual when, in fact, they may go in for a broken leg or appendicitis or something like that. So it’s overcounting the number of children who are, quote, ‘hospitalized with COVID,’ as opposed to because of COVID.”
Not surprisingly, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll taken in April revealed that only 18% of parents with children under five intend to get them vaccinated right away. Some have adopted a wait-and-see attitude, and about a third have no intention of getting their kids vaccinated.
The rush to get these vaccines to market and into people’s bodies has also completely negated knowledge or even concern for long-term health effects. This is a concern neither the FDA nor the CDC has expressed, and they don’t seem to have any intention of looking into it anytime soon.
And how can they, anyway? They’re too busy telling us what to do with our bodies.
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