Young children are unlikely to have complications or die from COVID-19, so why are some so eager to get these new vaccines into their little arms?
That’s a question that remains unanswered as Pfizer-BioNTech announced Monday that their joint COVID-19 vaccine is considered safe and effective for children ages 5-11 after a preliminary trial, The New York Times reported.
These results have not gone through the rigors of peer review and publication, but Pfizer and its German collaborator are hopeful the Food and Drug Administration will rubberstamp the expansion to allow millions of young children to be vaccinated in time for trick-or-treating.
However, this trial had serious shortcomings that would negate such results in saner times — and even the Times couldn’t ignore them.
The newspaper pointed out that the drug trial included only 2,268 kids, a small sample size that falls short of the 3,000 the FDA demanded back in July when vaccine makers Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna were set to study the product’s safety for this age group.
What’s more disturbing is that it doesn’t bother Dr. Bill Gruber, a pediatrician and senior vice president at Pfizer, who claimed he was confident from discussions with the FDA that the vaccine would be approved nonetheless.
The other major issue is that children 5-11 years old so rarely experience the severe effects of the virus that the study is useless in determining whether there is any benefit to reducing death or serious illness in children. Instead, the trial considered a robust immune response alone as the benchmark of success.
Though the trial found that elementary-aged patients would receive a third of the dose that older people needed to trigger the same immune response, what it couldn’t say is whether the vaccine will be safe on the broader population before significant numbers of kids are being inoculated.
This is not an unreasonable or unfounded fear in light of the subsequent reports of myocarditis in young vaccinated individuals that only surfaced after the shot was approved and widely distributed.
Even if there were a comprehensive study, it’s difficult to predict what will happen once the vaccine is injected into millions of kids of varied health profiles.
That uncertainty coupled with the incessant push to get younger and younger kids vaccinated is troubling, especially since all available data suggests children are not dying in any significant numbers from this virus (that isn’t stopping the pharmaceutical makers from conducting trials on kids under 5, though those won’t be concluded until after the end of the year).
Data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that as a proportion of all deaths for children in the 5-11 age group, COVID-19 accounts for less than 2 percent and in some barely 1 percent of pediatric deaths.
COVID and All-Cause Deaths By Single Year of Age— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) September 20, 2021
Data from January 1, 2020 to September 11, 2021, as of September 15, 2021.
(This is as-reported by CDC, with no correction for overascertainment.) pic.twitter.com/T8IdgTQEM2
So why expose kids to potential side effects from a new vaccine with no discernable benefit against a virus they rarely die from?
Like many things that have happened since the spring of 2020, none of this passes the smell test in relation to science or even common sense.
Nobody can agree on big things like whether the vaccinated need boosters or little things like where the six-feet social distancing requirement even came from, but everyone better follow the experts’ guidance or else.
It’s a fact that COVID-19 is still a threat and that people are getting very sick and dying from it, but we are more than a year and a half into the pandemic and there seems to be no agreed-upon endpoint and less clarity in the science.
It’s easy to conclude then that these measures are more about controlling people and instilling fear in the hearts of Americans than they are about public health.
That’s even more apparent considering most of these measures come from political powerhouses like teachers unions that cheer on vaccine mandates for kids over 12 in the Los Angeles Unified School District even as teachers work tirelessly to stay out of the classroom, as The Associated Press reported.
Then there are the counterintuitive measures like masking small children forever or testing out new vaccines on babies that would never be on the table if Americans weren’t already in a state of continued hysteria.
Unfortunately, this will continue as vaccine mandates are no doubt coming for younger and younger Americans. The only question is whether people will wake up to see that this is about authoritarian control and not about public health.