While voting in favor of the emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11 years old, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisor reasoned that they will not know how safe the vaccine is for children until they start administering it to them.
Dr. Eric Rubin is an associate physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital who specializes in infectious disease. The doctor is also editor-in-chief of the prestigious medical magazine, The New England Journal of Medicine, as well as an advisor on the FDA’s vaccine advisory panel.
The advisory panel voted this week whether to advise the FDA to authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years old. “We’re never going to learn about how safe this vaccine is unless we start giving it,” Rubin said before the vote. “That’s how we found out about rare complications of other vaccines like coronavirus vaccine. And I do think we should vote to approve it.”
The only physician serving in Congress remarked that Rubin’s comment is “literally the most dangerous statement” he ever heard in medicine. “How’s that going to sit with the average mom, the average parent that cares about their child?” asked Representative Greg Murphy (R-N.C.) on NTD’s Capitol Report. “That they want their child experimented on?”
Stat News reported that the FDA modeled how many hospitalizations would be prevented by vaccinating a million boys between 5 and 11 at six different points in the pandemic. The vaccine appeared to prevent 200-250 hospitalizations for every million vaccinated boys, while causing an estimated 98 hospitalizations due to the vaccine side effect myocarditis. Since those estimates indicate vaccination will keep approximately two boys out of the hospital for every boy admitted for myocarditis, they granted Emergency Use Authorization for Pfizer’s vaccine for children in that age range.
California has already said COVID-19 vaccines will be required for its schools once the vaccines get full authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. Younger children, then, are not immediately subject to the state’s vaccine mandate, but many parents around the country are anxious about that possibility.
According to a recent study issued by the Kaiser Family Foundation, almost a quarter of parents with children between 5 and 11 years old say they will not vaccinate their children. The number of parents refusing to vaccinate their child grows to 35 percent for parents of children under five years old.
While Dr. Anthony Fauci praised California’s announcement concerning vaccine mandates for school children, others are quick to call for caution. They acknowledge that children have long been required to get vaccinated against diseases like polio, measles, and mumps but point out those are childhood diseases, while the coronavirus is not.
“Covid is not a childhood disease. It can affect children, but its lethality rate is infinitesimal compared to what it is in adults,” said Murphy, who practices at the Vidant Medical Center, a 1,000-bed level 1 trauma center. “I just don’t understand why it’s being pushed on kids so much.”
Murphy pointed out that we do not mandate that kids get the flu vaccine to go to school, and we do not mandate that kids have the HPV vaccine. “So I just don’t understand the biology and the virology for this.”
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.