The United States on Friday authorized the Pfizer Covid vaccine for children aged five-to-11, paving the way for 28 million young Americans to soon get immunized, prompting concern from health professionals about the potential dangers posed.
The decision came after a high-level medical panel advising the government this week endorsed the shots, claiming that the known benefits outweighed the risks of side-effects.
A growing number of health professionals, scientists and lawyers have been voicing serious concern about the potential dangers of the vaccines and noting that children are not seriously at risk from COVID-19, which has an overall survival rate of 99.96%.
The United States follows only a handful of other countries including China, Chile, Cuba and the United Arab Emirates that are inoculating younger children with various vaccines, though a process to inject children aged 12-17 in the UK is already underway.
“As a mother and a physician, I know that parents, caregivers, school staff, and children have been waiting for today’s authorization,” said acting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Janet Woodcock in a statement. “Vaccinating younger children against Covid-19 will bring us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy.”
The vaccine rollout should begin in earnest after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) convenes a panel on Tuesday to further discuss clinical recommendations.
Pfizer and its partner BioNTech announced this week the US government had bought 50 million more doses as it works to inject children, including eventually those under five, with trials underway involving children as young as six months.
Pfizer claims a clinical trial involving more than 2,000 participants was found to be more than 90 percent effective at preventing symptomatic disease. The vaccine’s safety was also studied in more than 3,000 children, and no serious side effects have been detected in the ongoing study, they claim.
Pfizer said “long term safety of COVID-19 vaccine in participants 5 to 12 years of age will be studied in 5 post-authorization safety studies.” This, warns one health researcher, means Pfizer is using children in the general population for the testing of the injections.
According to the CDC, there have been 8,300 Covid hospitalizations of children aged five-to-11 since the start of the pandemic, and 146 deaths. There have also been more than 5,000 pediatric cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), a rare but highly serious post-viral complication, including 46 deaths.
– FDA ‘misleads the public’ –
Health authorities say they will continue to monitor for what they claim are highly rare side-effects, such as myocarditis and pericarditis (heart inflammation and inflammation around the heart).
They say clinical trials were too small to detect these, but the hypothesis is they will be exceedingly rare, because the effect is thought linked to testosterone levels.
Such claims of rare side effects, however, fly in the face of the growing number of teenagers, particularly boys, found suffering from myocarditis and pericarditis, according to health professionals in the US.
Beyond protecting children’s own health, epidemiologists think vaccinating this group will help bring an end to disruptions to school and other activities. But most of the panelists at a meeting of experts called by the FDA on Monday said they would not support mandates in this age group.
Instead, the decision whether to get vaccinated should depend on factors such as the child’s risk factors and should be left to families, they said.
Health professionals, however, have voiced concern that it is only a matter of time before mandates are brought in in schools and by local education authorities.
Controversy surrounds the FDA approval process after the body was told in a private meeting about over 22 adverse effects including death that can be expected from the injections back in October 2020 but did not let the public know when they gave authorization in December 2020.
One of the FDA members who voted on giving the injections to 5-11-year-olds, Dr Eric Rubin of Harvard University, said “we are never going to learn about how safe this vaccine is unless we start giving it.”
In essence, 5-11-year-olds are set to become a safety tester of the vaccine.
The US government handling of the COVID-19 pandemic is widely recognized to have been negligently or criminally mishandled, including overinflated virus “case” figures and potentially dangerous heath treatment protocols, including the use of Remdesivir and intubation. The country is currently emerging from its latest coronavirus wave, driven by the Delta-variant.
The USA, as with most of other countries, continues to use the discredited PCR Test, which typically is run at a high cycle threshold, prompting a large percentage of “false positives”. Cases remain high, but scientists warn these are a false indicator of the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has been attempting to force through vaccine mandates, with almost 58 percent of the total population now fully vaccinated.
A significant percentage of the US population are reluctant to take the vaccine given the growing evidence of the dangers posed by a vaccine that is recognized as not being a vaccine and does not prevent a person catching or passing on COVID-19.
Alarm has been voiced over the high number of adverse events and deaths caused by the COVID-19 injections and fears have been voiced for America’s children.