As with medications, vaccine side effects are rare, and should not deter anyone from receiving it to protect themselves and others around them from a virus that has proven to be more deadly than the flu.
Unfortunately, it’s not just worry of possible side effects that have prevented many Americans from getting the vaccines. It is outright lies, misinformation and dangerous conspiracy theories from certain media figures who care more about getting clicks and ratings, than truth and honesty, and protecting the most vulnerable. Partisan politics has become a priority over saving lives.
As of today, according to the CDC, 191 million Americans have been fully-vaccinated. Millions more have yet to be vaccinated. Many of these are children below the age of twelve. Certain prominent and well-known media figures have claimed falsely that children don’t need to be vaccinated, that they are not affected by the virus that causes COVID. That’s nonsense. Even though the virus affects older people more severely – especially those with pre-existing medical conditions – children can also be severely affected, especially children with medical conditions. Even healthy children have died from contracting the virus. According to the CDC between ninety and one hundred children have died of COVID-19.
The FDA advisory committee announced earlier this week that it backs emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine. The decision is not binding, but authorization could come as early as this week.
“To me, it seems that it’s a hard decision but a clear one,” said Patrick Moore, a committee member with the University of Pittsburgh.
A vote of 17- 0 followed a debate of the safety of the vaccine, which has been associated with myocarditis. Some committee members expressed doubt whether the vaccine was appropriate for most children, and instead should be administered to those at higher risk.
“For me it’s always nerve-racking,” said Paul Offit, a vaccine expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, “when you’re asked to make a decision for millions of children based on studies of only a few thousand children. I think I know enough to move forward with a yes vote, but you know, it’s always never when you everything, it’s when do you know enough?”
Michael Kurilla, who is an infectious disease expert with NIH, said,”There are high-risk individuals and I think they need to be attended to. We do need to provide a vaccine for them. But for many others, one dose or no dose, even. If they’ve had prior COVID infection, they may not need anything more.”
For an infectious disease expert, he should know that children, regardless of whether they have had COVID or not, they should be vaccinated. Children are virtual petrie dishes. They can very easily pass it on to those who are more vulnerable.
Sources: Washington Post, CDC.gov.