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A reader's opinion piece: Children 5-11 vaccination

Do your research, ask questions and make an informed decision.
Child running

Dear Editor,

The COVID-19 vaccine presents a real challenge with regards to informed consent. Due to limited scientific data in children, it is impossible to know and understand all of the potential short-term and long-term consequences. It is our responsibility as parents to educate ourselves on the risks, benefits, safety, and effectiveness of the vaccine, as well as the unknown possibilities, so that we can make an informed decision for our children.

Dr. Richard Baydack and Dr. Joss Reimer note that the Pfizer vaccine is a “safe and effective way for families to protect their children against COVID-19.” However, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), states that “the overall safety and effectiveness data are limited in children,” and that “real-world evidence in large pediatric populations is required to provide risk estimates of myocarditis/pericarditis and any other AE (adverse events) that may occur in children aged 5-11 years at a frequency less often than 1 in 1,000.” In other words, the study was too small to detect many of the adverse events that are now becoming a serious concern in adolescents and adults.

The NACI report states that this age group generally presents with “mild or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection” and that “severe outcomes from COVID-19 such as hospitalization and death are very infrequent, occurring in <0.3% and <0.002% of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections in children aged 5-11 years.” Hence, the overall survival rate of minors is 99.998%. While a select population of children may be at higher risk of severe COVID-19 due to pre-existing health conditions, most will experience mild symptoms.

With such a high survival rate, it’s difficult to comprehend why children are consistently labeled as a “vulnerable population,” and why they need the vaccine to protect them. While outbreaks in schools are concerning, they are reported based on “case” numbers, not symptomatic individuals. The PCR test has been proven unreliable; it does not verify infectiousness and was never intended to be used to diagnose respiratory illness.

NACI points out that there are ongoing uncertainties related to the impact of COVID-19 on children’s health, including “the long-term effectiveness of vaccination in this age group; potential safety concerns (e.g., uncertainty around the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis); and the future progression of the pandemic, including the emergence of variants.”

The NACI report concludes that “given the short-term uncertainties surrounding pediatric vaccination at this time, children and their parents or guardians should be supported and respected in their decisions regarding COVID-19 vaccinations for the child, whatever decisions they make, and should not be stigmatized for accepting, or not accepting, the vaccination offer.”

Please do your research, ask questions, and ensure you are making an informed decision for your child.


- Bonnie James, Virden

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