The U.S. and U.K. governments, as well as public health authorities, are pushing for children to get vaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). But researchers believe that allowing children to develop natural immunity to the coronavirus is better than giving them experimental vaccines that are likely to cause health issues.
In the U.S., the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has now been approved for use in children aged 12 to 17. But only adults are eligible to get the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines because studies in children are still ongoing. (Related: Schoolchildren are being LURED into getting coronavirus vaccines.)
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have not yet approved any vaccine for children below 12-years old. The two agencies await the completion of clinical trials so they can make a decision.
However, the FDA’s current timeline suggests that it will begin its mass vaccination program for children ages two to five – regardless of the results of ongoing clinical trials – by the end of winter or early spring 2022.
In the U.K., the National Health Service, the country’s publicly funded healthcare system, recently announced plans to vaccinate children aged 12 to 15 by mid-September. This comes after the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, the U.K.’s main drug regulator, publicly endorsed the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as “safe and effective” for that age group.
Giving children COVID-19 vaccines is unethical and unnecessary
Researchers have pointed out that children are significantly less likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19. On the other hand, current studies strongly suggest that teenagers who receive COVID-19 vaccines are more likely than adults to suffer from side effects like post-vaccine pain, fatigue and fevers. Children who get vaccinated are also more likely to develop myocarditis, or heart inflammation, than adults.
Because of these findings, some researchers say that children would be better off catching COVID-19, recovering and developing natural immunity instead of relying on the supposed protection offered by vaccines that could harm them.
David Livermore, a medical microbiologist at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the U.K., says the world has to live with the coronavirus for years, if not decades. He believes the best solution going forward is to not vaccinate people but to foster a generation of children who are already naturally immune to the virus.
Livermore also argues that this is “a better first step in the lifelong coexistence” with the virus than rolling out more booster shots, since the protection they offer will only last several months before children need to get another dose.
“It is clear that the vaccine-mediated protection wanes significantly within four to six months. Even government advertising acknowledges this,” Livermore told the MailOnline. “On the other hand, reinfection remains rare among those infected in the first wave, over a year ago.”
Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the UEA, agrees with Livermore, noting that the risk of children suffering from side effects caused by COVID-19 vaccines outweighs the dangers posed by the coronavirus. “In younger people, vaccinating is not a risk-free option,” he said.
Hunter also says that “as much as half” of all teenagers in the U.K. have already been exposed to the coronavirus. This means they already have the necessary natural immunity needed to fend off further COVID-19 infections.
On the other hand, vaccinating children would be ethically dubious because there are little to no benefits to giving them vaccines. Vaccinating children would be done just to satisfy the interests of adults.
The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunizations, an advisory committee that helps the British government regarding vaccination policies, is also against recommending vaccines for healthy children. According to the committee, the risk of children dying from the virus is about one in a million, so there’s no need for them to get vaccinated.
Learn more about the push to vaccinate children by reading the latest articles at Vaccines.news.