While vaccine adverse effects continue to rise in North America
From the beginning of the pandemic, it has been apparent that COVID-19 is largely a disease of the elderly or those with other co-morbidities and mercifully has had minimal impact on children. However, comprehensive data has been hard to access; this is especially important in the context of the ongoing push from some quarters for children to be vaccinated.
This timely publication uses data from the National Child Mortality Database, linked to PHE for the PCR test results, and provides a complete year’s analysis from 1 March 2020 to 28 February 2021 with very encouraging information vis-a-vis COVID-19 risk factors. Set in context there were 3,105 deaths of children under 18 in a population of 12,023,568. 61 had a positive PCR test within 28 days but on detailed review of their clinical notes, 36 had died of other causes. For 25 children COVID-19 was either the main or a contributory cause of death, representing 0.8% of childhood deaths. 19 of the children had pre-existing chronic conditions of which 15 were described as life limiting. Although older children aged 10-17 and those of Black and Asian ethnicity were over represented, their risk remained extremely low.
The combination of neurodisability combined with respiratory comorbidities held the highest risk. Of note, there was not a single death of a child with cystic fibrosis nor of a child with asthma, both conditions for which caution was initially recommended. The authors conclude “SARS-CoV-2 is very rarely fatal in under 18s, even among those with underlying comorbidities. These findings are important, to guide families, clinicians and policy makers about future shielding and vaccination. If higher risk groups are identified, they may benefit from vaccination and/or protective ‘shielding’ at times of high prevalence, whereas ‘shielding’ based upon erroneous assumptions of vulnerability is likely to cause significant secondary harms. Similarly, risks from the disease need to be weighed against risks of vaccination in informing vaccination policy.
These findings support HART’s clearly stated view that vaccinating children is unnecessary and unethical. It is encouraging to see members of the JCVI beginning to speak out. This BMJ leader for and against delaying vaccinating children is fascinating. The ‘fors’ include Professor Andrew Pollard, chairman of the JCVI and chief investigator of the Oxford-AstraZeneca children’s trial, and give referenced arguments on the low impact for children, discuss myocarditis and the importance of ensuring risks do not outweigh benefits. The ‘against’ authors state as their only evidence of safety “Medical authorities have judged covid-19 vaccines to be safe and effective for children, and they have so far been approved for use in children aged 12 and over. The European Medicines Agency states that any risks in this age group are outweighed by the benefits, and Health Canada and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agree” as evidence of safety. This mirrors what many of us have been told in replies from MPs: “I can reassure you that no extension to an authorisation would be approved unless the expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness have been met and I am satisfied that these standards have been met”. This repeated parrotting of the MHRA statement of safety, based almost entirely on the Pfizer trial involving 1134 vaccinated children, is what gives credibility to the many zero-covid proponents still calling for children to be vaccinated. A legal challenge to the MHRA is currently in preparation.
Meanwhile, families cannot travel to Malta unless all over 12s are fully vaccinated, and indeed only with the ‘right’ brand of vaccine and given much of Europe is commencing vaccinating children, let us hope that saner voices prevail here until more data is available. But how many of us know young adults who have given foreign travel as their reason for vaccination?
Most pertinently, adverse events in children in the US continue to rise, while in Canada vaccinating children without parental consent is being actively proposed as a way round ‘vaccine-hesitant’ adults.