By Guy Page
Given the non-lethality of Covid-19 among children, critics of the vaccine say it is unnecessary and dangerous. They are asking why it’s been approved for ‘Emergency Use Authorization’ for children ages 5-11. Is it for their benefit , or to prevent transmission to more vulnerable adults?
Vermont has had zero Covid-19 fatalities under the age of 20, and only one under 30. Also, According to data published by the CDC, 99.99815% of children who contract COVID-19 survive. Children are not a significant threat to the elderly and vulnerable as most COVID cases are spread from adults to children.
“Accumulating evidence and collective experience argue that children, particularly school-aged children, are far less important drivers of SARSCoV-2 transmission than adults,” Dr. William Razcka of the UVM College of Medicine said in an August, 2020 paper in the American Academy of Pediatrics (AA) journal.
As for being dangerous, according to the data available from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) as of Oct. 8, there have been a total of 21,652 reports of adverse events, including 1,304 serious reactions and 24 deaths in the 12- to 17-year-old age group, according to data collected by Health Choice Vermont.
With these facts in mind, the Chronicle asked Gov. Phil Scott and his medical experts at the Nov. 2 press conference whether the push to vaccinate young children is for their benefit, or for others’. The discussion begins at about the two hour, nine-minute mark.
Chronicle: “Polls say that more than a third of parents won’t let their children age 5-11 get vaccinated, and Vermont has zero childhood fatalities from Covid 19. I understand what Dr. [and president of VT AAP Rebecca] Bell said about vaccination being beneficial absent any public health benefit all on its own, but is it also fair to say that reducing potential transmission to adults is the most important reason for the state’s aggressive push to vaccinate young children?”
“I’d say it’s a combination,” Scott said. He then asked Health Dept. Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine and Bell to weigh in.
Levine: “There are multiple reasons, and I think we both cited reasons why it would be good for the kids themselves, why it would be good for the parents of the kids and the family unit, and yes additionally there are public health benefits in reducing transmission which is often from an asymptomatic young kid about 40 or 50 percent of the time – from some literature – to adults and keeping the virus from spreading throughout our communities.
“I would not want anyone to get the impression that there’s one reason, and that’s it, and one reason trumps another reason, because these are all important reasons and I’ll let Dr. Bell pipe in.”
Pipe in, she did.
Bell: “I would say the important thing about this is that they are really complementary. So there are great public health reasons to vaccinate and there are great individual reasons to vaccinate and for sure we pediatricians have really worried about some of the other harmful effects on children that the pandemic has brought – loss of a parent or another caregiver to Covid-19 illness, the disruptions in in-person learning, the isolation that has occurred, all of that is hugely problematic and affects children’s health and well-being.
“But what parents want to know, is my child who lives in Vermont who’s between 5 and 11 years of age, should they get the vaccine? And I want to be very clear that they should, that the benefits of vaccination outweigh any risk and that although the severity of Covid illness in children is lower when you compare it to adults, it still exists and we want to prevent it. We don’t tolerate serious illness or death in children when we can prevent it.
“From a pediatrician’s standpoint we give very personalized and individualized recommendations, and this would be my recommendation for each child in this age group in Vermont. In addition Dr. Levine can talk about all of the other great public health benefits that vaccination has as well. So they complement each other.”