Q&A – Does It Make Sense To Vaccinate Children As Young As 5?
Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.
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Today’s entry: Brian, thanks for doing what you do. I’d like for you to dig into the rational for the vaccinations for children as young as five. This sounds insane to me and the fact that it isn’t being treated that way in the news bothers me. Has the country become so desensitized to pandemic BS that we don’t realize how absurd this idea is? We don’t know the long-term implications to immunizing anyone, let alone those in early development and there’s NO NEED! I’d like it if you figured out how many children in the newly approved age range have died of the virus to help illustrate the point.
Bottom Line: Well, I’ll say that while news media’s handling of the CDC’s full authorization of the COVID-19 vaccinations may be treated as just another vaccine news story...parents are not. You’re far from alone in your skepticism. To date, in Florida the vaccination rate for those aged 12-19 stands at 56%. Clearly about half of parents of older school children have remained skeptical. Those numbers will be dramatically larger as we look younger. A fair amount of polling of parents of young children has been conducted preceding this decision and it’s all pointed in the same direction. Most parents have concerns about having their children vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine and most parents are worried about potential mandates for their children having to obtain them.
As of now, only about a third of parents of children between the ages of 5-11 say they’ll definitely have their children vaccinated with the newly approved COVID-19 vaccine. It’s unlikely that’s going to change anytime soon – especially with rapidly declining cases. Now, what you’ve asked me to do is help make the case against them. As always, I’ll establish the facts and let them do the talking first. If the primary purpose of obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine is to ward off serious illness (which is the stated purpose according to all health agencies), the best/easiest way to measure this would be with the susceptibility to the virus. The CDC keeps tabs on deaths by age, though they’re all done in ranges. The range for children as young as five is actually aggregated with those between the ages of 5-14.
According to the CDC there have been a total of 748,164 COVID-19 attributed deaths this year among Americans of all ages. How many of those might you think have been from children between the ages of 5-14? The answer...185. To put this in perspective, approximately 11% of the US population is between 5 and 14. They account for 0.02% of all COVID-19 related deaths this year. Now I’m sure parents of one of those 185 children would gladly have had an option for a COVID-19 vaccine that might have potentially made a difference in saving their child’s life, but what this does is put this conversation in perspective. The concern over having young children obtain a COVID-19 vaccine is the fear of the unknown down the line. The risk of dire outcomes for young children obtaining the virus is a known. The risk of death for children between the ages of 5-14 is proven to be near non-existent. To give you an idea, children between the ages of 5-14 are three to five times as likely to die from pneumonia than COVID-19.
You certainty don’t see people flipping out about the risk of their kids dying from pneumonia, therefore the conversation regarding COVID-19 risk borders on the absurd in context. So, what’s this really about? You. One of my great frustrations in life is intellectual dishonesty. The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines for young children isn’t medically justifiable based on the data for their health. The idea is that it could be in your interest. If there were complete transparency and intellectual honesty what we’d hear is that health officials are predominantly concerned about asymptomatic children spreading the virus to people who are potentially susceptible such as their parents and grandparents. For this reason, the decision to have your child vaccinated or not to, is most analytically made through that perspective. It’s not really about them it’s about you. And the most honest question of all is this one.
Is your concern about your children contracting the virus and spreading it to you, or their grandparents, etc. worth having your young child vaccinated? Aside from children who’re specifically at-risk, that’s really the question. I’m not sure if that satisfied your interest in having me help make the case. It wasn’t part of God’s plan for me to have children but what I would tell you based on the data is...there’s no way I’d have my young children vaccinated unless they’re immunocompromised.