The claim that vaccinating children against COVID-19 (CCP Virus) will protect adults is hypothetical, and the purported benefits to the adult population do not outweigh the risks of potential adverse effects to children, three health professionals argue in an article published by Children Health Defense.

Elia Abi-Jaoude of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, Peter Doshi, a researcher in Pharmaceutical Health Services at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and Claudina Michal-Teitelbaum, an independent researcher in Preventive Medicine in France, raise the ethical issue in their analysis.

The question they address is: “Should society be considering vaccinating children, subjecting them to any risk, not for the purpose of benefiting them but in order to protect adults?”

A large number of children with a very low risk of severe and prolonged disease, they say, would be exposed to known and unknown potential adverse effects of the vaccine, so they say multiple assumptions need to be examined when encouraging the vaccination of children against COVID-19.

Although a “prolonged duration” of illness has recently attracted the most attention in evaluating vaccination in children, two studies show that prolonged symptoms are uncommon in that population and generally similar or milder compared to those with symptoms of other respiratory viruses.

Estimates from the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) cited by the authors show that prolonged symptoms are rare in this population and generally similar or milder compared to those with symptoms of other respiratory viruses. (CDC) estimates cited by the authors put the mortality rate from Covid-19 infection at 20 per 1,000,000 among children aged 0-17 years. 

They also infer that according to CDC estimates, 42% of US children aged 5-17 years are infected by March 2021, and given that Covid-19 infection induces a robust immune response in most people, the implication is that the risks posed by the virus to the pediatric population may be even lower than is generally assumed.

However, they say that the risk/benefit consideration may differ in children with a relatively higher risk of severe diseases, such as obesity or those immunocompromised.

Regarding the risk of transmission of COVID (CCP Virus) from children to adults, they stress that this is also low, so the claim that vaccinating children will protect adults remains hypothetical. 

“The number of children that would need to be vaccinated to protect just one adult from a bout of severe COVID-19—considering the low transmission rates, the high proportion of children already being post-COVID, and most adults being vaccinated or post-COVID—would be extraordinarily high,” they note, adding that “this number would likely compare unfavorably to the number of children that would be harmed, including for rare serious events.”

According to their analysis, the focus should be on ensuring safe and effective vaccines for the adult populations that could benefit most, especially those at high risk.
However, they indicated that the protection offered by infection-induced immunity (natural immunity) should be continuously assessed concerning vaccine-induced immunity, especially in the young.

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