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Children, COVID Vaccines, and What the CDC Just Did

This post is about children, Covid vaccines, and what the CDC (Center for Disease Control) just did earlier this week. This is a longer post, I’m sorry, but I’m concerned about this issue and people need to know what’s going on here.

🔶 First, a little background information:

Parents are almost certainly familiar with vaccine schedules for their children. A vaccine schedule is a guideline for what vaccines are recommended, and when. For children, there are a fair number of vaccines they can receive at various ages, especially during their younger years.

It’s the CDC that publishes the nation’s recommended vaccine schedules. More specifically, there’s a group of people within the CDC called the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). That committee “develops recommendations on how to use vaccines to control diseases in the U.S.” Their recommendations ultimately drive which shots are listed on the CDC’s vaccine schedules for both adults and children.

🔶 Here’s what happened earlier this week:

On Wednesday, the ACIP voted unanimously to add Covid vaccines not only to the adult vaccine schedules, but also to children’s vaccine schedules. And that’s the issue for this post: the children’s schedule.

🔶 Why is this concerning?

First of all, an unvaccinated child’s chances of being hospitalized or dying due to Covid is very, VERY low. The data is crystal clear on this. An unvaccinated child’s chances of being hospitalized or dying due to Covid is almost immeasurable relative to the adult population.

Next, there are concerning reports about injuries to some children after receiving a Covid vaccines. Many of these reports – especially on social media – are sensationalized or don’t accurately reflect the findings of the scientific studies. But the bottom line is there’s a risk-reward tradeoff with every vaccine, and we may not yet know what the full risks are to children who receive a Covid shot.

Since children are at very low risk of hospitalization or death from Covid, and since we still haven’t fully examined the long-term risks to children from Covid vaccines, why on earth would the CDC add this vaccine to the children’s schedule?!

It makes very little sense, unless you perhaps consider the financial liability for the pharmaceutical companies who developed these vaccines. When a vaccine that has been approved by the FDA harms someone, its manufacturer is somewhat shielded from liability if that vaccine was issued under a public health emergency.

However, once Covid is no longer considered a “public health emergency,” Covid vaccine manufacturers could be liable for injuries unless the federal government adds their vaccines to what’s known as the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. This is a federal program where the government assumes liability and compensates people who have been injured by an approved vaccine. (This is paid for by a tax on each vaccine.)

But the issue is that for a vaccine to be included in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, the CDC must recommend its “routine administration.” In other words, the vaccine needs to be part of the CDC’s Vaccine Schedule to shield those pharmaceutical companies from legal liability once the public health emergency is over.

Is this what happened?! Is this why the ACIP voted to add the Covid vaccine to the children’s vaccine schedule? Was any member of the ACIP lobbied by any Covid pharmaceutical company? I don’t know yet, but this is definitely something Congress needs to investigate.

🔶 Here’s my biggest concern:

Some people are claiming, “What’s the big deal? It’s only a recommendation.” The big deal here is that many states take CDC guidance as gospel, and whatever the CDC recommends becomes the default policy for schools within that state. We’ve seen this time and time again.

Once the CDC’s vaccine schedule is revised, it won’t be long before some states require a Covid vaccine for children to attend school, which I’m sure will outrage millions of parents.

Congress can and should dig into the CDC’s actions here. But Congress cannot pass a law that prohibits states from requiring a Covid vaccine for children to attend school. Even if that were constitutional, President Biden would never sign it.

If parents want their children to receive a Covid vaccine, that’s fine! But it should be a parental choice, not a government mandate. Especially with Covid being such a miniscule risk for children and with so much still unknown about the vaccines.

===== EDITED TO ADD =====

Shortly after I posted this, SC Gov. Henry McMaster issued a statement which said, "As long as I am governor, I will never let the federal government - or anyone else - force the COVID-19 vaccine on South Carolina school children."

Outstanding. Ultimately it's SC DHEC that sets South Carolina's vaccine requirements for school children, not the federal government. But it's great to hear the Governor take this position. Let parents decide, not the government!