Here’s why COVID vaccine belongs on CDC list of kids’ scheduled vaccines
On Thursday morning I heard from Dr. Paul Offit, head of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of the FDA’s Advisory Committee on vaccines about the CDC decision to add the COVID-19 vaccine to their suggested schedule of regular vaccines for children. Offit agrees with the CDC on this, despite his previous criticisms of overly vigorous booster requirements without the approval of his advisory committee.
I agree with Dr. Offit on adding the COVID vaccine to the childhood schedule. Which is not to say that I want to see this vaccine mandated, in fact I much prefer that this important decision remain between the child and his or her parent/s and doctor.
This is not a mandate, though states can use it as guidance to eventually mandate the vaccine for schoolchildren. But the influenza vaccine is already on the list and it is actually much less effective than the COVID vaccine at decreasing severity.
Not only that, but the yearly influenza vaccine is only mandated for day care and pre-kindergarten in a few states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York City, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island). So there is absolutely no reason to assume that adding the COVID vaccine to the CDC list will lead directly to mandates.
As a physician, I am a big believer in the COVID vaccines, and the latest Omicron-specific booster has been shown to be even more effective at inducing a neutralizing antibody effect than was anticipated.
There is also evidence that the COVID MRNA vaccines decrease the risk of long COVID, that they are very safe and effective in young children and that the supposed risk of myocarditis from the vaccine in young male teens has been greatly exaggerated. A new study just published from Israel in the New England Journal of Medicine again confirmed that this risk is quite rare.
Clearly, for me the risk/benefit of the COVID vaccine for children is tilted far in the direction of vaccination. The risks of the virus are far greater than the risk of the vaccine. Even in terms of death, over 1,000 children have died of COVID during the pandemic, whereas flu generally kills less than 100 children per year in the U.S.
The other vaccines on the CDC list of scheduled vaccines for children are all very powerful and effective at preventing disease and spread. The hepatitis vaccines, Hemophilus vaccine, polio and measles, mumps, rubella, varicella vaccines are among the safest and most effective vaccines we have.
Bottom line, medicine, as opposed to politics, dictate that that CDC is correct in adding the COVID-19 MRNA vaccines to their list of suggested vaccines for children.
The next part is up to the states, but I believe that your children would likely benefit from these shots, as mine already have.
The flu shot isn’t nearly as effective, and the flu isn’t nearly as pervasive or dangerous right now as is COVID, and yet that older flu vaccine belongs right there on the list too.