A growing number of medical experts are voicing their dissent about the necessity of giving children COVID-19 vaccines. A Johns Hopkins University professor, Dr. Marty Makary, recently publicized the findings of his study regarding the COVID death rate among children. His study raises more doubts about why healthy children need to be vaccinated in the first place.
Dr. Makary and his colleagues recently collaborated with the nonprofit organization FAIR Health to analyze health insurance data from 48,000 children under 18 who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 between April to August 2020.
They found that the death rate from COVID among healthy kids without preexisting medical conditions remains at zero.
“[If our research] holds, it has significant implications for healthy kids,” said Makary.
Makary also added the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is relying on flimsy evidence to promote the need to vaccinate children. He said that while the CDC claims 335 children under the age of 18 have died after being diagnosed with COVID-19, the agency hasn’t “researched each death to find out whether COVID [indeed] caused it or if it involved a pre-existing medical condition.”
Makary added: “I’ve written hundreds of peer-reviewed medical studies, and I can think of no journal editor who would accept the claim that 335 deaths resulted from a virus without data to indicate if the virus was incidental or causal, and without an analysis of relevant risk factors such as obesity.” (Related: POLL: Parents ‘unlikely’ to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19, citing risks of vaccine adverse reactions.)
A series of studies by British researchers also found that COVID-19 carries a lower risk of death among children than previously thought. Some conditions, such as obesity and cardiac or neurological conditions, have been associated with a higher risk of intensive care treatment or death, but the absolute increase in the risk is very small, says Rachel Harwood, a researcher and pediatric surgical registrar at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.
A preprint of the study where the researchers focused on England also showed that among the 6,338 hospital admissions for COVID-19, only 259 children required treatments in pediatric intensive-care units. Overall, the need for intensive care is “incredibly rare” among the patients recorded for the study.
Another study from the University College London Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health showed that black children were more likely to require intensive care for COVID-19. Of the 3,105 deaths from all causes of 12 million or so people under 18 in England between March 2020 and February 2021, only 25 were attributed to COVID-19, putting the rate of about 2 children for every million in the age range.
The WHO recently revised its advice on whether children should be vaccinated, saying that “children should not be vaccinated at the moment.” The agency also said that there isn’t enough evidence on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in children to warrant a need for vaccination.
In a statement, a WHO spokesperson said:
Children and adolescents tend to have milder disease compared to adults, so unless they are part of a group at higher risk of severe COVID-19, it is less urgent to vaccinate them than older people, those with chronic health conditions and health workers.
More evidence is needed on the use of the different COVID-19 vaccines in children to be able to make general recommendations on vaccinating children against COVID-19.
WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) has concluded that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is suitable for use by people aged 12 years and above. Children aged between 12 and 15 who are at high risk may be offered this vaccine alongside other priority groups. Vaccine trials for children are ongoing and WHO will update its recommendations when the evidence or epidemiological situation warrants a change in policy.
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