Just two weeks ago, Pfizer confidently announced its vaccine trials in children were progressing. Their intent was to seek authorization for the fall of 2021.¹
On June 21, the WHO (World Health Organization) website said that “children should not get vaccinated for the moment.” The statement was made indicating there was “not yet enough evidence” to recommend the vaccine for children.
With the news coming quickly, and many weighing in on the subject, the website was edited within hours. The new statement reflects “unless they are part of groups at higher risk of severe COVID-19, it is less urgent to vaccinate them than older people, those with chronic health conditions, and healthcare workers.”¹ The change of position from “should not” to “less urgent” was noticed by many as they tried to bring the news forward.
The CDC and FDA Are Also Receiving Advice
Children aren’t considered “super spreaders” of COVID-19 and typically have a very mild case, if any symptoms at all. Based on these facts, the need for the vaccine wouldn’t fit the FDA criteria for EUA (emergency use authorization). To receive EUA, the vaccine must show a need for the vaccination in the population it is given to, not in hopes that it would help another population. It would also need to show that “the known and potential benefits…[for] the identified serious or life-threatening disease or condition, outweigh the known and potential risks of the product.”³ Currently, the data doesn’t indicate these facts.
The timing of the statement by the WHO was notable. The CDC met this week to discuss the rise of cases of heart inflammation, or myocarditis, after the vaccine. During the meeting last week, concerns were raised whether or not the benefits outweigh the risks for the 12-17 age group.
On June 1, a group of 27 concerned experts presented the FDA with a citizens petition. The petition urged the FDA to allow the EUA to remain in place instead of full approval. With long-term trials continuing into 2023, there is still much data to collect. Rushing approval without this information would be irresponsible.