Is the COVID-19 vaccine killing kids?

Short answer: no.

What follows is the long answer. This is my third post in a series of responses to Steve Kirsch’s document, “Questions you need to answer before approving the COVID vaccine for any age group”.1 Here are links to the previous posts in the series:
COVID-19 vaccination side effects. Why are you so “closed minded”?!
Dr. Eric Rubin: “We’re never going to know how safe the vaccine is unless we start giving it, that’s just the way it goes.”

Alright, let’s get started! Here is what the second slide in the document looks like:

Since this slide is aesthetically very similar to the previous slide and I’ve already touched on that in the last post, I don’t think it’s necessary to go into it again. I may explore this in greater depth in a future post because I think I would enjoy writing about it and it could be helpful and informative.

As for the content, I see claims but where are the references to back these claims up? When I clicked on the screen shot, I was redirected to a post on gab. Gab is a social networking website that has been endorsed by Richard B. Spencer, the white nationalist leader, and founded by Andrew Torba, who “dreamed up the site after reading reports that Facebook employees suppress conservative articles on the site.”4 A hack and subsequent leak of 65 gigabytes of data from the site in February 2021 offer a window into its cultural environment; among the most popular groups on the website are Trump fan groups and QAnon groups.5 Platform aside, what was actually posted on gab? It was a short video clip from a FDA Vaccine Advisory Committee meeting featuring Dr. Fiona Havers, who, from what I can tell, is an infectious disease specialist out of Baltimore.6 She is saying, “I don’t know that this is as well-studied as we would like yet. I mean, I think there are studies going on that are looking at long-term outcomes in different groups. But I don’t necessarily think, we don’t have a lot of good data, concrete data, on that yet. But I (some stuff I can’t understand) very active research area.” This quote is not evidence to back up the claims on this slide. The search continues…

Often references are found at the bottom of a document so I scrolled down there, looking for them. While I couldn’t find a list of references, I did find a link to Kirsch’s website, where I found links to more documents.

After spending some time navigating around his website, I found a reference to a paper that was published in Elsevier in one of Kirsch’s documents, “Why are we vaccinating children against COVID-19?”.7 I was curious to read it. But, the more I read, the more red flags surfaced for me. A comprehensive critique is beyond the scope of this blog post and, honestly, I don’t have the time for it. But I will mention a few of those red flags:

  1. They choose to use the term ‘inoculation’ in the paper instead of ‘vaccine’ because “the injected material in the present COVID-19 inoculations prevents neither viral infection nor transmission.” That’s a bold claim for which I could not find references pointing to evidence to support. There are two references in the paragraph. One of them directs the reader to legal information on vaccine taxation and the other directs the reader to ‘The Fauci/COVID-19 Dossier’ by Dr. David E. Martin. The first reference is a list of terminology, defining a vaccine as, “any substance designed to be administered to a human being for the prevention of 1 or more diseases.”9 Sounds to me like the COVID-19 vaccines are, well, vaccines, because they do prevent at least one disease, but I’m no lawyer.10 As for the second reference, the writer of this dossier, Dr. Martin, was in “Plandemic: Indoctornation” and in his own YouTube videos where he presents the same conspiracies.8 The dossier is 205 pages long. I neither have the time to read this nor do I think I need to because it is simply not a credible source. I’m surprised and disappointed to find this kind of reference in a paper published by Elvesier. 
  2. In a description of the organization of the paper, the authors wrote: “Section 2 (Background): 1) provides the background for the declared COVID-19 “pandemic” that led to the present inoculations”. “Pandemic”? The scare quotes indicate the authors’ doubt in the pandemic. I’m questioning them for questioning the pandemic. 
  3. The authors misuse VAERS entries. VAERS, Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, is a system by which anyone can report what they think might be an adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine. Because it is self-reported, it is not vetted. Further, healthcare providers are legally required to report serious adverse reactions even if the cause of death is not known.12 The database, therefore, is likely to have a large number of reports that are not vaccine related.
  4. The paper is on the Retraction Watch website, a website that tracks the process of retraction, the process by which a paper is pulled by the publisher.11 Sam Klein wrote a pretty comprehensive and fairly accessible critique on the paper on a Harvard blog, The Longest Now.13

I remain unconvinced of evidence for the claims made on this slide. Let’s have a brief look at the claims anyway:

“Vaccinate 28M. Hypothetical benefit: Save < 14 kids from covid death. Projected cost: Kill 1,400 kids and injure many times more, perhaps permanently.” 
I think that publishing this kind of stuff without substantiating it is highly unethical. It’s fear mongering. It’s hard enough to try to raise children without having to figure out the truth behind these terrifying claims.

I’m guessing that this is referring to number the children in the USA that fall into the age range that was studied (5-11 years of age), given that, as per the U.S. Census Beareau, there are 24.3M children ages 6-11.20 

Hypothetical benefit: Save < 14 kids from covid death.
What do we know about COVID-19 in kids? We know that when kids get it, some don’t have any symptoms, some have mild symptoms, and some have severe symptoms and need to be hospitalized. COVID-19 is very unlikely to be fatal to kids but it does happen. A (not yet peer reviewed) study that combines the results of 81 studies found that of the 3,105 deaths from all causes among the 12 million children (under 18 years of age) in the UK, 25 of them were from COVID-19.21 Because COVID-19 can be asymptomatic in kids, it’s hard to figure out what percentage of kids who become fatally ill from COVID-19 but it does seem to be a very low percentage. But he fails to acknowledge that the vaccine offers more to kids than not dying from COVID-19:17

  • It prevents kids from becoming infected with COVID-19; the Pfizer vaccine has an efficacy of 90.7% for kids ages 5-11.14 And some kids get very sick from it.15 The vaccine has the potential to eliminate a lot of needless suffering.
  • It helps to prevent further spread of COVID-19. Less COVID-19 means less restrictions. The pandemic has had a toll on the overall well-being of kids. I feel like I hardly need to provide a reference for this – just ask some parents! The disruption of things like socialization, school, and extra-curricular activities is hard on kids.16 Less COVID-19 spread also means that variants are less likely to develop.

Projected cost: Kill 1,400 kids and injure many times more, perhaps permanently.
Do we have any evidence of fatalities in kids from the vaccine? There haven’t been any verified reports of deaths in Pfizer’s pediatric trial, according to a Pfizer spokesperson who spoke with Reuters media.18 What about permanent injury? Pfizer’s trial demonstrated that the vaccine is safe in kids ages 5-11 with side effects similar to those seen in those ages 16-25, which include symptoms like injection site pain, fatigue, headache, and chills.19, 22 And the FDA determined that there were no serious adverse reactions in the study when evaluating the Pfizer vaccine in adolescents ages 12-15.23

I could go on but I’ve spent enough time on this slide, I think. As with the previous posts, I welcome constructive criticism. What would you like to see done differently?

See you tomorrow!

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