Pfizer’s request to roll out COVID-19 vaccines for Americans as young as 5 years old cleared a key regulatory hurdle Tuesday, after a panel of the Food and Drug Administration’s outside vaccine advisers voted by a majority to back Pfizer’s request.
OK, this passed the panel, 17 for, 0 against and 1 abstention. One of the panel members (in a video bouncing around Twitter) can clearly be heard saying:
We’re never going to learn about how safe a vaccine is, unless we start giving it. That’s just the way it goes.”Techno Fog
I’ll ignore (for the time being) that (allegedly) the discussions acknowledged they have no idea about the long-term risks for kids – because I can’t confirm it with a video. We’ll see what emerges in due course.
Were there any misgivings about this nearly unanimous decision? Why Yes, there was.
Many of the panel’s members voiced concern over some unanswered questions over rare side effects from the vaccine, but sided with allowing parents to weigh the benefits and risks for their children.
“We should certainly not underestimate the knowledge and decision-making power of the public,” VRBPAC member Dr. Michael Nelson said, calling it “an access and really a personal choice and equity question, and not a mandate for all in this age.”
“Allow parents to weigh the benefits and risks for their children”?
“We should certainly not underestimate the knowledge and decision-making power of the public”?
“an access and really a personal choice and equity question, and not a mandate for all in this age”?
Bravo!, but I find the logic a little haphazard. Some of these same ‘parents’ and ‘public’ have had that same agency removed from them in whether or not to have the vaccine themselves.
Besides, such sentiments seem to be lost in translation as they cross the Pacific. We seem to ape the approval bit, and deep-six the “risks”, “personal choice” and “not a mandate” caveats placed on the approval. This is how it starts for we Australians. Someone does us a favour by allowing us access to a vaccine, then mission creep begins. Frankly, I don’t know what’s worse; being denied access to a potentially life-saving trial pharmaceutical, by some bureaucratic arseholes, or being forced to be injected with one, by the same bureaucratic arseholes.
Then we get this half admission from the New York Times:
“Parents and doctors alike are anxious to protect them“…in a time when cases are apparently dropping sharply? I’m in no doubt that there are anxious parents and doctors out there (hysteria seems the most prevalent symptom of Covid-19), but let’s hope that that protection extends to the potential side effects outlined by the FDA panel.
This is genuinely tragic, but let’s put some perspective around it. In the US, there have been (supposedly) 46,503,536 cases of Covid-19. That means that the 8,300 cases mentioned above represent 0.0178% of the total number of cases.
There have been 760,110 deaths (supposedly) of Covid-19. That means that the 100 child deaths represent 0.0132% of those deaths. I’m not sure either figure is a strong sales pitch under the circumstances, and I might be tempted to wager that adverse reaction numbers (cases and deaths) might outstrip them if the vaccine was administered across the entire US child population. Let’s hope the Australian authorities are numerically capable enough to comprehend this, before they clone the decision, and bastardise it into a mandate.
In closing, I wonder whether the Australian TGA had similar thoughts about “risks”, “personal choice” and “not a mandate” when they Provisionally Approved our current suite of vaccines for ages 12+? One might hope. If so, such quaint thoughts and ideas have certainly been hijacked.