The petition came after the country's immunization advisory body approved the use of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on children in that age group.
Under the headline "Immediately Stop COVID-19 Vaccines for children aged 12-16," the petition gathered 108,892 signatures before closing on Sept. 1. The petitioners were claiming that the mass vaccination of children would be a "gamble" on their lives.
The vaccine, now marketed as Comirnaty, had been granted full approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years and older. The vaccine continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA) only for individuals below 16 years old. (Related: Mainstream media, Biden administration collude to trick Americans into taking deadly COVID-19 "vaccines.")
"There is no short-, medium- or long-term data to support the benefits outweigh the risk for this age group, this is a gamble on children's lives and the largest experiment known to man," the petition noted.
"Data shows the vaccine is not stopping transmission, so why do our children need it? The data available from VAERS [Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System] shows there have been 15,308 adverse reactions to the vaccine recorded in children between the ages of 6 and 17. The vaccines are in experimental phase – trials are incomplete, and approvals were given without complete safety and efficacy data being available."
It also presented data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which found infection and death rates for young Americans (aged 0 to 15) were significantly lower than other age groups.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI) last week recommended Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for young Australians. It is the only COVID-19 vaccine that ATAGI has approved for Australian children, with a recommendation that they receive a two-dose schedule.
From Sept. 13, Australian parents will be able to book their children in to receive a COVID-19 vaccine through GP clinics, Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organizations. The state governments will coordinate access to this age group through their vaccine clinics respectively.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has backed the move, saying that it would speed up the vaccination rate of the entire population.
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said more children were being infected in 2021, partly because more adults were being vaccinated. "While the numbers are there and we are finding cases in children, most are in family clusters, some have been related to school clusters," he said. "But almost entirely, the disease in children is much less severe than it is in adults."
Kelly said ATAGI's careful assessment of potential risks was crucial.
"There have been some concerns about side-effects in younger people for mRNA vaccines, particularly related to myocarditis, so the heart muscle and the surrounds of the heart muscle can get some inflammation. But ATAGI has done their due diligence in relation to that and have made that decision as they always do looking at risk and benefit, and has fallen on the side of benefit."
A study published by the CDC on July 30 found that 397 children between the ages of 12 and 17 were diagnosed with myocarditis after receiving Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.
The condition occurred mostly in young boys. Heart inflammation was not identified as an adverse reaction during the safety trials for the vaccine.
Myocarditis is a condition that involves inflammation of the heart muscle. Symptoms can include fever and fatigue, as well as shortness of breath and a very specific type of chest pain. Patients tend to say their chest hurts more when they lean forward.
A cardiologist who treated a boy suffering from myocarditis after receiving his first dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine told the child's mother that "no case of myocarditis is mild."
Fourteen-year-old Aiden Jo received his first dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on May 12. On June 10, he woke up in the middle of the night complaining of chest pain and difficulty breathing. The boy's mother, Emily, rushed him to the hospital where he was ultimately treated for myocarditis. Emily said she had been under the impression that the adverse effects of COVID-19 vaccines are rare and mild.
"What they didn't explain is that mild means hospital care and follow-up care indefinitely," she said. "They're not explaining what mild myocarditis means. Aiden's cardiologist told us no case of myocarditis is mild. That's like saying a heart attack is mild."
Myocarditis reduces your heart's ability to pump and can cause rapid or abnormal heartbeats. It can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure and sudden cardiac death.
Aiden is now forced to sit out gym activities, skip recess and avoid running around and playing outside with his friends due to how easily he gets tired and how poorly his heart can handle the stress of activity. His mother also faces thousands of dollars in medical care. (Related: Exclusive: Athlete who recovered from COVID facing 'very different future' after second dose of Pfizer vaccine triggers myocarditis.)
"We have incurred thousands and thousands of dollars in medical bills. We have insurance but they don't pay all. It does not account for tests down the road that we still have to get," Emily said.
Follow Immunization.news for more news and information related to coronavirus vaccines.