Ladapo issued the recommendations regarding the COVID-19 vaccines for children on March 8. “Based on currently available data, healthy children aged five to 17 may not benefit from receiving the currently available COVID-19 vaccine,” he said. The surgeon general instead recommended the vaccine’s administration for children with underlying conditions.
“In general, healthy children with no significant underlying health conditions under 16 years old are at little to no risk of severe illness complications from COVID-19. For adolescents 16 to 17 years of age, the risk of myocarditis due to the COVID-19 vaccines may outweigh the benefits,” said the guidance. Instances of myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, have been linked to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that use mRNA technology.
The guidance also quoted the remarks of two experts working for the Food and Drug Administration regarding the COVID-19 vaccines. Dr. Mark Sawyer said: “We’re all concerned about the myocarditis issue, and I do think the model has overestimated the hospitalizations [in COVID-infected children] prevented.” Dr. James Hildreth, meanwhile, remarked that despite his belief in injecting high-risk children with the vaccine, “vaccinating all the children to achieve that just seems a bit much for [him.]”
Ladapo actually announced that he would release the recommendations a day before. “The Florida Department of Health is going to be the first to officially recommend against the COVID-19 vaccines for healthy children,” he said at the close of a March 7 roundtable in West Palm Beach organized by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“We’re kind of scraping at the bottom of the barrel, particularly with healthy kids, in terms of actually being able to quantify with any accuracy and any confidence the even potential of benefit.” (Related: Florida the first US state to recommend AGAINST COVID vaccines for healthy kids.)
Vaccine effectiveness dwindles for kids
The Sunshine State’s top health official cited several studies to back up his recommendation. Among them was a Feb. 28 paper done by researchers from the New York State Department of Health and State University of New York. The study authors analyzed vaccination data among children aged five to 17.
The researchers divided the data into two groups – the five- to 11-year-old cohort and the 12- to 17-year-old cohort. They then scrutinized data from the two cohorts between Dec. 13, 2021 and Jan. 30, 2022 – which coincided with a surge in COVID-19 infections driven by the B11529 omicron variant.
The vaccine’s ability to protect against omicron infection among children aged five to 11 dropped from 68 percent in December 2021 to a measly 12 percent a month later. Its ability to prevent hospitalizations for the same cohort dropped from 100 percent in December 2021 to 48 percent – more than half – come January of the following year.
The study authors also discovered the same results in the older cohort. The shot’s ability to protect against infection among children aged 12 to 17 dropped from 66 percent in December to 51 percent at the end of January. Protections against hospitalization also saw a decline, with 85 percent recorded in December to 73 percent the following month.
“There is limited evidence on the effectiveness of the [Pfizer] BNT162b2 vaccine for children, particularly those [aged five to 11] and after the omicron variant’s emergence. In the omicron era, the effectiveness against cases of [the Pfizer vaccine] declined rapidly,” wrote the study authors.
Nevertheless, Ladapo’s guidance on vaccines left the final say to both parents and medical professionals. “Florida recognizes that parents should always be empowered to make the best health decisions for their children. It is essential that health care practitioners review all data to evaluate risks and benefits unique to each patient when determining what health care services to provide, including the administration of COVID-19 vaccines,” Ladapo’s guidance stated.
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Watch Dr. Joseph Ladapo announcing his recommendation against the COVID-19 vaccine for children below.
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