The incredibly efficient disinformation machine was already in full effect before an advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted Tuesday to grant emergency use authorization for Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine to be given to children ages 5 to 11. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on the decision that same day. Now the disinformation is likely to only intensify.
For every nine children vaccinated, one case of Covid-19 in children 5-11 is prevented.
As dishonest forces attempt to manipulate the emotions of parents who have struggled to keep their children safe over the last 20 months, a new wave of lies is making its way into American households. The most common myths are shot down here as we highlight the science and evidence that has caused the vaccine to be endorsed by every major medical association, including the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Myth 1: This vaccine was rushed and, therefore, millions of young children are about to become lab experiments.
The Covid-19 vaccines, particularly the mRNA ones, have been administered to hundreds of millions of Americans over age 12 for over 10 months. Combined with real world data from additional countries, such as Israel and the United Kingdom, we now have more information than ever collected on a vaccine.
The majority of negative reactions, even the most serious and rare events, happen within days to weeks of inoculation. This means that children are not lab experiments, but are having their immune systems bolstered by a vaccine, which an ever growing body of evidence shows is safe and effective.
In the clinical trials, no serious adverse events were recorded in children 5-11. The CDC and Food and Drug Administration have established additional data monitoring systems to ensure that at the earliest sign of any issues, clinicians and families will have information as rapidly as possible. The only experiment being conducted is the effect lies have on discouraging a population from accessing a lifesaving intervention.
Myth 2: The vaccine is more dangerous than Covid-19 itself.
The rate of hospitalization and death among children compared to adults with Covid-19 is smaller, leading to the false narrative that the disease is mild and does not warrant a vaccine. The statistics tell a different story. More than 1.9 million children between 5-11 have been infected, 8,300 hospitalized and 94 have died. Covid-19 is one of the top 10 causes of death for that age group.
Hospitalizations are not limited to children with chronic conditions either. A third of hospitalized children had no other medical problems, a statistic that underscores the unpredictability of the coronavirus. A majority of cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) are in this age group, and can be serious or even fatal. These numbers do not include the long-term effects of Covid. Nor do they include the impact of infections to others in a household where people might be at a higher risk of hospitalization and death.
Myth 3: If your child has had Covid-19, they do not need the vaccine.
An estimated 38 percent of children have evidence of Covid-19 antibodies in their blood, indicating past infection. This is a higher percentage than adults (which is approximately 20 percent) but the duration of that immunity is uncertain, and vaccination following infection increases protection to cover more current variants. Tests that show past infection are also flawed, with variability depending on the type of test performed. That makes any clinical decisions based on such results almost impossible. Natural immunity alone does not protect children in the community especially in light of the highly transmissible delta variant.
The only experiment being conducted is the effect lies have on discouraging a population from accessing a lifesaving intervention.
Myth 4: The rate of serious side effects from the vaccine are underreported.
Inflammation of the heart muscle, or myocarditis, emerged as an incredibly rare side effect, especially for young men, of the mRNA vaccines. That finding led to a series of misleading viral social media posts from members of Congress who leveraged lies to discourage hundreds of thousands of people from taking simple steps to help them avoid death and hospitalizations.
Exhaustive data collection has revealed that among 86 million doses of mRNA Covid-19 vaccines, there have been no deaths linked to the vaccine and the majority of cases fully recovered within three months. The CDC estimates that it would most likely occur at a much lower rate in children getting the vaccine since the dose administered is a third of the full dose, and young children are less prone to inflammation of the heart.
Myth 5: The vaccine will change children’s DNA.
This is a favorite of vaccine fear-mongers who have made posts on social media sites that wreak havoc before they are fact-checked and removed from the internet. Both the Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines use messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, which means they contain a message for human cells to make proteins that mimic part of the novel coronavirus. The instructions in the messenger RNA spur the immune system into action, turning the body’s natural immune system into a Covid-fighting factory. No actual virus is contained in the vaccines, and there is no evidence of the vaccine in the bloodstream.
Vaccination is the most consistent and reliable way to protect children, the communities they live in and the households that will come together for long delayed holiday celebrations and family reunions. For every nine children vaccinated, one case of Covid-19 in children 5-11 is prevented. This translates to open schools, hopeful holidays and healthy families. During the coming weeks, we will inevitably see disinformation in spades, but let us hope that science and transparency can create an immunity against the potentially deadly lies.