A Harvard professor of immunology who serves as a voting member of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory committee admitted Tuesday it won’t be clear whether vaccinating children against COVID-19 is safe until the shots are widely administered.
“We’re never gonna learn about how safe the vaccine is until we start giving it,” he said. “That’s just the way it goes.”
Dr. Eric Rubin’s comment was in response to the question:
Based on the totality of scientific evidence available, do the benefits of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine when administered as a 2-dose series outweigh its risks for use in children 5-11 years of age?
Rubin serves as one person on the 18-member Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.
Despite the concerning admission from the Harvard immunologist, the panel ultimately voted unanimously — save one abstention — in favor of recommending the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination for kids to be added to the ongoing emergency use authorization.
A full authorization from the FDA is expected in the near future with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considering the issue next week.
The Biden administration is pushing to make the shots available by early November.
Yale epidemiology professor Dr. Harvey Risch, who has been on several conservative outlets, said this week on Fox News that he would only recommend vaccination for children who have a chronic illness that makes them more susceptible to severe outcomes from infection. The vast majority of kids have no significant issues with a COVID-19 infection.
And in places that may mandate children to be inoculated, Risch encouraged parents to pull their kids from the school system and instead educate them at home.
“If it were my child, I would homeschool them, honestly,” he told host Mark Levin. “I would organize with other parents to take them out of the school and create homeschooling environments. There’s no choice. Your child’s life is on the line.”
“It’s not a high risk, vaccination is not a high risk that’s gonna kill every child by doing so,” Risch added. “However, it’s enough of a risk that on the average the benefit is higher for homeschooling than it is for vaccination in school. And that’s just the bottom line.”
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