Two recent studies reaffirmed the safety of the COVID vaccine for toddlers and infants, who have the highest COVID risk of all children. One study examined data from over 245,000 vaccine doses. It evaluated 23 safety outcomes, including myocarditis, pericarditis, and seizures and “did not detect a safety signal for any outcome during the 21 days after vaccination”. Another study examined 550,000 third vaccine doses given to children under 5 years. 8 serious adverse reactions were reported, though none were related to the vaccine.
Anyone concerned with vaccine-myocarditis has no reason to oppose the COVID vaccine in children under age 12.
A third study from Korea provided mostly reassuring news about vaccine-myocarditis in adolescents age 12-17. Out of 2,076,259 adolescents, there were just 78 cases of vaccine-myocarditis (1 in 26,500). The rate peaked at 1 in 19,000 for males. The authors wrote the condition was “was rare and showed relatively favorable clinical course” for 80% of patients. However, unlike other studies, 20% of patients had a severe reaction. Though severe myocarditis was rare- it affected 15 of the 2.1 million adolescents (1 in 138,000)- these children’s experiences should not be trivialized. Two teenagers had fulminant myocarditis, which must have been terrifying and horrible, though they both recovered from this literally one-in-a-million event. All 78 adolescents will have to be monitored over the long term. Fortunately, no adolescents died. (Further data on 42 million adults, including 21 who tragically died, is briefly presented here.)
Of course, the risks of the vaccine have to be balanced against the benefits of the vaccine and the risks of the virus, which hasn’t been as benign for all Korean children. Like everywhere else, grave outcomes are mercifully rare. However, an article from September 2022 reported that 46 Korean children died of COVID, 91% of whom were unvaccinated. One headline from August 2022 said, “Korea Reports 4 Deaths From Covid-19 Among Kids in July Alone“. Of course, death is not the only bad outcome from COVID. In one study of 753 Korean children who were hospitalized with COVID, 69% had no underlying conditions and 99.5% were unvaccinated. More Korean children would have suffered and died without the vaccine.
Overall, these three studies are entirely consistent with every study published thus far. The vaccine isn’t perfect, but it’s far safer than the virus for children. Previously, it would not have been controversial to argue that death is worse than a rare, usually “favorable” vaccine side-effect, or even a severe one.
Today, this belief makes me a very polarizing figure.