We love our children so much we will give them an investigational vaccine

From our nation’s greatest scientist… “Fauci: Vaccines for Kids as Young as First Graders Could Be Authorized by September” (ProPublica, Feb 11):

Children as young as first graders may be able to get the coronavirus vaccine by the time school starts in September, presuming trials are successful in those age groups, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with ProPublica.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has been “really advocating to try and make these trials happen with the same urgency that they happen for adults,” said Dr. Sean O’Leary, who is vice chair of its committee on infectious diseases.

It’s essential to act expeditiously, O’Leary said. “I would love to see a vaccine available for all children in time for the next school year.”

So a top pediatrician wants to stick kids as soon as the paperwork is dry from the laser printer. What do the folks who make vaccines say? From moderna (headquartered in the office building that formerly housed the MIT AI and CS labs; also, some of the precursors to the vaccine are being supplied by an MIT AI-lab spinoff that received $1.1 billion from the Trump administration):

If the product is not approved, what is it?

Moderna is committed to safety and ensuring that people have accurate information about the investigational Moderna COVID‑19 Vaccine, including how it is accessed and administered.

The effects are still being investigated, in other words, and the vaccine will actually become illegal to use if Uncle Joe declares that coronaplague is no longer an emergency, but if you’re old/fat/sick and worried about dying from COVID-19 maybe you still want it.

How about children? As noted in Maskachusetts: When people aren’t scared enough, change the Covid-19 dashboard, nobody under age 18 had ever died of/with COVID-19 in a heavily plagued state of 7 million through mid-August 2020. But it would appear that we need to revise Is it ethical for a physician to vaccinate a healthy 20-year-old against COVID-19? from age 20 down to age 6.

(For the record, as a somewhat old (57), somewhat fat (6′ tall and wallowing right about 200 lbs.) person I am mildly enthusiastic about vaccines for myself. On the other hand, when the dust settles, I think that the President of Tanzania will prove to have offered the wisest prediction: “If the white man was able to come up with vaccinations, he should have found a vaccination for Aids, cancer and TB by now,” said Mr Magufuli (BBC). Consistent with this leader’s prediction, I think that our fight with coronavirus will work out roughly the same as our fight with influenza. The BBC article itself is interesting. Tanzanians are stupid because they aren’t putting all of their energy, resources, and cash into fighting COVID-19. But roughly half of Tanzanians live on less than $2/day. If you lived on $2/day, would coronaplague be your #1 focus?)

[Update: I showed this post to a medical school professor friend. Who’s more like to be correct, Anthony Fauci or the President of Tanzania? “The Tanzanian.” Does it make sense to vaccinate schoolchildren against COVID-19? “Not from a medical point of view. We have no idea what these vaccines will do to their immune systems in the long run. It makes sense to vaccinate old people who have a substantial risk of being harmed by COVID-19.” Could vaccinating children cut down on the ability of the virus to mutate? “Yes,” he replied. “The more times the virus is replicating, the more potential for mutation.” (Which also means we’ll need border closures forever because inevitably there will be some countries where vaccination is uncommon and coronavirus is allowed to do whatever it wants?)]

5 thoughts on “We love our children so much we will give them an investigational vaccine

  1. Our children are no longer our own. The state has a greater interest in their health than their parents do. Time to break out the Foucault and revel in the collective body-politic now ruling over each individual body, as each of us is rendered a political body under the control not of our selves but of the collective body. Our new freedom is complete obedience to the dictates of health, where health is solely a collective ever-changing set of statistics as judged by bureaucrats. We live under Bentham’s panopticon, deprived of a private life. Our most intimate relationships and actions are under strict government control. Negro slaves had more bodily dignity in the cotton fields than a modern day traveller travelling via commercial airliner.

  2. > So a top pediatrician wants to stick kids as soon as the paperwork is dry from the laser printer.

    I know you are speaking metaphorically, but laser printers don’t use ink.

    > somewhat fat (6′ tall and wallowing right about 200 lbs.)

    I’m sure compared to your readers you are in fantastic shape.

    Anyway, I decided to get the Pfizer vaccine. My only side effect from the first dose was sleeping 12 hours that night instead of 8. No pain at the injection site and no chills.

    • SN: The fusing of the toner (a.k.a. “dry ink”, especially in the Xerox world) is not as good as it used to be! See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xerography : There also used to be available “offline” vapor fusers. These were trays covered in cotton gauze sprinkled with a volatile liquid, such as ether. When the transferred image was brought into proximity with the vapor from the evaporating liquid, the result was a perfectly fixed copy without any of the distortion or toner migration which can occur with the other methods. This method is no longer used due to emissions of fumes.

      In my experience, pages that are fresh from a modern laser printer are vulnerable to smearing. Pages that came out of the first laser printer that I used, the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xerox_9700 , were better fused (that machine probably weighed more than a car).

      (See https://www.support.xerox.com/en-us/article/en/1741320.html for the use of “dry ink” for what others might call “toner”)

  3. The ProPublica article concedes that children transmit Coronaplague only “to some extent”. According to this collection of studies, the role of children in spreading Coronaplague is “significantly lower” than that of adolescents and adults.

    Though serious, MIS-C is treatable and has a 98% survival rate. Its link with Coronaplague is “neither established nor well understood.”

    The article doesn’t even claim a strong case for vaccinating children, only “some inklings of hope”. One can only wonder why pediatricians are “really advocating” to perform medical experiments on children.

  4. > Could vaccinating children cut down on the ability of the virus to mutate? “Yes,” he replied. “The more times the virus is replicating, the more potential for mutation.”

    I thought that these vaccines don’t (indeed, aren’t expected to) produce sterilising immunity (i.e. prevent infection), but rather only prevent the worst disease outcomes?

    If the vaccine doesn’t prevent kids getting infected, then won’t they still be vectors for mutation? I would be curious to hear if your friend had factored this into his response.

    I guess to the extent that the vaccine reduces viral load, it will reduce potential for both mutation and transmission. But it doesn’t sound like children are typically carrying high viral loads anyway (e.g. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.01.15.21249691v2 and Lord Palmerston’s link re: the (non) role of children as spreaders).

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