The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could expand emergency use authorization (EUA) for use of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 mRNA vaccine to those 12 to 15 years of age as early as this coming week. And many medical doctors on social media have expressed eagerness to get their kids vaccinated.
For example, a surgeon, Callie Thompson, MD, an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Utah, cut to the chase with the following tweet:
And a nephrologist, Joel M. Topf, MD FACP, wasn’t kidney-ing by tweeting the following:
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Then there was this pulmonologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Avraham Z. Cooper, MD, who apparently won’t pass up getting his children vaccinated, not by a lung shot:
All of this is notable because as they say, actions speak louder than words. It’s not what you say; it’s what you do. People’s actions indicate their true sentiments. Actions are like a unitard. They tend to reveal what’s really happening.
These physicians are likely trying to show that they are backing words with actions. Presumably, they view protection of their own children as paramount and won’t give their kids something harmful. You don’t see too many parents saying, “hey, family, today we are going to experiment on you.”
By contrast, how many people selling various supplements and therapies that are not supported by scientific evidence are willing to use their products and treatments on their own family members?
Pfizer has already filed for a EUA for the 12 to 15 year age group and will probably seek a EUA for those two to 11 in September. When it comes to the safety and efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine, children don’t seem to be very different from adults.
Now some have argued that children are less likely to have bad outcomes when infected with the Covid-19 coronavirus. This may be true but the risk of bad outcomes is certainly not zero. Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that as of December 17, at least 172 children had died in the U.S. with around 1.3% of children with Covid-19 being hospitalized and 0.01% dying. Moreover, kids can be super-spreaders of the virus. Think about what kids may be touching and doing throughout the day. “Respect boundaries” may not be the first thing that you think of when imagine little kids and even teenagers. So expecting kids to stay six feet or one Denzel (because Denzel Washington is about six feet tall) away from each other at all times may be expecting a lot.
Also, the vaccine is not like a gigantic concrete full body condom. It offers good protection but the protection is not 100%. Even after getting fully vaccinated, you still have a chance of getting Covid-19. That why getting as many people as possible around you vaccinated will be important. Your risk of getting Covid-19 depends not only on whether you are fully vaccinated but also whether those around you are as well.
These days, when it comes to health matters, many people may listen more to political leaders and celebrities with no medical background than those who have spent much of their lives studying and practicing medicine. Isn’t that like saying, “hey, you look good in a swimsuit, why don’t you play quarterback for us in the Super Bowl,” or “hmm, who can represent us in this important trial? How about whoever takes the best selfies?” Would you really take medical advice from someone like FOX News host Tucker Carlson, whose lack of a scientific background hasn’t stopped him from doling out Covid-19 advice like a Cheez Whiz can, as I detailed previously for Forbes? If you want good health advice, instead find good and conscientious medical doctors who follow actual scientific evidence. And ask not only they tell you to do but also what they would do for themselves and their own families.