The United Kingdom has approved a dose of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for all children aged 12-15 years old. The vaccine is mainly administered within the education system. The school is helping to coordinate the promotion, including the consent process. Children under 16 need parental consent to be vaccinated.
Unfortunately, schools, parents and teenagers have also become victims of the anti-vaccination misinformation campaign. For example, a fake vaccine consent form was recently sent to many British schools in late September 2021. According to reports, it arrived via an email disguised as from the NHS, and some schools believed it was authentic and sent it to parents and guardians.
The form contains a lot of false information, apparently designed to discourage parental consent by describing vaccines as less safe and effective than them. If you are a parent who provides a COVID-19 vaccine to your child, here is what you should know.
Vaccines are highly safe and effective
The fake form states that the vaccine “may” reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms in infected people. It also stated that it “may not” prevent individuals from spreading it. Although not strictly wrong, it is misleading in terms of its emphasis.
There is evidence that the vaccine is extremely effective in preventing hospitalization and death, and greatly reduces the spread of the virus. New evidence awaiting review by other scientists suggests that this is still the case with delta variants.
The falsified form also stated that “the chance of death after vaccination was 1 in 29,389”, and then claimed that the actual risk may be ten times higher. The source of this statement has not been cited. The statement is probably basically fabricated.
Looking at the data used to calculate this statistic, it seems to use data from the Yellow Card Reporting System, an online tool that people can use to report adverse events (including deaths) that people have experienced after a period of time. COVID-19 vaccination. At the time of writing, 1,682 such deaths have been recorded, out of 94 million doses administered.
This system is an excellent way to discover possible security issues. But people do not need to prove that deaths are related to vaccines to record them. Death after vaccination may occur due to various unrelated reasons. Crucially, the British drug regulator stated that its review of these reports “does not show that vaccines played a role in these deaths.”
The fake form also claims the side effects of the vaccine. Some are fake. There is no evidence that the vaccine can cause blindness or deafness. The other side effects mentioned—such as stroke and coagulopathy—are related to the vaccine, and some people have died. But what the table does not mention is that they are very rare.
For example, for every one million doses of the first dose of vaccine, approximately 15 people are affected by blood clots. It is worth noting that if you are infected with COVID-19, the risk of developing a blood clot or stroke is much higher. In addition, in the UK, blood clots are related to the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not used in adolescents, and there does not appear to be any reports of blood clots (or deaths that may be related to it) in children under 18 years of age.
The mRNA vaccine (the vaccine produced by Pfizer and Moderna) also has a potential side effect, but the false table does not mention it, that is myocarditis or heart inflammation. Preliminary data in the United States indicate that it is also very rare, and more common in adolescents than adults, more common in men, and more common after the second but not the first vaccination. There are 43 cases for every million second doses of Pfizer vaccine given to boys aged 12-15. After analyzing all reported cases under the age of 18, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that none of the cases resulted in death.
This is why, until there is more information about the link between vaccines and myocarditis, the government only vaccinates people between 12 and 15 years old in the UK with one dose of Pfizer vaccine.
Benefits not even across ages
Those who oppose vaccination among young people generally complain that children have a low risk of serious illness or death due to COVID-19. The fake consent form implies this.
In fact, the government’s vaccine advisory committee has admitted that it is difficult to accurately measure the exact balance between the risks and benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine for children 12 to 15 years old who have no underlying health conditions. The threat of this disease at this age is very low, and the vaccine has some very rare side effects.
However, the child has died of COVID-19. There are other consequences of children being infected, such as hospitalization, long-term infection with the new coronavirus, interruption of education and the spread of the virus. Vaccination can reduce all these risks.
It is this combination of factors that led the chief medical officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to jointly recommend to the government that all children between 12 and 15 years of age should be vaccinated. Although the benefits of vaccination are not as obvious in young people as in older people, vaccines are still clearly beneficial.
Many countries in Europe and North America have formulated similar policies and have injected millions of doses into teenagers.
School is now the target of anti-vaxxer
COVID-19 will almost inevitably become an endemic disease and will continue to spread among humans in the coming years. A high level of protection for the population is essential to reduce the burden of the virus. Vaccines are definitely the safest way to achieve this goal.
Therefore, sending forged documents claiming to be from the NHS is unethical and hateful. It may dissuade some parents from agreeing to their children to be vaccinated for the wrong reasons, thereby undermining public health.
Obviously, British schools are caught up in a very unpleasant campaign against youth vaccinations. In addition to misinformation, there are protests, threats of injury, and legal threats to schools and principals.
We should respond to these behaviors by providing parents with the most accurate information about the COVID-19 vaccine, so that they can decide what is best for their children’s health-this decision will not be deceived by misinformation.