Discover more from Dystopian Down Under
Pfizer Covid vaccine gets the go-ahead for Australian babies and toddlers
Everyone gets a shot!
The Australian experts have spoken. Pfizer’s Covid vaccine has been provisionally approved for paediatric use, which means both the Moderna and Pfizer mRNA products are now on the table for the entire population of Australia (barring babies under 6 months old).
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) granted provisional approval for paediatric use of Pfizer’s COMIRNATY yesterday. The baton is now passed to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) to decide on whether it will be recommended to all babies, or just the at risk groups.
At the moment, Moderna is recommended to Australians under 5 who are at increased risk of severe Covid outcomes. Thus far, ATAGI has recommended Pfizer’s COMIRNATY to every age group for which it has been approved by the TGA, so we can expect an announcement of their recommendation of COMIRNATY for under 5s imminently. The question is whether ATAGI will recommend it just for ‘at risk’ under 5s, or all under 5s.
It’s surprisingly easy to qualify your toddler for Covid vaccination, by the way. I spoke with an operator on the children’s Covid vaccination helpline at the Perth Children’s Hospital today, who assured me that a GP referral is not required. You simply fill out a questionnaire and book your toddler in at any of the available clinics. There are 9 in my area alone.
Meanwhile the UK’s not giving Covid shots to anyone under 11 and Denmark’s not letting anyone under 50 shoot up. And in US, the shots for under 5s have tanked.
3 months into the rollout of Covid vaccination for American kids under 5, less than 2% have been double vaccinated. Even more interesting - of those who received the first shot, only about 3/10 continued with the second shot.
As Alex Berenson says, “Even Elmo couldn’t save the mRNAs.”
Dystopian, but in a good way.
So American parents are holding back. I’m not sure that Australian parents will, though. They’ve been pretty diligent at getting their 5-11-year-old offspring jabbed, with 54% of this age group having been double vaccinated.
Australian media are reporting on Covid vaccination for children uncritically. With the Pfizer approval, there’s a new messaging workaround for the fact that severe illness from Covid is not a threat to little kids. This line, and variations of it, have appeared in a number of mainstream media articles since yesterday:
“Pfizer says that while children are less likely to develop serious illness from COVID-19, they are still at risk of complications including long COVID-19.
Pfizer’s Australia and New Zealand medical director said children remain at higher risk of catching a disease that overlaps with COVID-19, including pneumonia and other upper respiratory tract infections.”
Pfizer says, eh? How anyone is not reading this as superb marketing spin for a product that’s not needed is beyond me. Then again, Petrified Covid Parents just want their children to be safe. People are much more accepting of pandemic profiteering when they’re frightened.
The TGA says of the approval,
“As seen with older age groups, it is expected that vaccines for younger children will provide protection from the most severe COVID-19 outcomes, such as hospitalisation and death.”
The problem with a statement like this, is lack of context.
How many toddlers do you need to vaccinate to prevent one Covid death? Infinity.
The below two tables show the Infection Fatality Rate (and therefore, the survival rate) of Covid in children, followed by the Number Needed to Vaccinate in order to prevent a Covid death. These numbers are based on official UK data and relate to the Delta wave, so the results will be generous towards the Covid vaccines, which have proven to be less effective against Omicron.
What we see is that the Covid survival rate for anyone under 20 years old is 99.9973%. With such an outlandishly high survival rate, the logical and ethical next step is to perform a risk:benefit analysis. The TGA glosses over this issue, stating that vaccine side effects in children are “mild” (just like Covid symptoms!). However, just as there are rare exceptions to the generalisation that Covid is mild in children, there are also exceptions to the generalisation that vaccine side effects are mild. The TGA overplays the risks from Covid to children while ignoring the risks of vaccine side effects.
As there is an opportunity cost to the purchase and roll out of Covid vaccines to small children, there should also be a cost:benefit analysis to assess whether this use of public funds is providing the maximum possible number of lives (and severe outcomes) saved from all the possible causes of death and severe health outcomes to children. I don’t expect we’ll see anything of the sort from any of our official bodies, because, you know, emergency!
Now for the part where I speculate
My feeling is that the tide is turning, but it’s going to take a little while longer. There are at least some Petrified Covid Parents eagerly awaiting the broader paediatric vaccine roll out, if social media comments are any indication. Australians are very compliant and trusting of ‘official’ sources. They also like to do (or be seen to be doing) the right thing. If the government and doctors start recommending Covid vaccines for babies, it’s likely that many parents will follow suit.
I don’t think sharing information about the lack of efficacy or potential risks of these products will make much of a dent in the resolve of the parents who intend to vaccinate their little kids.
As Steve Kirsch noted in a recent Substack, some people just won’t look. In other cases, it’s misinformation by association. Last year I was debating the benefits of lockdowns with a friend - she thought they were necessary and effective, I thought they were the worst idea since canned meat. I mentioned the Great Barrington Declaration, to which she waved her hand and said, ‘oh but that was put out by climate change deniers.’ To people who slide easily into ad hominem rebuttals of this sort, you can show them all the data in the world, but it won’t be the right data. Finally, there are those who have internalised Safe New World dogma such that it is now their very identity. As the internet’s most astute feline explained yesterday, to these people, an alternate viewpoint is an existential threat which must be extinguished as a matter of survival.
Unfortunately, it seems that many people will only entertain an alternate viewpoint when they or someone they love gets badly hurt, or dies. I know a case, for example, of a father who was partially blinded from his first Pfizer shot, and so has held back from injecting his kids. Similarly, Aseem Malhotra only considered that there might be more to the ‘anti-vax propaganda’ after his vaccinated dad’s strange cardiac death. It will also help if highly regarded experts who change their minds about Covid vaccines go through the process publicly, as Malhotra has just done. It’s easy to cancel respected experts one by one, but it will get harder and harder to cancel them if they speak in unison.
Senator Gerard Rennick is one of the few politicians to be very vocal on the Covid vaccine safety and quality assurance. He is largely ignored in parliament and in the press, but he is doggedly persistent and his audience appears to be growing. Watch Rennick address the parliament on the importance of vaccine quality assurance below. His broad accent and colloquial turn of phrase makes viewing rather entertaining (“Some of the press cracked it last time…)
Investigative medical reporter Maryanne Demasi provides insightful analysis of Covid and vaccine related developments both in Australia and globally. Read her report on US approvals for paediatric Covid vaccination below:
Jessica Rose, whose qualifications include immunology and applied mathematics, provides some of the best data analysis out there on Covid vaccine safety and efficacy. In the below post she notes, “Breast-feeding mothers, infants and pregnant women were in the exclusion criteria list for the phase III clinical trials of both Pfizer and Moderna. Therefore, there is no way to predict the effects on individuals in these contexts.”
Thanks for your interest :)