With the onslaught of COVID-19-related news, how do we differentiate fact from the emergence of personal perspectives deemed as truth? Sometimes it feels as though we are living in one large satire, especially in regard to the proliferation of slogans such as: “I Choose Natural Immunity,” “Build My Immunity, Not the Shot,” and “Stop the Shot.”
In our most recent COVID-19 related debate — the vaccine’s verge of approval for children — polarized political tension is running as high as ever. According to the Oct. 26 NPR article “The Coronavirus Crisis” written by Joe Neel, “A panel for independent advisors to the FDA are recommending the agency issue an emergency authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old,” and concluded that “The FDA panel accepted Pfizer’s data indicating the vaccine is safe and 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 infections in this age group.” However, this information hasn’t appeared to alleviate any vaccine concerns, as parents of young children ultimately remain apprehensive.
Now, it should be noted that there is an elevated amount of emotion bound to vaccinating children. Anything from an academically esteemed article to the clamor of Facebook comment sections seem to echo a similar question — “Is it safe or necessary to vaccinate children for COVID-19?” According to a vast majority of doctors, the growing consensus is “yes.” However, this still leads to the question — will we trust the expertise of medical professionals?
In a recent New York Times opinion article titled “Yes, You’ll Want to Vaccinate Your Kids Against Covid: An Expert Explains Why,” guest writer and president of the Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Lee Beers, addresses the question of childhood vaccination. Beers initially tackles a concern regarding the vaccine — myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle. With regard to the risk of this disease, Beers points out that the possibility of developing myocarditis after a COVID-19 infection is much higher than the risk of developing it after the vaccine, proposing to the public that the vaccine is far safer than risking becoming sick with COVID-19. Beers goes on to illustrate the countless losses children have endured during this pandemic era — educationally, socially, and mentally — and writes that, “the COVID-19 vaccine offers a tangible opportunity for children to return to a more daily life.” Beers adds that “children are resilient, but they need stability, hope and confidence in the adults who care for them. While the brutal toll of the pandemic will reverberate for years to come, let’s make the choice to finally put children first.” Beers’ article rings as a passionate call to action from an expert pediatrician.
So while there is validity in the hesitations surrounding a new vaccine for children, it is also no secret that the world is eager to return to the normal facets of COVID-19-free life; it is simply a matter of who is willing to trust the experts and take the necessary steps to get there.
Lucy Woods is from
Rapid City, S.D..
Her major is undeclared.