Net Benefit of COVID-19 Vaccines in Children—Topic of Debate
According to scientists in The BMJ, the net benefit of vaccinating children is questionable, and vulnerable people worldwide should be addressed instead.
At the same time, others say that COVID-19 vaccinations have been approved for some children and that children should not be disadvantaged due to governmental decisions that obstruct worldwide immunization.
Dominic Wilkinson, Andrew Pollard, and Ilora Finlay argue that before a health system can give a kid any vaccine, two ethical concerns must be asked. First and foremost, do the advantages outweigh the risks? Second, if the vaccine is in short supply, is there anyone else who requires it more urgently?
According to them, careful consideration of both questions suggests that COVID-19 vaccines should not be given to otherwise healthy kids just yet.
They acknowledge that the benefits of vaccinations outweigh the infrequent adverse effects in older persons, and they most often do in children with certain chronic or acute severe conditions. Thus these children should have access to a vaccine.
However, they claim that we can be sure that some people in the UK are currently at a substantially higher risk of COVID-19 than healthy kids. In addition, most low-income countries have only vaccinated fewer than 5% of their population.
So, because of the scarcity, the vaccination priority must be given to those most at risk of dying. They conclude that the time will come when healthy children will be vaccinated, but that’s not just now.
However, according to Lisa Forsberg, a British Academy postdoctoral fellow in philosophy and law, and Anthony Skelton, an associate philosophy professor, immunizing children against COVID-19 protects them, and others, from infection-related harm and death.
They claim that the notion that children are less likely to be severely affected by COVID-19 infection and hence benefit less from a vaccine to prevent them is incorrect.
All in all, accepting the “austerity” narrative that children must wait until the world’s most vulnerable people can be vaccinated diverts attention away from the actual issue: profits are valued over lives.
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