COVID Shots for Tots? Leave It up to Parents

December 1, 2021

Over the course of 2021, we've heard a steady drumbeat about getting the COVID-19 shot from the Biden administration and from the mainstream media that began softly but has steadily increased in intensity. In the last few months, Biden and the media have tossed aside the drum and are now using a bullhorn: every American, without exception, must get the COVID-19 shot. Some state officials are now beginning to fall in line with this pronouncement by mandating the shot for children, following the FDA's emergency use authorization last month of Pfizer's COVID shot for children ages five to 11.

As questions swirl about the new Omicron COVID variant (like the obvious question of, "What good does a year-old vaccine do if we are now dealing with newly discovered variants?"), more basic questions have gone unaddressed about the rights that parents have to decide what is best for their children's health.

As the pressure builds for universal mandates from the Biden administration, more and more medical groups are raising their voices in concern. The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) recently announced their support for "parental choice over narrow mandates." Dr. Russell Gombosi, a member of ACPeds' Board of Directors, joined "Washington Watch" to discuss their opposition to mandating COVID shots for children.

"Children tend to do very well with COVID," Gombosi pointed out. "It tends to be a mild illness, and a generally healthy child is going to get through the illness without significant complications. Now, that's certainly not true of everyone, and those with preexisting conditions also are at higher risk. And so it's not to minimize it completely because there are some deaths, but in a way it's similar to influenza. And we don't mandate influenza vaccinations."

Gombosi went on to underscore the robustness and effectiveness against transmission that natural immunity offers. "The mRNA vaccines target one specific spike protein, whereas [with] natural immunity, you are getting T cell immunity, B cell immunity, and mucosal immunity. The mucosa is part of your nose and respiratory passage, which is how the virus enters your system in the first place. And the vaccine really doesn't do anything for that type of immunity. And so being vaccinated doesn't really serve the purpose of doing a lot to prevent transmission to others, which is one of the big arguments for getting the whole public vaccinated."

Perhaps even more maddening is the fact that highly legitimate concerns about adverse health effects from the COVID shot are consistently brushed aside. "Let's not forget, in children, there [are] studies showing [that] cardiomyopathy can result after vaccination in teenagers and young adults, primarily boys and young men," Gombosi said. "That kind of pro-inflammatory or autoimmune result is cause [for] valid concern. One of the problems is if you have had a recent COVID infection and you get vaccinated, you're also at significant higher risk of having a complication of the vaccine."

Still, Gombosi was quick to make it clear that ACPeds is not opposed to the COVID shot in principle. "We're not opposed to vaccines in general ... It's just that in this certain circumstance, we don't have long-term experience. And to mandate something without such long-term experience, I think is a step too far from a medical standpoint."

But beyond these practical concerns about long-term health effects lies a more fundamental concern. Looming mandates for children fall exactly in line with the Biden administration's general philosophy of siphoning away parental rights one by one. First it was their "Plan to Take Over American Families," then it was their targeting of parents concerned about critical race theory and transgenderism in public schools, and now it's about forcing a substance into the little bodies of children regardless of their parent's wishes. It's clear that the Biden administration wants to enforce a one-size-fits-all policy on our nation's children. But families know better -- it is parents that know their children most intimately and know best how to meet their individual needs.