Data from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that the risk of mortality from COVID in children aged 0-14 years is lower than seasonal influenza, motor vehicle accidents, and drowning.
Influenza poses a Higher Risk
Children are also very unlikely to be hospitalized or have a severe case of COVID-19. Lifetime seasonal flu presents a higher risk.
The risks of severe illness and death from COVID for children have not been put in the context of other risks. At this time, many parents are terrified and worried that their child will get COVID. Putting COVID in the context of other risks may help change parents’ perspective and also question whether making COVID vaccines mandatory for children is the right decision.
When it comes to moral hazard for children, COVID-19 has a lower annual mortality risk than motor vehicle accidents, influenza, and, for children aged 5-14 years, suicide (Leonhardt, 2021). In fact, the COVID survival rate for people under age 19 according to a recent preprint study by two Stanford scientists is nearly 100 percent.
Seroprevalence data from eight locations worldwide: England, France; Ireland; Netherlands; Spain; Atlands, USA; New York, USA; Geneva, Switzerland, show that the mortality rate from infection for children aged 0 to 9 years is less than 1 in 200,000 (less than 5 in 1 million) and 1 / 55,000 for those aged 10 to 19 years. (See Attachment 1 at the End)
Even the risk of hospitalization as a result of COVID infection is quite low. If infected with COVID-19, children aged 0 to 9 years have on average a 0.1% or 1/1000 chance of being hospitalized and, for ages 11 to 19 years, a 0.2% or 1/500 chance of being admitted to the hospital (Herrera -Esposito, 2021).
In Canada, as of May 28, 2021, there were 259,308 confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 infections in Canadians aged 19 years or younger. Of these, 0.48% were hospitalized, 0.06% were admitted to ICU, and 0.004% died. Based on these data, seasonal influenza is associated with more severe illness than COVID-19. (See Attachment 2 at the End)
Given Canada’s numbers, the discussion of “keeping kids safe at school” is not a policy concern if it was not for seasonal flu.
Deaths from Myocarditis after COVID Vaccination
Compared to the vaccine, a University of California study shows that the risk of myocarditis is higher after two doses of the Pfizer vaccine than being hospitalized for COVID in children aged 12 to 15 years. The research was led by epidemiologist Dr. Tracy Høeg, an epidemiologist who studies the effect of COVID in children.
There have been several reports of death from myocarditis following COVID vaccination, including a 13-year-old Michigan boy who died on June 16, three days after receiving his second dose of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine. Preliminary autopsy results indicated that after vaccination his heart was enlarged and surrounded by fluid.
On September 22, Høeg testified before the U.S. House of Representatives and provided an excellent summary of the latest data on COVID and children. In it, he cites data illustrating that drowning, traffic accidents, homicides, cancer, cardiovascular disease, influenza and suffocation are major threats to child mortality.
“I believe that our country’s failure to conduct a risk-benefit analysis, as well as good scientific studies of the interventions we imposed on children to mitigate a disease, has created numerous additional and preventable public health crises in our youth. For a relatively forgiving disease, this generation has suffered an incredible amount during the pandemic and, unfortunately, the effects of this will likely travel with them for the rest of their lives” – Dr. Tracy Høeg
Sunetra Gupta, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, Carl Heneghan, an NHS urgent care physician and professor of evidence-based medicine at the University of Oxford, as well as Alberto Giubilini, a senior research fellow in infectious diseases at Oxford, make their position on vaccinating children quite clear below. They published an opinion piece in the European Journal of Medical Ethics in July 2021, explaining why children should not be required or encouraged to take the COVID-19 vaccine:
The risks of COVID-19 for children and young people are minimal. For example, in the US, UK, Italy, Germany, Spain, France, and South Korea, COVID-19 deaths in children remained rare until February 2021 (i.e., as of the time the study had data available on ), at 0.17 per 100 000 population. The long-term risks of the new COVID-19 vaccines in a population of millions of children are unknown at this time, given that the clinical trials involved a few thousand subjects over a period of a few months.
Vaccinating children would be a way of treating them as a mere means to serve other people’s interests or some form of collective good. We already did this through indiscriminate closures and other restrictions, such as school closures. Using children as a means or even mere means in this way is not necessarily wrong, but it can only be justified if the cost imposed is small enough and the benefit great enough. Unfortunately, the currently available COVID-19 vaccines do not meet either condition, given our current state of knowledge. Vaccinating children would only pose risks to them without any substantial direct benefit.
1. The Risks to Children from COVID-19 and the Disproportionate Price they have Paid
2. Why Parents, Teens, and Children Should Question the COVID-19 Vaccine