Vaccine Decisions Belong to Parents. Period.

by Kerry Dougherty

This creepy promotion ought to make all of us uncomfortable. Pharmaceutical companies should back off any outreach to impressionable children and leave decisions about vaccinations where it belongs: With parents.

Stop trying to brainwash youngsters.

After all, the Pfizer vaccine has only been approved for children five to 11 for less than two weeks. Two senior officials at the FDA resigned in September, reportedly over the pressure that was being put on the agency to get this new and lightly tested vaccine into the arms of very young children.

Look, the decision to vaccinate kids against a disease that statistically poses no danger to them ought to be made by parents. Period. After all, Pfizer can claim the vaccine is safe after running trials on youngsters. But there is no way they can know what the long-term effects may be.

And that ought to be a major concern for the parents of minors with long lives ahead of them.

According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 27% of parents are “eager” to get their 5-11 year olds vaccinated. Another 31% said they will “wait and see” and a full 30% said “never.” Many of these parents were vaccinated themselves, by the way.

They have their reasons for being cautious.

After all, there are more than 28 million American kids in the 5 to 11 age group. According to the CDC, 42% have already had COVID. There were 8,300 children in that age group hospitalized since the beginning of the pandemic and 170 died. That means children have a .00029% chance of being hospitalized with Covid-19 and a .0000067% chance of dying.

I like those odds. If I had a kid in that age group, I’d pass on the vaccine.

For older Americans and those with co-morbidities, the risk/reward evaluation is different. The vaccine is worth the risk of adverse side effects to those who are in danger of becoming severely sick or even dying from COVID.

For most healthy children? Not so much.

The argument being used to get kids vaccinated is that the sooner they get the shots, the sooner we get back to normal.

Gee, where have we heard that before?

We were told the same thing last winter about adults and 10 months into this vaccination rollout it’s clear the vaccines are not as good as advertised. They don’t last and they don’t prevent people from transmitting or catching COVID. At best, they prevent severe illness and hospitalizations — something that is extremely rare in children.

Boosters are already needed and more will be recommended.

This push to vaccinate kids is unsettling. It’s starting to look less like a public health campaign and more like a scheme to enrich the pharmaceutical industry.

The one blessing of COVID-19 is that it has spared the children. So let’s stop with the propaganda — especially aimed at kids — and let parents make decisions that are best for their offspring.

This column has been republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.

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39 responses to “Vaccine Decisions Belong to Parents. Period.”

  1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    “This creepy promotion ought to make all of us uncomfortable.”

    What is creepy is that you Conservatives have such an issue with Big Bird and this perfectly legit PSA aimed to relieve the anxiety you are foisting on our kids.

    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      Not that I’ve watched much PBS for Kids lately, but I suspect this isn’t the first time it has promoted a vaccine or sought to relieve anxiety about shots.

  2. Steve Gillispie Avatar
    Steve Gillispie

    While you are at it, advocate vaccinating the 8 million (annually) illegal immigrants Biden is importing for whom he has exempted his vaccination mandates.

    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      Happily. Some might stay away! Agreed, that is proof he and his cohorts don’t actually believe most of what they claim. Their hypocrisy was a major factor in their recent loss. Like the private jets and lavish receptions at the Climate Catastrophe Industry Convention powered by UK coal plants. Or private school parents (which the McAuliffes certainly were when in Richmond) trying to impose ideology on the public schools.

  3. YellowstoneBound1948 Avatar

    I remember lining up in the school gymnasium for my “polio” shot. That was in 1954. There was no governmental coercion. The nation was so grateful to Dr. Salk (and later, Dr. Sabin) that no coercion was needed. Unless you lived through these times, you may not fully appreciate the nation’s fear of polio. And it was merited. Until I graduated from high school, there was never a year where there were not at least two classmates wearing iron on one of their legs.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Do you think the “government” was involved in getting that vaccine to the school and supporting the manpower and logistics to give the vaccine to the kids?

      Or do you think Dr. Salk himself did all of that by himself without the government?

  4. Ronnie Chappell Avatar
    Ronnie Chappell

    If we lived in a world in which big pharma never lied or skewed test results and the FDA was competent skepticism of a never-before used kind of vaccine, developed in record time, with approvals based on studies done by companies that benefit from selling them might be an overreaction. But these are the same people who told pregnant moms thalidomide was safe and that oxycontin wasn’t addictive. I’ve had the vaccine and the booster. I’m old. I’m not worried about a terrible impact that manifests itself in five or ten years. Given how small the risk of Covid is to kids, I’d think long and hard before agreeing to the shot. Other vaccines have been around for decades. This one hasn’t.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Did we EVER live in a time when that WAS true?

      Big Pharma has done what big pharma has done ever since there was a profit motive in drugs. There is nothing new. In fact, the FDA was created precisely because there was a problem with unsafe drugs… read the history.

      And as you point out, there WERE problems with vaccines – even POLIO but at the end of the day, believe DID believe the science and the govt did provide the shots and people did get them.

      The question is what happens if a terrible highly contagious disease that kills comes along and people no longer trust govt or science and too many refuse the vaccine?

      1. Stephen Haner Avatar
        Stephen Haner

        You mean, like, now….What I find interesting is the refusals are international, universal even, so you can’t blame it just on American politics.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          The “refusals” might well vary by country and actually involve access to the vaccine and yes, might involve literacy and level of education also.

        2. LarrytheG Avatar

          Ironically, the advent of the internet and social media promotes the spread of false information, disinformation, even conspiracy theories and what we are finding out is that way more people than we ever thought – WILL believe it

          and when they do , it has real consequences….

      2. Ronnie Chappell Avatar
        Ronnie Chappell

        More kids are dying in traffic accidents than from Covid. We vulnerable seniors can choose to protect ourselves by taking the vaccine.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          Would you believe that with regard to smallpox or polio or whatever the next contagious disease we might encounter?

          When people no longer believe science, what happens with newly emerging contagious diseases and public health efforts to vaccinate?

          In the age of the internet, we are seeing lies, disinformation, and conspiracy theories affect people’s thinking not in a good way at all…

          Perhaps it will take a really bad pandemic that will kill horrific numbers of people including kids before the pendulum swings back.

          1. Ronnie Chappell Avatar
            Ronnie Chappell

            Lots of people are looking at the science and opposing the vaccination of kids. Some for health reasons. Others — many of them scientists — because kids are at such low risk believe it unethical to vaccinate them when so many in Africa and the third world can’t get the vaccine. Reasonable people look at the science and reach different conclusions.

  5. William O'Keefe Avatar
    William O’Keefe

    Did anyone check to see if the government asked Pfizer to sponsor the ad? And as Steve Haner mentions, there is already a long list of required vaccines. Here’s the Virginia list– There are enough problems in society without created more just to be petulant.

  6. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    And admission the right of the State.

  7. Stephen Haner Avatar
    Stephen Haner

    So would you repeal the laws on the books already requiring various vaccines to attend public school? If that is different, how? The Delta variant clearly affects more kids than the Alpha did, and the natural course of evolution for such a virus is to sneak its way into the more resistant populations.

    I agree it should take General Assembly action to do the same for this shot, require it of students, unless state law gives that authority to the Health Commissioner. I don’t think it does.

    1. Ronnie Chappell Avatar
      Ronnie Chappell

      The truth is that other immunization mandates in the Commonwealth are not aggressively enforced. The religious exemption gives parents latitude to opt out. I don’t think people would object to a Covid mandate if handled the same way.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        If too many people refuse immunization, a pandemic will ensue… a small number can be accommodated and some harm will result but if too many do it – there is no way to control the infections.

        It’s just a simple reality of some kinds of contagious diseases that “we” apparently refuse to accept and want to blame on government or science – neither of which can change it.

    2. Matt Adams Avatar
      Matt Adams

      At current Immunizations for children are determined at the State Level, that is also where exemptions are granted as well. This vaccine should fall under the same process that generated those lists before it.

    3. LarrytheG Avatar

      yes. was exactly my thought. If we could re-litigate childhood vaccines for polio , smallpox, etc… and add in the idiocy about vaccines spouted by the “anti” folks, what would happen ?

      The next new contagious disease that infects kids – what happens with the Kerry types who do have kids?

      It’s like the basic fundamentals with respect to contagious diseases and public health has become the enemy of the people!

      Hard to believe such ignorance has become a “movement”.

      1. Not all infectious diseases pose the same risk. Therefore, the cost-benefit calculation for mandating vaccinations varies from disease to disease. Furthermore, some vaccinations are more effective at controlling the spread of their targeted than others.

        For example, in about one percent of polio infections, the polio virus affects the nervous system, causing weakness, paralysis and even death. In other words, the risk of adverse outcomes from a polio infection is significantly higher than for COVID-19. Along the same lines, the polio vaccine is highly effective, and it is a realistic expectation to extirpate the disease from vaccinated populations, something that is not true with COVID.

        I am not arguing here one way or the other regarding whether COVID vaccines should be mandated or not. I AM arguing against the simple-minded logic that, if we can mandate polio vaccines, we should therefore mandate COVID vaccinations as well. The cost-benefit calculations, and the tradeoffs between individual liberties and public health, are totally different. Vaccinations should be weighed on a case-by-case basis.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          re: ” Not all infectious diseases pose the same risk. Therefore, the cost-benefit calculation for mandating vaccinations varies from disease to disease. Furthermore, some vaccinations are more effective at controlling the spread of their targeted than others.”

          I agree with you.Who do we believe on these issues that we ourselves don’t know?

          re: ” the risk of adverse outcomes from a polio infection is significantly higher than for COVID-19. Along the same lines, the polio vaccine is highly effective, and it is a realistic expectation to extirpate the disease from vaccinated populations, something that is not true with COVID.”

          Again – HOW do you KNOW this and especially with a new contagious disease? Who do you believe?

          re: ” I AM arguing against the simple-minded logic that, if we can mandate polio vaccines, we should therefore mandate COVID vaccinations as well. The cost-benefit calculations, and the tradeoffs between individual liberties and public health, are totally different. Vaccinations should be weighed on a case-by-case basis.”

          It’s the very same premise, unless you think you know as much about COVID as you do about POLIO.

          Once more – if you do not believe public health experts and real epidemiologists, then who do you believe instead?

          The personal liberty thing is exactly the same premise no matter the disease – if – the public health experts are advising it – and you disagree with that because you do not believe them.


          You actually could make the same exact argument about POLIO and people actually DO – who say the risk to them being harmed by it is higher than them getting it… in their opinion – right?

          You’d decide who has better “opinions”?

  8. Stephen Haner Avatar
    Stephen Haner

    Kerry throws these things out and doesn’t join the discussion. Perhaps on her home site….

    So, just for the sake of debate, what about the flu shot? Flu when it takes hold kills lots of people, and flu transmission is often heavily centered on youngsters and schools. Yet we’ve never mandated a flu shot in schools (but some employers do mandate it, especially in the health field.) YES, I know, COVID is more problematic than flu. But the next pandemic (and there will be one) will likely be another version of flu, and a nasty one. The Gottlieb book is pretty scary on that point.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      There are other vaccines like for shingles… and one for HPV for teens that are available, but the difference is how contagious and how deadly.

      And the problem is from the get go , a lot of people claimed that COVID was no worse than the flu or a cold and that it was really a “hoax”.

      In fact, right here in BR, over and over, the point was made that just a tiny percentage of people actually died and most of them were old and not kids…

      How much of that narrative was really true?

      And why did so many people believe it was true?

      What if that happened with polio or smallpox?

      So this is not really about a contagious disease – it’s about whether or not people actually believe a contagious disease is such a threat that it requires the government to intervene and urge people to get the vaccine.

      The irony is that even some people who argued against the severity of COVID and joined opponents of the govt involvement – they still went out and got vaccinated – but they joined the anti voices also.

    2. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      About 80K in a really, really bad year. 1/10th. No comparison. Like comparing school mass shootings to school mass stabbings.

      Ebola is always possible. Sucker is hiding someplace. Haunta. Oh god, and bats! Bats carry some 17 viruses that make COVID look like a cold.

  9. LarrytheG Avatar

    Most parents, no disrespect, unless they are public health experts or epidemiologists – won’t have organic knowledge from which to make informed decisions.

    I know all of us like to think in a lot of matters that it is “our” decision – and it is , but the question is do you have the knowledge you need to make a good or correct decision and if you do not – then who would you consult to gain the knowledge you need to do that?

    This is really the same problem with how kids are taught… i.e. if your kid has a learning disability – would you even know what should be done to properly help ?

    Truth is , we are ALL ignorant – just on different subjects and that can include a lot of subjects.

    So what do we do when we don’t know?

    Who do we consult to become better educated when we don’t know?

    Unfortunately the answer to that these days is often word of mouth and social media.

    We respond with great insult and vigor but let me ask you – if your doctor told you that you had a cancer or a deadly disease or your kid did – would you know how to proceed? And if you did not, would you believe your doctor or not and if not, who would you then go to – to find out ?

    Anyone here in BR who is older than 40 or 50 knows these kinds of dilemmas… and also has had the circumstance when you realize you really do not know in issues in your own life. No such problems apparently with political or public health questions, apparently.. though…. for many….

  10. tmtfairfax Avatar

    I’m in the middle on this one.

    Please note that Section 22.1-271.2.C. of the Virginia Code already provides exceptions to the mandatory vaccination requirements. Shouldn’t that law control COVID-19 vaccinations? If not, why not? If you fit one of the exemptions, your kid need not be vaccinated. If you don’t, she or he must have the jabs. Case closed.

    “C. No certificate of immunization shall be required for the admission to school of any student if (i) the student or his parent submits an affidavit to the admitting official stating that the administration of immunizing agents conflicts with the student’s religious tenets or practices; or (ii) the school has written certification from a licensed physician, licensed nurse practitioner, or local health department that one or more of the required immunizations may be detrimental to the student’s health, indicating the specific nature and probable duration of the medical condition or circumstance that contraindicates immunization.”

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      You can do this for a small number and still achieve herd immunity if a large number get vaccinated. But it won’t work if a large number refuse to be vaccinated…then you would have a raging pandemic… and lots of deaths even among kids.

      Just imagine if … say 30% of parents refused the polio or smallpox vaccine for their kids ……….

      1. tmtfairfax Avatar

        What does this have to do with state law? There are two exceptions to the vaccination requirement and only two, everyone who makes a request for exception and provides the requisite information, gets the exemption. It has nothing to do with the number of requesting people or number of granted requests. If the law works for whooping cough, why won’t it work for COVID-19.

        I have a friend whose now college freshman daughter got very sick for multiple days after her second COVID-19 vaccination. The daughter and her mother will not get the booster. I would think her college would accept the medical reasons for the exception.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          it “works” because only a small number use it.

          If a larger number used it – then it would not work as well or at all because it takes a large number of vaccinated to shut down the disease.

          It’s fundamental to how vaccines “work” against contagious diseases.. Depending on the disease it takes 75% or more to get vaccinated. If many more refuse and the numbers go to 50%, the disease is not stopped and a pandemic ensues…

          We saw this – it happened …. we know what happens when not enough get vaccinated… it’s not a theory or belief – it’s a reality.

          1. tmtfairfax Avatar

            So what? First, based on prior experience, it’s unlikely a high number of parents will make a claim for exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine requirement to affect herd immunity. But, anyone who wants exemption and can meet the statutory standards, would be exempt irrespective of the impact on herd immunity. That is what the GA enacted into law. Let’s just follow the law as written unless and until the GA changes it. And even then, there needs to be a religious exemption under the Constitution.

          2. LarrytheG Avatar

            actually not… more and more of them are advocating for less restrictive exemptions.

            The point here is that laws and rules don’t determine how a disease “works” and yet people want to blame govt and science for the fact that many diseases WILL run rampant and do catastrophic harm if not enough people get vaccinated.

            It all depends on how many people don’t want to get vaccinated and once that number gets higher than what it takes to shut down the disease -you have an uncontrolled pandemic that can kill 10 times as many than if enough are vaccinated.

            Again – this is science – not a philosophy or opinion – unless you don’t believe the science….

          3. tmtfairfax Avatar

            I never wrote a thing about science. I’m vaccinated for damn near everything there is. I’ve had three COVID-19 jabs. Twice I received notifications that I was exposed to someone testing positive for the coronavirus. Soon thereafter, I got tested. They were negative. I wear masks where required. I follow health care providers’ requirements. I got my teeth cleaned today. I filled out the dentist’s online form, waited in the outer hallway until called and submitted to having my temperature checked.

            But the fact remains, state law generally requires students to be vaccinated before they attend class. There are two exceptions, one for religious reasons and the second for medical reasons. These should govern COVID-19 vaccinations. An exception for religious reasons is required by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and an exemption is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

            Why do you want to fight the law?

          4. LarrytheG Avatar

            I LIKE the law but I point out once again the practicalities of how many get vaccinated – or not – and that control of some contagious diseases very much depend on what percent of people get vaccinated – and THAT if people refuse to get vaccinated – in numbers , the govt may try to respond by mandating the sots.

            And it’s not because the govt is trying to deprive you of your liberty or force you to take a shot that is dangerous to you but that they are trying to achieve what it takes to shut-down a pandemic.

            It’s the numbers that drive the issue not govt nor science.

            Science tells us the numbers it believes are true – it does not make them up as a way to subjugate people.

            Govt believes the science and attempts to achieve the numbers that science says is necessary to achieve herd immunity.

            You say you did things -took actions – but why did you do these things?

            Did you believe the science that urged you to?

            How did you decide that you should?

            In my case, it was a no brainer. The very same people that told me I needed my childhood shots, my flu shots, my pneumonia shots told me I need COVID shots. There was no distrust of them and why would or should I?

          5. tmtfairfax Avatar

            Obviously, you (and I) have no religious or medical reasons not to get vaccines. I remember every August when I was kid going to get a physical exam and also to the dentist because my mother had to show that I had these exams and any required shots for me to attend school.

            But the fact remains, some people have a religious objection to vaccines and some doctors will advise their patient not to get a vaccine for some medical reason. Neither of those reasons are any evidence of distrust in science or doctors. Members of the Jehovah Witness refuse to accept a blood transfusion for religious reasons believing they are forbidden by Scripture.

          6. LarrytheG Avatar

            Yes. And again, I’ll say that we can do this as long as the numbers claiming exemptions remains small because in order to stop a contagious disease, it’s a numbers game in terms of how many get vaccinated.

            For instance, if we open up exemptions to be for any medical reason and any kind of religion claimed AND we have others who refuse for other reasons and it results in 40% not getting vaccinated – it impacts whether or not we control the virus.

            And there can be consequences in that those who do no get vaccinated may be required to be tested.

            I dunno if you’ve ever been overseas and had to get shots… have you?

  11. Arguments about whether children should be vaccinated or not aside, I am opposed to pharmaceutical companies targeting children with their advertising. If they want to run “vaccinate your child” advertisement campaigns aimed at parents I’m fine with that. However, I do not think coercing and/or frightening children into begging their parents to get them vaccinated is the right approach.

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