To Vaccinate Children or Not?

  • By Chosun Ilbo columnist Kim Min-cheol

    September 16, 2021 13:33

    During the swine flu pandemic in 2009, some children in Sweden and Finland who were given the vaccine came down with narcolepsy, a rare brain condition that causes a person to suddenly fall asleep at inappropriate times. The World Health Organization launched a study and announced in 2011 that children who had the vaccine were nine times more likely to suffer from narcolepsy than those who did not, so the vaccine was pulled. But researchers have yet to find a direct link between the H1N1 vaccine and narcolepsy.

    Something similar might happen again. Some male teenagers in the U.S. and Canada who had the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines are experiencing acute myocarditis or inflammation of the heart muscle. A team of researchers at California State University studied side effects and found that boys aged 12 to 15 are four to six times more likely to be diagnosed with myocarditis than be hospitalized for COVID-19. The team estimated 162.2 out of a million boys aged 12 to 15 and 94 out of a million boys aged 16 to 17 developed myocarditis after being fully vaccinated with Pfizer shots. The estimate for girls was 13.4 for every million aged 12 to 15 and 13 out of a million aged 16 to 17. According to Canadian statistics for men aged 30 or below, those who received Moderna vaccine shots were 2.5 times more likely to develop myocarditis than those who got the Pfizer injection.

    As a result, there is considerable controversy in the U.S. about the pluses and minuses for giving children the jab. Looking only at COVID-19 infections, perhaps the vaccine is preferable, but the chances of side effects are much higher than the chances of getting hospitalized with coronavirus.

    Starting next week, the U.K. will vaccinate children aged 12 to 15, but they will initially be given only a first shot, on the assumption that it delivers most of the benefits of vaccination, while the second jab raises the risk of myocarditis. At present, the U.S., Canada, Israel and South Africa administer coronavirus vaccine shots to children and teens. But according health experts, myocarditis developed by teens due to coronavirus vaccine injections is not fatal and can heal naturally.

    The Korean government is preparing to administer coronavirus vaccine shots to teens aged 12 to 17 and pregnant women in the fourth quarter. But although the government said it believes the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, it promised not to force teens to get the jab. But how will ordinary parents without medical knowledge be able to choose? It would be proper for the government to listen to the opinions of experts and take responsibility for convincing the young.

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