The former face of Australia’s Covid vaccination campaign is urging state governments to exclude children under 12 from jab mandates, pointing towards the increased risk for young boys of developing a heart condition from the vaccine.
Dr Nick Coatsworth told news.com the risk of severe illness for children who contract coronavirus remains low, so parents should be within their rights to wait until more data is available before agreeing to get their kids vaccinated.
Australia’s former deputy chief medical officer said he remains a strong proponent of vaccination for adults and teenagers, but added young boys may be more at risk of developing side effects like myocarditis – a condition which causes swelling of the heart muscle.
Nick Coatsworth (pictured), the former face of Australia’s Covid vaccination campaign, is urging state governments to exclude children under 12 from jab mandates, insisting the decision should be left up to parents
‘Whilst I encourage parents to vaccinate their 12-15 year-old children, the risk of myocarditis especially in young boys is sufficient that parents have every right to wait for more data or to decline vaccination,’ he said.
‘In doing so, the child must not then be subject to differential public health treatment which is effectively ‘mandating’ by regulation.’
Vaccine producer Moderna started inoculating children with lower doses in the US this week after successful trials showed positive results.
Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration this month gave Moderna’s SPIKEVAX ‘provisional determination’ for use in kids aged six to 11.
While doses are not allowed to be administered to young children yet, a rollout is expected to occur sometime into the new year.
Pharmacist Chloe Langfield gives Georgia Meir, aged 14, her first dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccination at Cooleman Court Pharmacy in Canberra
Dr Coatsworth is adamant the vaccination should not be made mandatory for children as it has been in Victoria, where 12-15 year olds must get the jab or face being locked out of community sports groups as well as other activities.
He said the legislation breaches the ‘fundamental ethical principle of autonomy’ by differentiating the treatment of unvaccinated children.
‘It is of deep concern that Victorian public health officials are making these decisions, and is prima facie evidence why the pandemic bill in Victoria requires more opportunities for parliamentary oversight and administrative appeals against these decisions,’ Dr Coatsworth said.
A study in October concluded younger males aged 16 and 29 are at an increased risk of developing Myocarditis than other groups after getting the Pfizer or Moderna jab.
A New England Journal of Medicine study conducted in Israel estimated about 11 out of every 100,000 males developed the rare side effect after the second dose, with most cases being very mild.
In comparison, there have been more than 27,000 Covid cases in Australia of children aged nine and under, with 2.5 per cent of them needing to be hospitalised for the potentially deadly virus.
Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration this month gave Moderna’s SPIKEVAX ‘provisional determination’ for use in kids aged six to 11
But before kids as young as six can receive the Covid vaccination it still needs full approval by the TGA.
‘In making its decision to grant Moderna a provisional determination, the TGA considered evidence of a plan to submit comprehensive clinical data in relation to use in children,’ the TGA said in a statement.
‘The TGA also considered infections in children and the impacts of Covid-19 in relation to children’s participation in school and sporting activities.
‘Moderna Australia has now submitted data for provisional approval and the TGA is assessing the use of SPIKEVAX in children 6 to 11 years old.’
WHY VACCINES ARE IMPORTANT
Immunisation is a simple, safe and effective way of protecting people against harmful diseases before they come into contact with them.
Immunisation not only protects individuals, but also others in the community, by reducing the spread of preventable diseases.
Research and testing is an essential part of developing safe and effective vaccines.
In Australia, vaccines must pass strict safety testing before the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will register them for use. Approval of vaccines can take up to 10 years.
Before vaccines become available to the public, large clinical trials test them on thousands of people.
High-quality studies over many years have compared the health of large numbers of vaccinated and unvaccinated children. Medical information from nearly 1.5 million children around the world have confirmed that vaccination does not cause autism.
People first became concerned about autism and immunisation after the medical journal The Lancet published a paper in 1998. This paper claimed there was a link between the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. Since then, scientists have completely discredited this paper. The Lancet withdrew it in 2010 and printed an apology. The UK’s General Medical Council struck the author off the medical register for misconduct and dishonesty.
Source: Australian Department of Health