More than ever, my clients are asking me what to do about covid shots for their kids.
This is a challenging topic. It’s polarized to the extreme, fraught with fear and grief (we’ve all lost loved ones and friends to covid), and rife with misinformation on all sides. Do you give your kids a covid shot? How many? Which one? Do they work?
Listen to my video cast on this topic if you prefer that over reading – advance to minute 16:00 for this topic.
As a health professional with a graduate degree in public health indoctrinated into why we use vaccines, population study design, and how population health data is collected and validated, and as a clinician with training, a license, and degrees to practice, I am puzzled by the events of the last two years. Little has occurred that reflects sound tenets, science, standards, or practice in public health, let alone clinical practice, where treatment for covid sufferers has been all but absent per mainstream medicine. And here we are, two years later, still suffering, still masked, getting shots, and getting sick.
The truth is we could have done a better job, and still can going forward. We have tackled devastating diseases before.
An interesting example is HIV/AIDS. Having lost a sibling to AIDS in 1993, I followed the evolution of this tragic pandemic as it unfolded in the 1980s and 90s. Globally, AIDS is the world’s second most fatal infectious disease, after tuberculosis. Both kill far fewer people than chronic conditions like heart diseases and strokes. While Sub-Saharan Africa remains heavily burdened with AIDS cases and fatalities, the US has seen vast improvement in both case and fatality rates: In 1994, our death rate for AIDS peaked at nearly 15 per 100,000 population, when it became the leading cause of death for all persons aged 25-44 in the US. My brother was one of those people. He died at age 37.
There were no vaccines, no masking, no restrictions on individual movements, no lockdowns, no banning family members for visitation in care settings (I stood by my brother’s ICU bedside unmasked as he died), no divisive mandates barring persons with AIDS from their jobs, or from society. Instead, thanks to focus on treatments and prudent measures for safe sex and needle use, the US lowered its AIDS death rate to 1.77 per 100,000 population.
Though AIDS is transmitted through bodily fluids rather than air droplets, many people were terrified to be in the same room as a person with AIDS back in the 1980s and 90s. AIDS is far more lethal than covid. Since the beginning of both pandemics, AIDS has infected roughly 80 million people in the world and killed nearly half of them (37 million), while covid has infected roughly 200 million people worldwide and killed less than 2% of them (about 4 million covid deaths worldwide) (here’s my source for that comparison). In 2020, Americans were more likely to die of heart disease or cancer than they were to die of covid.
Currently in the US, the covid case fatality rate is about 1%. It appears to be becoming slowly endemic and less virulent. We see that, overwhelmingly, most who contract covid survive it.
Elderly persons bear the brunt of mortality from covid, comprising about 80% of those who die from it. For children, a covid death is incredibly rare, while infection is typically mild. In 2020, when the case fatality rate for covid in the US was slightly higher (the virus was newer, with more virulence, and we were not immune), the likelihood of needing hospitalization for covid for persons under the age of 40 was less than half of one percent, while as high as 9% for persons over 60.
We are fed a lot of rhetoric through media. Much of this is inaccurate or omits critical facts that don’t fit the pharmaceutical industry narrative.
As a dietitian/nutritionist, I am required per my license to tell you to ask your doctor what to do about vaccines. As you open those discussions with your doctor about vaccinating your children against covid, I hope you will include these resources in the conversation. We are fed a lot of rhetoric through media. Much of this is inaccurate or omits critical facts that don’t fit the pharmaceutical industry narrative. Here are some facts you may not have heard, given the high level of fear circulating in our media:
- The more a population is vaccinated against covid, the more covid infection has spread. This finding was published here in the European Journal of Epidemiology in September 2021. The data reviewed vaccine uptake across 68 countries and nearly 3,000 US counties. Populations with a higher percentage fully vaccinated had higher COVID-19 cases per 1 million people. In other words, not only did vaccination fail to prevent spread, it may have worsened it. The authors state that “sole reliance on vaccination” has failed and that we must engage other strategies.
- The World Health Organization does not recommend booster doses for anyone – not in July 2021, and not now.
- The World Health Organization does not recommend covid vaccines for children.
- Read an interview here with a pediatrician who, like the World Health Organization, advises against covid shots for children.
- As of January 7 2022, over a million adverse events to covid vaccines and nearly 22,000 deaths from covid vaccines had been reported to the US Department of Health and Human Service’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Some have called for full stop on covid vaccines due to deaths from covid shots.
- This number of events is unprecedented. It exceeds total reports of events to all vaccines since the program began. VAERS was enacted in the 1980s as part of legislation that shields vaccine manufacturers from liability. This legislation also created the Vaccine Injury Compenastion Program, a government fund for those injured or bereaved by vaccine deaths. This fund, paid for by a tax on vaccine sales, is the only path to restitution for a vaccine injury or death. Since October 1988, no-one can sue a vaccine manufacturer, physician, or institution for death or injury caused by a vaccine. This is why you – and your pediatrician – never hear of vaccine injuries. These cases, if reported at all, skirt juried trial for medical malpractice or product defect. They enter the closed and separate government claim system known as Vaccine Court.
- VAERS is a voluntary, passive reporting system that captures as few as 12% of vaccine adverse events that actually occur and possibly as few as 1% (one percent) of events. Millions of injuries and deaths from covid vaccines may be unknown and unreported.
- Myocarditis tops the list of covid vaccine injuries among 12-17 year olds. As of 1/7/22, VAERS records 38 children under the age of 17 as dying from covid shots (view data here and here). These lost lives are not necessary or reasonable collateral damage. This is especially poignant since elderly persons and those with comorbidities – not children – represent the greatest burden of covid infection and death. In other words, these children died not because covid presented much risk to them, but because of thin rhetoric that asserts they might have threatened others.
- Data published in January 2021 – a year before high vaccine uptake worldwide – described how covid vaccines had potential to cause “adverse pathological events” in heart or lung tissue. The authors called for long term safety studies but the FDA’s Emergency Authorization has pre-empted these.
- Fully vaccinated persons with “breakthrough” (vaccine failure) cases have peak viral load similar to unvaccinated persons and can efficiently transmit infection, including to vaccinated contacts. In other words, vaccinated persons can spread infection and are a larger threat than an unvaccinated, asymptomatic well child or adult.
- Pregnancy is no time to take an experimental pharmaceutical. Due to their Emergency Use Authorization, covid shots bypassed usual FDA requirements for studies on safety and long term effects, making them essentially experimental. Booster vaccine products are regarded as similar enough to the original shots and thus also bypass usual FDA safety testing standards.
- Only one retrospective assessment of outcomes for babies born to women given covid shots in pregnancy has been published, by the CDC in January 2022. This in itself is disturbing because no safety data existed in 2021, when women were given these by the tens of thousands anyway. Predictably, the CDC’s own analysis touts the safety of covid vaccines in pregnancy. But the analysis had many flaws that biased it toward a favorable picture for covid vaccination in pregnancy:
- The unvaccinated group had triple the number of African American mothers in it, biasing toward more pre-term birth in this group compared to the unvaccinated group. In other words, the CDC “cherry picked” a cohort of women known to have more premie babies in general, thus hiding an increase in premature births that the vaccines may have caused in the vaccinated group. The CDC acknowledges that African American race is a risk factor for premature birth, perhaps as much as 50% higher than white women.
- Obesity, another risk factor for pre-term birth, was over-represented in the unvaccinated group as well. This defect also makes increased premature births in the vaccinated group “disappear” in the analysis.
- Women who had a covid vaccine in their first trimester were excluded from the analysis. The first trimester is when risk is highest for injury to the baby from toxins or infections. This flaw in the data analysis allowed the CDC to hide miscarriages, birth defects, or premature births more handily because they only analyzed data for women who got covid shots later in pregnancy – after the crucial window when embryonic structures are developing.
- What we are seeing with the emergence of variants is a phenomenon that may be accelerated by vaccination itself. According to this piece in The Lancet, “these findings suggest that variants of SARS-CoV-2 could evolve with resistance to immunity induced by recombinant spike protein vaccines” – that is, vaccines appear to be driving variant evolution, according to the authors.
- Like flu viruses, which are adept at genetic mutations that make them ever more evasive to our immune system’s defenses, corona viruses can do the same. This is why new flu shots are recommended every year. You can now expect to be pressed to take boosters for covid as we fruitlessly chase these mutations. Vaccination won’t eradicate covid anymore than it has eradicated influenza; what’s worse, it may promote viral evolution toward more infectious variants.
“Look at the science” is a popular refrain nowadays. But the closer you look, the worse covid shots look. Scrutinizing study design reveals the bedeviling details
Many of you know that my child was injured by his infant vaccines. His case took nine years to reach the Vaccine Court docket – to say there is a back log of death and injury cases is a gross understatement – and this was years before covid. This is what propelled me into the niche of practice I chose. After experiencing the shock, horror, trauma and loss of watching a measure assumed to be safe and necessary nearly kill my child and then trigger ongoing health challenges, my family also experienced the brutal tone-deaf posture of our health care system with acknowledging and treating these injuries. This continues today, with more intensity, malignancy, and vitriol than ever. It’s intense out there right now!
I encourage you to explore and learn about vaccine failures, injuries, ingredients, efficacy (study these per vaccine), policy, and industry. Make informed choices. Change providers if you must; find those who allow inquiry, and who engage integrative and functional medicine tools. Protect your family’s health with good food and nutrition, lower stress, joy, and strong community connection. If you suspect your child – or anyone you know – had a vaccine injury, do your part and report it here. This may help save others’ lives, and may help hold manufacturers to account for safer vaccines.
Infectious disease has always been and will continue to be strongly correlated with environmental and host factors, including nutrition and nutrigenomics. Food and nutrition status are fundamental drivers of immune response and power, especially in young children. Vaccination is not the sole savior – we have ample scientific precedent for this fact – and a one-size-fits-all vaccine policy or mandate ignores science and clinical precedent for host variation and virus behavior in populations. It is a societal failure that I hope to see pass out of fashion in my lifetime.
“Look at the science” is a popular refrain nowadays. But the closer you look, the worse covid shots look. Scrutinizing study design reveals the bedeviling details, and this is what I was trained to do in my graduate studies. These flaws and inconsistencies throughout the pandemic have played well for the pharmaceutical industry, but not so well for families or children, who have suffered egregiously – physically, psychologically, and financially.
I hope this answers your questions about my thoughts on covid shots for children. For tips to leverage nutrition to defend against respiratory illness and support the immune system during illness, click here. For helpful nutrition supports following a covid shot, click here.