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The CDC protects Big Pharma, not your children

Katie Banuelos
Katie Banuelos
Opinion
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While most news outlets have been distracted by balloons, there has been an important new development in the COVID saga. The CDC has quietly added the COVID-19 vaccine to the recommended childhood vaccine schedule for all infants and children starting at six months of age.

This is an incredible decision when you consider the small danger that COVID poses to children and infants, but for those who have been paying close attention, it also seemed inevitable that this would become the case. 

Why is it so shocking that the CDC would recommend the jab to children? It comes down to known vs. unknown risks. In 2023, we have a very clear sense of how dangerous COVID is to children: It’s simply not.

In 2021, BBC summarized it as a “two in a million” absolute risk of death. Analysis of data in the United States from around the same time suggested an infection fatality rate of just 0.001 percent. The CDC and other public health entities still insisted vigorously on the danger to children, but then admitted in 2022 to having inflated the all-time child mortality numbers by a whopping 24 percent.

The low risk to children was known early on in the pandemic, but the fear mongers simply refused to acknowledge it until the data was so overwhelming it could not be denied.

Not only is there little direct benefit to children, it is now abundantly clear that there is no broader social benefit from vaccination, either. All pretense of the “you should get vaccinated to protect others” claim has been abandoned. In my view, it is immoral to impose risks upon children in order to protect adults (it should be the other way around, with adults being willing to sacrifice almost anything to protect children), but that argument is now moot. 

The public discussion on transmissibility has moved on from early assurances that the vaccinated can’t catch or spread COVID — and arguments about whether the unvaccinated should be banned from public spaces and denied medical care. Now we’re arguing about whether it’s a scandal for Pzifer’s CEO to admit that the jabs weren’t even tested for transmissibility prior to distribution. In any case, everyone now knows that your vaccination status guarantees nothing with regard to transmission. Vaccinating children will not protect their teachers or grandparents.

On the other side of the equation is an unknown risk—that of MRNA vaccines. You can scream “safe and effective” as loud and as long as you like, but that doesn’t change the reality that these treatments are brand new. There is no long-term safety data to work with. There is only trial data, and there are safety signals from which you could begin to draw inferences. Neither of those are adequate substitutes for time. 

From lobotomies to Thalidomide, the history of medicine is rife with instances where practices, drugs or treatments were later determined to be useless or actively harmful. Is it really so difficult to concede the possibility that a novel technology implemented at ‘warp speed’ might have risks that aren’t understood or acknowledged within the first few years?

The only reason what I am writing here is even remotely controversial is because so many institutions and individuals married themselves to the idea of mass vaccination as a cure-all — to the point where admitting even the possibility of error or caveat would destroy their credibility.

Given our understanding of the risk distribution of the virus, prudence dictates that we avoid unnecessary medical interventions on children, and simply be thankful that this was how it panned out: Despite all the fears, our children were and are basically safe from COVID. 

As for the inevitability that the CDC would add vaccine intervention to the recommended childhood schedule for all future six-month old infants in the nation, it rests in concern about a different kind of immunity.

Since March of 2020, the Pharma behemoths that manufacture COVID vaccines have been protected from liability by emergency use authorization and 10 successive amendments of a declaration under the PREP act. However, that protection is set to expire in 2024, leaving manufacturers without coverage — unless they find shelter under another legal umbrella. With the CDC’s decision to place COVID vaccines on the schedule, those companies will now be shielded by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

If it is eventually demonstrated that negative health impacts result from MRNA vaccination, Big Pharma will not be held liable. Because the vaccine injury program is funded by a per-dose tax on all childhood vaccines, any financial burden will ultimately be borne by parents and taxpayers rather than by vaccine manufacturers. The liability has essentially been nationalized, thanks to the public health institutions that ostensibly exist to protect us.

What’s next? Here in Nevada, keep your eyes on the state and county boards of health. Our public and private school vaccine requirements aren’t automatically pegged to the CDC’s recommendations, but per NRS 392.435 and 394.192, it could be added at the discretion of our local health officials. If this shows up as an agenda item, be ready to fight back.

Ultimately, it is up to us as parents to protect our children and act in their best interest. We cannot entrust their health and safety to the integrity of multinational pharmaceutical companies, nor can we outsource risk assessment to bureaucrats. Public health institutions are not owed your trust or the benefit of the doubt. The decision on whether to vaccinate your child should be only yours. 

Katie Banuelos is the secretary for the Libertarian Party of Nevada.

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