Covid-19 Vaccines and Children: A Scientist’s Guide for Parents

Byram W. Bridle

Pfizer BioNTech’s COVID-19 mRNA vaccine has been Authorized under an Interim Order by Health Canada for use in Canadians as young as 12 years old, with mandatory commitments for the monitoring of long-term safety and efficacy. Authorization under an Interim Order means additional information is needed on the safety, efficacy, and quality of the vaccine, including in children and adolescents, to support the future full market approval and licensing of the vaccine.

There is some uncertainty regarding the long-term safety of Pfizer BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine in all individuals, and especially in children, youth, and younger adults of child-bearing age. Indeed, some key safety studies appear to have been missed in the rush to roll out the vaccines, and more is being learned about the vaccines every day. For example, there was a previously wide-held assumption that vaccination with the mRNA vaccines is safe because it is a localized event in the body, with the vaccine remaining limited to the shoulder muscle following injection and triggering an immune response in the local lymph nodes. However, there is evidence that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine does not remain at the injection site. In fact, once injected, the vaccine contents appear to travel extensively throughout the body, to the brain and other sensitive tissues, such as bone marrow, spleen, liver, adrenal glands, ovaries etc.

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