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Who knew that the reason children should be forced to get the COVID vaccine is because of “bug-nut crazy right wingers, who are a bunch of idiots.” That is what I was told when I replied to a Tweet about pending vaccine approval for 5-11 year olds. After I fully agreed with said Tweet stating that parents should be allowed to choose whether their children get the COVID vaccine, I was called a dumbass that had to do mental gymnastics to come to my conclusion. At first, I tried to politely point out that we shouldn’t force children, who are at significantly lower risk of getting COVID, much less a serious case of it, to get vaccinated to protect adults who choose not to. I was quickly told, yes they do, then insulted (see above). Finally, the “bug-nut crazy right winger” argument was made (no mental gymnastics there!) to justify the mandate. Yep, children should be forced to get COVID vaccines because crazy right wingers won’t.
For what it’s worth, the person I was arguing with cited an article supporting her claim that children are efficient spreaders, and I read both the article in Forbes and the paper the article reported on. Unfortunately for my debate opponent (and even more unfortunate for me, because Twitter is not a forum conducive to a full analysis of the report) the report does not make her case.
The article studied 224 children who got COVID at camp and their household contacts. 12% (46) of the household contacts who chose to get tested had positive tests and 10% of them (4) were hospitalized. The problem is, the study cites the number of children infected by age, but not the number of secondary infections by age. In other words, it is not known whether the household members who subsequently tested positive were infected by 5-year-olds, 19-year-olds, and anywhere in between. Hence, the study does not distinguish between infection rate by age group.
Furthermore, the study makes no reference to the fact that the infections by age were not constant – there were more older children infected than younger children. It is well understood that older children – teenagers – get COVID at higher rates than younger children. After all, many of them are physically close to being adults. A different study that tried to measure transmission by age group said that children 0-3 may actually be higher transmitters, but that can possibly be at least partly attributed to the fact that protective measures by caregivers is more difficult with a baby/toddler than with an older child.
In any case, all these studies do is make it more reasonable, not less, that parents need to consider their own children and their own household situation and make their own decision about whether to get their children vaccinated. All these studies show that younger children are less likely to get COVID in the first place. Not only does this mean less risk to our children, it also means less risk to the adults around them. People who want to force vaccines on children because crazy right wingers won’t get vaccinated are merely the other side of the same coin.Published in