Data deficit: Is the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine safe for children under 5?
Pfizer/BioNTech have applied to the FDA for an emergency use authorization of the bivalent vaccine for children 6 months through 4 years of age.
The bivalent vaccine would be part of the children’s primary series.
Like with the other Covid-19 vaccines, anti-vaccine advocates are opposed to administering this immunization to young children.
Among their concerns are safety and efficacy: many falsely believe mRNA vaccines harm children’s hearts and immune systems and cause a host of other problems.
Some also misleadingly argue that Covid-19 mutates so frequently that the bivalent vaccine – which targets the BA.4/BA.5 Omicron variant – will not be effective in combating new strains of the virus.
Stories about Pfizer/BioNTech’s application present new opportunities for anti-vaccine advocates and other vaccine skeptical influencers to share misleading or false information about pediatric Covid-19 vaccines: that they harm children’s immune systems; that they cause myocarditis; that they can result in sudden death.
Arguments that the bivalent booster will be ineffective against currently circulating strains may also discourage adult vaccine uptake.
Data deficit: Why do studies show more vaccinated people dying from Covid-19 than unvaccinated?
Analysis by Kaiser Family Foundation found that, for the first time, the majority of Americans dying from Covid-19 had received at least a Covid-19 primary series.
There are several reasons: Most Americans have received at least the primary series (and, thus, will make up a greater share of the total deaths); those at greatest risk are most likely to have been vaccinated; vaccines become less effective over time.
KFF’s reputation gives a veneer of credibility to the anti-vaccine advocates misleadingly citing the report to support their false claims.
Anti-vaccine advocates have seized on this report, citing it as evidence that Covid-19 vaccines are not effective at preventing serious illness and death.
Anti-vaccine advocates have also cited this report as evidence that the public health officials lied about vaccine efficacy while promoting uptake.
Data deficit: Who is accountable when Covid-19 vaccines cause side effects?
On December 3, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced at a state GOP event that the state would “go after” mRNA vaccine manufacturers, saying they needed to be “held accountable” for vaccine side effects.
DeSantis suggested that vaccine manufacturers lied about the vaccines’ safety and side effects, specifically calling out “an 86% increase in cardiac-related activity in 18 to 39 from mRNA shots” (sic).
DeSantis said his administration would have more updates in three to four weeks about his plans to hold these companies accountable. It was not immediately clear how his plans will work with or might differ from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
Many anti-vaccine advocates are cheering DeSantis’ plans, as they have long argued vaccine manufacturers are not properly held accountable for what they believe are harmful vaccine side effects.