WSJ Editorial: Biden’s Push to Approve Childhood COVID Vax Showed ‘Hypocrisy’ and Was ‘Political’
“Why the rush for toddler vaccines?” the Wall Street Journal asks in a Monday piece by editorial board member Allysia Finley. “Covid was clearly a health emergency for adults in 2020. By contrast, the urgency now feels political.”
Whoa. It’s been rare to see a major national outlet criticize anything to do with vaccines for two years now. To read a top newspaper calling the approval process “political” is jarring, to say the least.
It was in mid-June that the Biden Administration started the roll-out of COVID vaccines for children from 6 months to 5 years old with assurances they were “safe and effective.” Finley flatly disagrees:
In fact, we don’t know if the vaccines are safe and effective. The rushed FDA action was based on extremely weak evidence. It’s one thing to show regulatory flexibility during an emergency. But for children, Covid isn’t an emergency. The FDA bent its standards to an unusual degree and brushed aside troubling evidence that warrants more investigation.
My wife wasn’t impressed:
Talk about burying the lede! This appears 9 paragraphs into a 14-paragraph article:
“More troubling, vaccinated toddlers in Pfizer’s trial were more likely to get severely ill with Covid than those who received a placebo.”
Ya think? https://t.co/FipTndGaMK
— Roxanne Hoge (@RoxanneHoge) July 5, 2022
We reported last month how President Biden bragged at a vaccine center that “We’re the only country in the world doing this right now.” Which begs the obvious question: Why are we the only one?
The Journal goes on to document how the FDA granted the adult Pfizer and Moderna vaccines “emergency-use authorization” because there was a clear and present health danger to adults in 2020. The agency approved the same authorization for the childhood vax, but Finley argues that that’s questionable because there is no such emergency for children—the Wuhan virus is simply not very dangerous to them. Only about .02 percent of virus deaths in the US have been in children, and many of those had pre-existing conditions. The flu hospitalizes and kills many more kids than COVID.
Finley goes on to explain in complicated detail how Pfizer and Moderna jiggled the numbers and used standards far below what should be required to get approval for a drug that we’re now expected to inject into the arms of our most vulnerable population. Her conclusion:
The FDA standard for approving vaccines in otherwise healthy people, especially children, is supposed to be higher than for drugs that treat the sick. But the FDA conspicuously lowered its standards to approve Covid vaccines for toddlers.
If true, that’s extremely disturbing. It’s not just the questionable approval process that’s alarming, though; it’s that some of the trial results bring up questions too:
More troubling, vaccinated toddlers in Pfizer’s trial were more likely to get severely ill with Covid than those who received a placebo. Pfizer claimed most severe cases weren’t “clinically significant,” whatever that means, but this was all the more reason that the FDA should have required a longer follow-up before authorizing the vaccine.
Also worrisome: Most kids who developed multiple infections during the trial were vaccinated. This warranted more investigation, since experimental vaccines for other diseases sometimes increase susceptibility to infection.
Why would the administration rush approval for childhood vaccination when A) kids are at very little risk from COVID, B) the trials were rushed and used dubious methods, and C) there are many safety questions unanswered? Finley has a theory: maybe someone was leaning on the FDA for political reasons. “Perhaps it (the FDA) felt pressure from the White House as well as anxious parents,” she says.
In her brutal closing, she levels the president:
Mr. Biden’s hypocrisy is hard to stomach. The FDA, to its credit, accelerated Covid treatments and vaccines when they were desperately needed. But children would have been better off had the FDA taken more time to ensure the vaccines really are safe and effective, even if this meant that America wouldn’t be first.
As I said earlier, it’s shocking to read articles this critical of any pandemic response. This isn’t some Twitter conspiracy theorist, nor some low-rated kooky website—this is from the pen of an editorial board member of one of the most prestigious newspapers in the country. Facebook and Twitter can’t simply just cancel them, though you can bet they’d love to do so.
Only 29 percent of kids between 5-11 have received a double dose COVID vaccine, while a slightly-higher 59 percent of those 12-18 have opted to do so. Vaccine advocates were certainly hoping for far higher numbers than that. The numbers for the 6-month to 5-year-old kids will almost surely come in much lower than that.
Given a rushed, flawed approval process and medical uncertainties with this new little kid vax, expect many parents to balk at taking their babies and toddlers to get the shot. You can hardly blame them.