While both federal and provincial health authorities pursue a rigorous vaccine offensive against the spread of COVID-19, there are still those who question the efficacy and safety of the vaccination program.
“Please sign my e-petition to suspend these injections for children under the age of 18 until adequate, peer-reviewed, published studies featuring long-term data can establish that these injections are safe,” requested Hastings—Lennox and Addington Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Derek Sloan in an email to subscribers Thursday, Jun. 3, 2021. Editorial Note: according to M.P. Sloan’s office, the petition was not actually Derek Sloan’s but was initiated by Jean Benoit from Hamilton, Ontario, despite the fact that he referred to it in his email as “my e-petition”.
In his email, Sloan alleged, “Canadian children who have already had their lives ruined by lockdowns and restrictions are now having their health put at risk through coercion to take an experimental vaccine for a disease that poses virtually no threat to them at all. Many adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines, in both adults and children, are now being registered in Canada and around the world.”
At a press call that same day, Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health, responded to a question about Sloan’s allegations that parents should not get their children immunized “until adequate peer-reviewed, published studies featuring long term data can establish that these injections are safe.”
Moore said KFL&A Public Health has “received a number of questions regarding the safety of the vaccines. The vaccine questions and frequently asked questions will be put on our website, and there are a lot of them.”
“I absolutely understand parents’ concerns,” Moore continued, explaining that, “The main reason we would vaccinate children is the risk that children can spread it in a social setting and then bring it back to their parents and/or their grandparents, and so you can have primary or secondary spread.”
Moore attested that it was “absolutely right that the incidence of severe illness in children is low,” with the caveat that there is however, “A benefit to immunizing them to stop spread into older, at-risk members of our community. So that’s the main strategy of immunizing children from 12 to 17.”
As to whether the vaccine for children was not fully peer reviewed or tested, Moore said, “There were very robust studies done — the placebo controlled trials in the United States of children to look at side effects in the immediate post-immunization period — and then they’re being followed longitudinally.”
Further, Moore explained that millions of doses of the vaccines were given to children, especially in the United States where there is monitoring for the adverse events following immunization, as is done around the globe.
“Any hints of adverse events will be tracked and be monitored in Canada — as you’ve seen with our analysis of AstraZeneca, and the association with clots,” Moore assured.
“We have a robust ‘adverse event following immunization’ strategy. These vaccines, through the trials and with post marketing surveillance, have been shown to be safe and highly effective — in the high 90 per cents — in preventing children from being able to transmit COVID-19.”
Moore expressed compassion for the trepidation people have over novel vaccines, but also explained why he feels the current vaccination roll-out is so important, and what is being done to ensure safety.
“I can understand concerns of any new vaccine, but we’ve seen globally that the risk from the mRNA vaccines in particular are very, very small. Any adverse events will be monitored, and our system in Canada is very transparent and accountable; we want to build the public’s trust in our immunization strategy. And that’s key to all Public Health decision makers across Canada,” he concluded.
“We will be transparent and accountable to you if we find any significant adverse events. At present, across the globe, there haven’t been any significant adverse events detected.”