Covid vaccine for children, the ‘gentle push’ did not have the desired effects

by Sara Gandini and Francesca Capelli, sociologist and author *

Pr. By April 13, 2022, less than 40% of 5-11 year olds had completed the Covid-19 vaccination course in Italy. This percentage was achieved thanks to extortion and injunctions, called hypocrisy “Gently push”, which led to discrimination that prevented young people from going to school or playing sports if they were not vaccinated. For their own good?

Now it seems that this very aggressive vaccination campaign was based on scant scientific evidence, at least with regard to minors. A recent study published in The Lancetbased on data from the entire Italian pediatric population, showed that the effect of vaccination on infection was significant inferior to the expected according to the clinical study that led to the approval of the vaccine in children: 90.7% in the approval study against 29.4% in this important study.

We hope that these data will not be used instrumentally to start again with the draconian “Italian model” vaccination campaigns. As for saying: if the vaccine on children proves to be ineffective, moreover, in terms of prevention of a disease that is not serious for that age group, we insist on the need to leave the road to mass vaccination. vaccinate morein the hope that four doses of the vaccine will work, three of which have been shown to be of little use.

As I have repeatedly stated in these two and a half years, health policy decisions must be based on solid scientific evidence and taking into account the balance of risks and benefits that vary enormously with age and other pathologies. Even more so when it comes to interventions performed on healthy individuals at low risk of disease and with emergency-approved vaccines.

That pharmacovigilance and study the variation of risks, yet the Italian government seems to confirm the desire to further weaken the efforts of the prevention departments, which must be able to count – in order to work well – on reliable data collected using strict methods. Instead, there was another flash last April 30: Article 28 of Legislative Decree No. 36, published in the Official Gazette on this date, promotesoutsourcing of digital data management until now guarded and administered independently by Istat.

As stated in an Isde statement (International Society of Doctors for Environment): “The management of the databases will be governed by ‘service contracts’, with possible organizational and bureaucratic complications and with enormous risks to the credibility of our National Statistics Institute and to the protection of data provided by citizens and businesses. . ONE budget cut of 40 million and a staff reduction that will be implemented in the next few years at the expense of data production ”. Researchers, clinicians, patient association representatives, parliamentarians may not be able to transparently access up-to-date data on which they can base strategic choices.

Outsourcing is part of the decision of de facto privatize Istat, which will depend on a board with a majority represented by the government. As Isde notes: “Universal interests could be subordinated to the interests of a political party”. And in these two and a half years, there has been no shortage of examples in this sense.

Fortunately, Omicron seems less strict than Delta. In fact, if the percentage of Sars-CoV-2 positive children hospitalized doubled during the Omicron wave compared to Delta in many countries, but hospital mortality among children in the Omicron wave remained rare and Delta-like, as it was also recently commented on Natural immunology, and the proportion of children under the age of 5 in ventilation treatment in the UK was almost half with Omicron compared to previous waves. Recently on Nature comment that even the latest variations of Omicron are no more serious in terms of serious illness.

Admittedly, the new variants of Omicron are more contagious and the vaccines even less effective in terms of the risk of infection, but the effectiveness in terms of serious illness remains quite good: 38% compared to severe Covid-19 in children, even with the wave of Omicron, but 70% in adults as seen on New England Journal of Medicine. This should reassure us in terms of the weak and elderly.

The vaccine undoubtedly does not guarantee eternity, and in the most fragile people a reminder in time could be required, in the hope that the vaccines that will come will also be effective against the new variants. We are therefore pleased that there are vaccines for those who need them, but everyone should be able to establish their own risk / benefit balance in a doctor-patient trust relationship and in a climate that allows doctors to express themselves. free, without threats. and excommunication .. Because the “gentle push” seen in Italy is no longer acceptable.

* co-authors of the book Informed dissentjust published by Castelvecchi

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