Why Parents Still Hesitate to Vaccinate Their Children Against COVID-19 | Pediatrics | JAMA | JAMA Network
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Medical News & Perspectives
December 15, 2021

Why Parents Still Hesitate to Vaccinate Their Children Against COVID-19

JAMA. 2022;327(1):23-25. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.21625
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    8 Comments for this article
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    Distrust of the Medical Establishment
    Catherine Sarkisian, MD | UCLA (speaking for myself not my employer)
    This article fails to mention a major reason many smart caring parents are waiting for more data before allowing their children to receive vaccines for a disease with close to zero chance of mortality: parents have lost trust in our medical establishment and its unethical relationship with the pharmaceutical industry. Instead of relying heavily on opinion quotes from a pharmaceutical industry employee, JAMA should have published an article with this title that presented actual data about what parents believe. There is nothing “paradoxical” about parents who are vaccinated themselves wanting to wait for more/longer-term data from fully-powered RCTs before having their kids receive a new emergency-use authorization vaccine. On the contrary, it makes great sense given the extremely low risk of harm from COVID-19 for a 5-11 year-old. As a physician scientist and left-leaning human being who believes in the social contract (and never let my kids miss a vaccine), I am extremely frustrated seeing such a biased article published in JAMA.
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: Grants from NIH
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    Article Source Received Grants from Vaccine Makers
    Elizabeth Worsham, MD | Veterans Affairs
    Out of all the scientists or physicians out there, you selected someone who received money from the 2 Covid vaccine manufacturers and sits on advisory boards for the vaccine manufacturers? Your article would be more persuasive if you picked individuals without conflicts of interests.
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: None Reported
    Measure of Benefit
    Steven Kuemmerle, PhD | Industry
    Polio, measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases had/have serious consequences for children. Parents are vaccinating their children to protect their children. With COVID's relatively small impact on children it is much more difficult to get parents to vaccinate their children to protect others. As a scientist in healthcare for over 40 years, if I had children at home, I'd get them vaccinated, but then again, I get nucleic acids.
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: None Reported
    Alternative Perspective
    Swaminathan Thangaraj, DO | McLean Hospital (speaking for myself not my employer)
    The 2008 book "Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present," by Harriet Washington, presents an alternative perspective on why some parents may be vaccine hesitant. Reading it may help readers of this article empathize with the abovementioned parents.
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: None Reported
    COVID-19 vs SARS-CoV-2
    Edward Moseley | Tufts University
    This publication opens by saying that "As of early December, more than 2.3 million children aged 5 to 11 years had developed COVID-19 and 209 had died."

    If I reviewed this manuscript I would have had the author please distinguish appropriately between the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 pneumonia, which is the disease caused by the virus.

    The use of COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 interchangeably is as surprising to me as if AIDS and HIV were used interchangeably-- they are not, and to do so detracts from this work while perhaps making it more journalistically attractive.
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: I own stock in Pfizer, Moderna, JNJ.
    Compare Risk to COVID Disease Not to No Disease!
    Anjo Veerman, Professor Emeritus | Pediatric Heme/Onc, VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands

    As I see it the problem with parents refusing COVID vaccination is that they emphasize the risks of vaccination and think of no-vaccination as no-risk. They forget that no-vaccination means getting the actual disease for sure. Do they know the risks of getting COVID? And does science yet know the long-term risks of disability post-COVID? To assess the risks of vaccination one has to compare those with the risks of COVID illness, and not with no disease. Because for sure nobody will escape the virus.

    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: None Reported
    The Role of Misinformation
    John Hewitt, MD |
    The distrust of vaccine is beyond reasoned thought.  It is an emotional response to misinformation deliberately published to a specific political group. Directly dealing with the misinformers is needed by legal means.
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: None Reported
    A Perfect Storm
    Paul Nelson, MS, MD | Family Health Care, PC retired
    The confluence of many ecological and cultural processes seems to underlie the observed immunization hesitancy. Even though worldwide pandemics have historically occurred every 70 years, the occurrence of this one is unique in that it occurred with an organism not previously identifiable. Although small outbreaks of measles continue to occur and annual influenza prevalence is often unpredictable, prior outbreaks of seasonal polio and bacterial meningitis no longer occur, and vaccine safety has steadily improved. Finally, the COVID vaccine involves a new technology not previously used for a massive 'population health' need. The use of messenger RNA for a vaccine has long been studied but not previously tried for a large population.

    Given that it is unlikely that we could predict what the next 2-3 years will bring to population health, we best concentrate on a goal to build trustworthy systems to manage our nation's population health and its healthcare.
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: None Reported
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