Lack of demand prompts pediatricians to toss Covid-19 vaccine doses for children under 5

Injecting an experimental vaccine into the arms of babies who are least likely to be affected by COVID-19 was always going to be a hard sell, but in the six weeks since the jab was approved for children under the age of five, the number of people willing to submit their kids to the shot has been so low, pediatricians say they are having to throw out unused doses.

“It feels yucky,” Arlington family physician, Dr. Wayne Altman, told the Boston Globe. “I hate waste.”

Eager to put the vaccine into as many arms as possible, doctors crack open 10-dose vials of the vaccine during office visits. Once the vial is opened, it must be used within 12 hours or it has to be discarded, and like many physicians, Dr. Altman has yet to use every dose in a vial.

The vaccine was rolled out for the under-5 group in June, and surveys had indicated that a mere one out of five parents would rush their babies to receive it, but the reality has proven that far fewer are willing to subject their kids to the potential risks involved.

Massachusetts, home to the most recent data, has one of the highest vaccination rates for children between the ages of six months and 5 years in the nation at 11 percent, but as of Aug. 3, the nationwide figures for that age group come in at just 3.83 percent, according to the Globe.

In Worcester, pediatrician Dr. Lloyd D. Fisher is tossing as many as nine of the 10 available doses.

“There is plenty of supply at this point, so it is not a huge problem, but we never want to waste any vaccine,” Fisher wrote in an e-mail, according to the paper. “Parents have lots of questions and we can often allay their fears about side effects from the vaccine. They also wonder why, when the disease itself is generally not as severe in children, is it necessary.”

The doctor went on to explain that the vaccine is safe and “can make that low risk even lower.”

Parents clearly aren’t buying the argument.

The Kaiser Family Foundation discovered in July that more than four out of 10 parents of children under the age of 5 say they would “definitely not” vaccinate their children against COVID-19.

While doctors continue to downplay the potential risks of dangerous side effects, experts have voiced concerns over the efficacy of the vaccines in small children, leaving many to wonder whether the potential risks posed by a series of shots outweigh the risk of their child catching COVID.

As BizPac Review reported in June, studies on the Moderna shot showed that, while infants between six and 23 months receive approximately 51 percent efficacy, the number drops to just 37 percent efficacy in children aged two to five years old. Worse, “two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine did not even meet the Food and Drug Administration’s bar for an immune response,” according to The New York Times.

Still, the Boston Globe article urges parents to jab their little ones not just once, but multiple times, noting that “both vaccines require more than one dose to be fully protective.”

Dr. Altman, presumably tired of feeling “yucky,” said the vaccine’s safety for the youngest among us will likely be confirmed, implying that, even as he tries to use up all those doses in his vials, its safety hasn’t yet been verified.

He admits that “yucky” feeling is something he’ll probably have to learn to live with.

“People have come to their conclusions,” he said, “and I don’t think that’s going to change.”


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