Former deputy chief medical officer Dr Nick Coatsworth, a vocal proponent of vaccination among the adult and teenage population, has expressed caution for rushing in with mandatory vaccination in young children.
“So there’s no reason to go on a compulsory, mass vaccination effort for 5 – 11-year-olds because it won’t actually change the dynamics of Covid transmission,” said Dr Coatsworth in a recent interview.
“The benefit isn’t as large. Parents should not feel under any pressure at all to get their kids vaccinated.
“There’s going to be kids whose parents are concerned about Covid-19 and might have vulnerable people in the family, and they will get their kids vaccinated against Covid-19.
“Then there are parents who adopt a wait-and-see approach, and parents who don’t want their kids to be vaccinated. All those are valid choices for a parent to make."
In another controversial statement, the Lord Mayor of Perth, Basil Zempilas has admitted that he had ‘reservations’ about vaccinating his young children against Covid.
Zempilas’ comments come after the age restriction on Covid vaccination was lowered to include children as young as five in Australia.
This means that five-year-olds now have access to the Pfizer vaccine as part of a state-wide rollout beginning in January 2022.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt proudly announced the decision earlier.
“This is the next step in protecting Australians. It will give parents confidence. It will give parents choice, it will give children protection. It will give their families protection and it will give schools protection,” said Hunt. “I think from January 10, we hope as many Australian 5 – 11-year-olds as possible will come forward. We’re in a strong situation.”
Previously, governments around the world placed various age restrictions on Covid vaccinations due to community concerns about side effects (also known as myocarditis and pericarditis) arising in children following vaccination. Children under 15 have the lowest known risk from Covid, most with serious complications were already very ill children with numerous comorbidities.
This advice changed with the CDC and FDA changed their position, approving Pfizer for children. The US and Australian governments followed shortly after.
From the Department of Health, Australia:
A small increased risk of pericarditis and/or myocarditis has been observed in people who have received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (including Comirnaty (Pfizer) and Spikevax (Moderna), compared to unvaccinated people.
COVID-19 itself is associated with a substantially higher risk of myocarditis and other cardiac complications compared to vaccination.
ATAGI, CSANZ, RACGP, ACCRM and ACEM therefore emphasise that the overwhelming benefits of vaccination in protecting against COVID-19 greatly outweigh the rare risk of myocarditis and/or pericarditis. Comirnaty and Spikevax continue to be recommended for all people aged 12 years and above.
Zempilas comments on Sunrise caused a stir, after he publicly voiced whether or not getting his children (aged 4, 8, and 11) vaccinated. He, his wife, and his elderly parents are already vaccinated.
“Putting the injection into the younger kids whose bodies are still growing, but they’ve got a lot of developing to do, their brains are expanding and taking stuff in. I must admit, for the first time, I’m wondering if this is the right thing to do,” said Zempilas.
A parent questioning medical decisions related to their children is perfectly normal, with Zempilas adding, “As a parent, I’m just expressing the reservations that are going through my head right at the moment.”
Parents may not be left with a choice after discussion to introduce mandatory vaccination for young age groups already underway in most states. Even where vaccination is not being made mandatory, unvaccinated children are expected to be excluded from most activities.