Given my stance on COVID-19 vaccine safety, and my concerns regarding indiscriminate vaccination of the recently infected and naturally immune, one question keeps being directed at me: “Will you vaccinate your children against COVID-19?”
My answer is a definitive, “YES!”.
I will vaccinate my children using the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible, when FDA approves these for their age groups — and especially those of them who were not naturally infected and are, thus, not naturally immune.
In other words, I will use the same #ScreenB4Vaccine strategy I’ve been discussing publicly to maximize the safety of my children. But, YES, they will be getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to them.
Critics, of course, shriek at my position on vaccinating children.
“Why would you expose your children to the risks of vaccination when they are at extremely low risk of being harmed by a natural infection?”, they ask incredulously.
“That’s being a negligent parent”, they charge.
The list of invectives from the so0-called “anti-vaccine” side goes on.
Of course, invectives and bullies abound — on both sides of my argument too. An equal number of critics, from the mindless “pro-vaccine” side, have been throwing invectives and acting like bullies on the other side — attacking my vaccine safety concerns in the recently infected being indiscriminately vaccinated.
Human nature, despite its magnificent potential, is a nasty thing sometimes.
Anyway, let me clarify my position on vaccinating my kids after #ScreenB4Vaccine.
I previously wrote about what “dumb luck” it is that our kids are not being killed by SARS-CoV-2. Truly, it’s dumb luck and a blessing we should not waste — because it may be a transient feature of this virus.
In fact, it is not unlikey that new variants will eventually emerge that could harm our children. And then the conversation about “vaccine hesitancy” will turn into open civil war — mark my words.
You can read about the terrifying possibility of a pediatric variant, HERE.
So for starters, those of my kids who are NOT naturally immune are getting the vaccine as soon as it is available to them - BECAUSE at the rate this virus is naturally infecting the world’s population, it is a real possibility that a pediatric variant will emerge to harm our children. Let’s not be naive about this risk.
Secondarily, but equally important, children actually DO get infected — and a small minority do actually die. Nevertheless, most infected children, are mostly asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic at present. This does not mean that they are not vectors for transmission of the virus to others. And those “others” could be anyone vulnerable to more severe COVID-19 disease than the kids. In other words, an infected child can be an instrument of death to another vulnerable person. Make no mistake — this is the scientific and clinical truth every American does understand no matter how hard we try to ignore it.
Even more clear cut to me, is that every infected person, including infected kids, is a factory for new mutations and novel variants — the thought that my children could become the source of more deadly variants that could compromise our world even more is simply revolting to me. It makes me want to vomit — literally!
Lastly, I know that the COVID-19 vaccines we have available to us now will protect the vast majority of those vaccinated from natural infection — and I know, as an immunologist and physician, that stemming the tide of natural infections is the critical mechanism necessary to control this pandemic and save the world. [In stating this, I am not undermining the critical importance of finding and developing effective therapeutic agents. Anyone who has been following me, knows that I am firmly of the opinion that the generic drug cyclosporine is an effective therapy for COVID-19 disease.]
So, I do, indeed, consider it my civic duty, and my children’s, to act in accordance with our own best interest AND our nation’s best interest. This means getting vaccinated against COVID-19 ASAP.
In fact, I would go as far as to state that I consider it my family’s patriotic duty to get vaccinated.
Some have criticized me for using the word “patriotic” to describe the act of civic duty I believe it is, to undergo COVID-19 vaccination. But, in stating this, I am not attempting to pressure or shame anyone else to conform to my sense of duty or patriotism in this matter — and those who feel shame ought to consider why they do. In fact, here, there is an opportunity for all of us to consider what it means to be “a citizen”. Do we have any duty to the nation? Do we owe anything to one another?
I would be remiss not stating that as a citizen and a physician I also consider it my patriotic duty to defend the right of any citizen to exercise choice over their own bodies and to refuse or to accept any warranted medical treatment, including vaccination. So, I will defend the rights and choices of conscientious objectors, anti-vaccine activists and even anti-science dingbats — while knowing them to be wrong. Certainly, I will defend the rights of those families harmed by vaccines to remain skeptical and to refuse the treatment that harmed or killed a loved one — these people who know suffering and human mortality, are the “harmed minority” who are the key to regaining our moral and ethical purpose as a nation. The defense of the “harmed minority” is America’s charge…But she, WE, have forgotten this foundational ethos.
In summary, I do not consider my safety concerns and certitude about efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines irreconcilable. Let me be clear, it is possible to defend anyone’s right to refuse the vaccine, while knowing that it is a patriotic American duty for all of us to get vaccinated as quickly and safely as is possible to save lives — to save our nation.
Lastly, as I have stated before, I also know with certainty, that the vast majority of naturally infected persons are robustly immune — so it is my professional opinion that immediate indiscriminate vaccination of the these persons is unnecessary and potentially dangerous in those recently infected (i.e., those with <6–8 months prior to vaccination). Certainly, I firmly believe that the #ScreenB4Vaccine initiative will allow us to delay vaccinating the already immune and focusing our vaccine resources on those Americans who are not immune — so that we can reach herd immunity as quickly as possible.
To all my friends and critics, know this: YES, my children, those of them not naturally immune, will be undergoing vaccination ASAP after I have ensured that they are not naturally immune, using the #ScreenB4Vaccine algorithm.
I ask that you consider joining my stance in defense of our nation and the world.
I write in the name of Dr. Amy Josephine Reed — and with her voice with me.
Hooman Noorchashm MD, PhD