After sometimes tense deliberations that weighed the benefits of vaccination against potential risks, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted 17-to-0 with one abstention on Tuesday that two 10-microgram doses of the vaccine should be granted emergency use authorization, a clearance that will remain in effect only as long as the pandemic is considered a public health emergency…
Panelists were nearly unanimous in believing the vaccine should be made available, but also in having reservations about how widely it should be used.
“Let’s be honest, the best way to protect the health of some kids would be to do nothing at all because they’re going to be just fine,” said James Hildreth, a panelist and the president of Meharry Medical College. “But there are lots and lots of children who for this vaccine will be the difference between health and even life.” Hildreth, like many panelists, said that he hoped the ACIP will find a way to prioritize which children receive the vaccine.
Federal officials have seemed eager for the vaccine, which was authorized in May for use in 12- to 15-year-olds, to be approved for younger children. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had at one point said the shots might be available by Halloween. But the panel sometimes debates how wide a rollout should be. In the end, many seemed to view their role as authorizing a vaccine that they said was safe, effective, and needed by some children and their families.
Several panelists expressed concern about whether the decision could lead to vaccine mandates — something Peter Marks, the head of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, assured them was unlikely. At the beginning of the day, Marks said that thoughts about vaccine mandates should not impact the panel’s decision.
“I’m hoping that this starts off with the campaign, if it moves forward, that starts with choice and parents and their care providers partnering in decisions,” said Ofer Levy, a panelist and infectious disease researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital…
I wondered if their pious sentiments about mandates were aimed at Children’s Health Defense and future prosecutors…to put on record the fact they were only voting for “choice” not mandates, in an attempt to avoid being charged with willful misconduct later?