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The kids aren't alright
JCVI criticised as evidence mounts regarding the consequences of mass infection
A recent peer reviewed paper published in the BMJ joins a number of recent studies that call into question the UK’s decision to deny the parents of younger children the choice of vaccination that has made it an international outlier.
This joins a number of recent papers casting doubt on the JCVI’s decision to end the vaccination programme for the majority of people, a decision that means most children below the age of five at the end of August 2022 will never have the option of vaccination even once they are adults.
The minutes of the JCVI meeting on 20 May 2021 appear to set out the reasoning behind the committee’s current stance and suggests the vaccination programme was always considered a short term initiative.
“In the absence of vaccination future generations would be exposed to COVID-19 in childhood with a relatively mild disease. This early infection would then provide protection against severe disease throughout life. Circulation of COVID-19 in childhood could therefore periodically boost immunity in adults through exposure.”
In the BMJ paper led by Harrison Wilde, a panel of paeds experts meticulously developed criteria for hospital admissions that were either directly caused by covid, or that covid contributed to. From July 2020 to February 2022 76% of all admissions with covid in children were from covid totaling 21,000 hospitalisations.
Despite being labelled as mild, the arrival of the Omicron variant resulted in a substantial increase in hospitalisations as mitigations were removed from schools leading to 40-50% of children being infected in the Omicron wave up to April 2022. ICU admissions were also higher than before.
Contrary to the government’s claims only 38% of those hospitalised had clinical vulnerabilities that the JCVI recognised as putting children at high enough risk to be eligible for vaccination.
One of the study's authors Dr Deepti Gurdasani commented "Again, this puts into question the restriction of vaccination to these groups by JCVI… Many of us have suggested for a while that JCVI's criteria, even for the clinically vulnerable the definitions are too narrow - and it's likely many others are at risk."
At highest risk were children under the age of five. The JCVI have never recommend vaccination for children in this age group besides those who have certain conditions on a narrow list unlike in other countries such as the US who offer vaccination to all children over six months old.
Gurdasani concludes “I wonder how many of these hospitalisations and deaths could've been prevented had the evidence been followed, rather than the warped narrative that's been presented by many in UK paeds, JCVI and the media.”
Another study, published on 10 May 2023 found that,
“Our predominant, and actionable finding is that children and youth with long covid following likely infection with Omicron (both first infection and reinfection) have a similar profile to children and young people (CYP) with long covid after infection with other variants and that substantial numbers of CYP are likely to be impacted.”
There have been other studies that have warned about long covid in children, however what makes this paper different is the authors, this is the CLoCK Consortium, the UK’s main team working on long covid prevalence rates in children which includes Shamez Ladhani, the UK’s clinical lead on covid in children.
There were 70 deaths in children during this period from COVID-19 directly or PIMS-TS -while this may seem 'rare' to some, annual deaths from COVID-19 in 0-19 yr olds exceed deaths from any single infectious cause of death in children.
The latest study from the CLoCK consortium begins by estimating that over 90% of children and young people have now been infected with large numbers of primary infections and reinfections. ONS infection survey data suggests the average number of infections per child is two.
The authors state that it’s critical to understand the long-term impact of infection, warning that the scale of Omicron reinfections indicates “there could be an unprecedented impact and demand for services.”
There is also a growing body of evidence linking covid infections to a surge in Type 1 diabetes in children which is consistent with previous research demonstrating an association between covid infection and diabetes in children. In the US the CDC published a paper on the subject in January 2022, this was followed up by a research letter in JAMA Network Open in September 2022, while the latest paper, a systematic review and meta analysis of 42 studies published in June by a research team based in Toronto University found there was a 14% rise in the rate during the first year of the pandemic, compared to before covid and in the second year the rate was up about 27% on pre-pandemic levels.
There appears to be a collective failure amongst UK institutions in acknowledging the association between covid and diabetes. In 2020 the Diabetes UK website stated ''There are some very early clues to suggest that coronavirus might be triggering type 1 or type 2 diabetes in some people,or making the condition worse for others'', however this was removed in an update in 2022 which merely stated. ''If you have diabetes,you are no more likely to catch COVID19 than anyone else''
Searching “diabetes” on the covid resources section of the Royal College of Paedatrics and Child Health websites doesn’t return any information on the possibility of a link, and neither does a search of the UK Health Security Agency website.
With groups representing families who have suffered long term harm from covid, there are many who feel it’s essential the Covid Inquiry examines the assumptions and arguments made against continuing vaccination for the majority and the earlier decision to initially not recommend vaccination for the majority of children. The latest ONS figures show nearly one in 20 secondary students in England had long covid after their most recent infection.
Data from the US also demonstrates how repeat mass infection is not building up immunity in children.
Shamez Ladhani, the UK’s clinical lead for covid in children was contacted for comment but did not reply. Having stopped using Twitter just before his paper concluding Omicron would cause significant ongoing harm to children, Ladhani has recently appeared in the media discussing the importance of having children vaccinated against meningitis. Unfortunately he decided covid was not worth mentioning.