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20 September 2021

#UK Injecting 12-15 year olds: it still doesn’t add up

As we all know, the JCVI advised against vaccinating 12-15 year olds for the good reason that the risks outweigh the benefits. Politics won and the government nevertheless went ahead and approved it.

This decision had to be justified. So, having deprived children of their education, the government released a paper that quantified the days of school that would be ‘saved’ if these kids were injected. The number they came up with, under the central scenario, was 110,000 days saved, over a 6 month period.

Sounds impressive? It works out at just 15 minutes per child, over the whole six months – they could’ve beat that 30 times over just by shortening the schools lockdown by a day. But it doesn’t stop there.

First they fiddled the vaccine efficacy numbers by ignoring the ONS data that suggests that around 50% of this age group have been previously infected. Apart from the obvious fact that those 50% already have better protection than the vaccine would give them and therefore don’t need the vaccine, the effect on the calculation means the 15 minutes of saved school time is a significant over-estimate.

This fact is not even mentioned in the report, even as limitation to the study.

Next, the report ignores the lost schooling due to the time taken to administer the vaccine. The 15 minute post-vaccine rest time recommended by Pfizer alone wipes out the school time ‘saved’ by the vaccine. Never mind the waiting, queuing etc.

Research in Lancet Infectious Diseases found that 13% suffered systemic (whole body) side effects such as diarrhea, fever and nausea and 72% suffered localised side effects from the injection. That study was for adults but found that side effects were more common among younger people. Those children suffering systemic adverse effects will likely be taking days, not minutes, off school.