In response to lagging child Covid-19 vaccination rates, the Sydney Local Health District announced free entry to the Sydney Royal Easter Show for children aged 5-11 years who receive a Covid-19 vaccine. At the same time, Sydney Local Health District Chief Executive Dr Teresa Anderson reportedly acknowledged that children often suffer milder Covid-19 symptoms than adults.
Incentives such as these are unusual but not unheard of. In New York, high school students were reportedly paid $100 for getting vaccinated. In other parts of the US, students were given the chance to win free prom or homecoming tickets or an opportunity to enter the raffle to win a $100,000 college scholarship.
The push to increase vaccination rates comes after the Australian Department of Health encouraged children aged 5 years and over to receive a Covid vaccination. This is despite a growing body of research that questions the effectiveness of Covid vaccines for children and ongoing debates about the need for children to be vaccinated.
Some in the medical profession believe children should be vaccinated against Covid-19 and that increased messaging is needed around vaccination to increase uptake in the younger age groups. These professionals believe misperceptions around children’s susceptibility to catching Covid and the potential harm this can cause has led to reluctance by parents to have their children vaccinated.
These views are at odds from others in the profession. For example, in March this year, the TGA received a alleged adverse reaction report related to the death of a 7-year-old boy after receiving a Pfizer vaccination which the TGA will need to investigate. This follows a significant number of alleged adverse events reported to the TGA in Australia and other reporting database globally in children as young as 5 years of age following Covid-19 vaccinations globally.
These alleged adverse events in children include but are not limited to seizures, chest pain, pericarditis, visual impairments, changes in menstrual cycles and even death.
In an open letter to Australian leaders, a group of medical professionals called on the government to stop the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines to children. These concerns were supported in the recent covid under question cross-party inquiry into vaccinations, which was hosted by Senator Malcolm Roberts. Stephen Andrew (One Nation Queensland State MP for Mirani), George Christensen (Federal Nationals MP for Dawson), Gerard Rennick (Federal Liberal Senator for Queensland), Alex Antic (Federal Liberal Senator for South Australia) and Craig Kelly (Federal Palmer United Australia MP for Hughes) were also in attendance.
Parliamentarians heard from doctors, experts and everyday people discussing the government’s response to Covid. Dr Peter McCullough, an expert in Covid-19 illness and a leading cardiologist and epidemiologist from the United States raised significant safety concerns over Covid vaccinations during the inquiry. His concerns do have some support from the many peer-reviewed studies that provide evidence that the Covid vaccines do not stop transmission well, if at all and that the virus has mutated so much that existing vaccines have limited, if not any effect.