FDA advisor comment fuels misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines’ safety

A comment from an FDA advisory panel member, who stated that “we’re never going to learn about how safe this vaccine is unless we start giving it,” has been taken out of context and used by vaccine opponents, including a U.S. congressperson, to cast doubt on COVID-19 vaccines for younger children. The advisor’s full remarks recognized the fact that, while the vaccines are very safe and effective in children, the cost-benefit analysis is different for younger populations who are less susceptible to serious complications from COVID-19. That does not mean that the vaccines have not been tested in children or that they were found to be anything other than safe and effective. The FDA voted to authorize vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 because the benefits of vaccination—more than 90 percent efficacy against COVID-19—far outweigh the extremely rare potential risks in the population.

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