On Thursday Pfizer-BioNTech requested that the FDA give emergency approval for booster shots in children ages 5 to 11 for COVID-19 from their Emergency Use Authorized vaccine Comirnaty. The additional shot would be given six months after the two-dose primary set of shots. Pfizer claims that this increases antibodies against the original strain of the coronavirus up to six-fold. One must wonder though, why a booster would be approved under Emergency Use Authorization as necessary for children ages 5 to 11 against COVID-19 when they are the least likely age demographic to be affected negatively by COVID-19 according to scientists from the University College London and the Universities of York Bristol and Liverpool. At the present time, Pfizer is only authorized under the Emergency Use Authorization to provide boosters for people ages 12 and up.
Pfizer has made record profits from COVID-19 vaccination drives pushed by governments all over the world. Pfizer expects to bring in over $50 billion in revenue from the COVID-19 vaccines and oral medications this year alone. Pfizer has tried to market itself as a quote a pandemic partner to the government and health systems around the world. CEO Albert Bourla told investors, “We are well positioned to continue to lead the battle against this disease.” Pfizer exceeded its goal of manufacturing three billion Comirnaty doses in 2021. Pfizer said it expects Comirnaty to bring in a revenue of 32 billion dollars and Paxlovid, a pill approved for Emergency Use Authorization, to bring in a revenue of $22 billion dollars by themselves. This is an increase from the $83 billion dollars in revenue up from 2021 and way up from the $41 billion dollars in revenue in 2020.
Pfizer has been accused of pandemic profiteering by the group Global Justice Now. They explained that $81 billion dollars in profit was more than the gross domestic product of most countries. Additionally, they have accused Pfizer of “ripping off the public health system.” One can certainly see the relevance of Global Justice Now’s point when Pfizer continues to push boosters to be approved for Emergency Use Authorization from our FDA in age demographics that are at low risk such as children ages 5 to 11.
What possible benefit will these boosters have to children ages 5 to 11 when they have very little to no risk from COVID-19? More importantly though, is why has the FDA continued to rubber stamp approve Emergency Use Authorizations for anything related to COVID-19 and Pfizer? Who is in charge of these regulatory agencies that appear to have conflicts of interests and are in a position to harm the public?
There have been no long-term studies done on Pfizer’s vaccine in relation to health and children ages 5 to 11 years old. Yet, they have received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA to give two vaccines of Comirnaty to these age groups for COVID-19 and now they wish to push boosters with the consent of the FDA on these age groups irrespective of the lacking long-term studies to child health and questionable benefit to children overall.
It isn’t clear how the FDA will rule in Pfizer’s request for Emergency Use Authorization for a booster shot of Comirnaty in children ages 5 to 11. Considering there have been severe side effects in the past, like myocarditis, the FDA would have to weigh the potential risks and benefits in this age group. Additionally, regulators may decide to approve the vaccine for emergency use authorization only in children with certain underlying medical conditions that would put them at higher risk than their peers in that age group. Whatever the case may be the decision to boost a child with Pfizer’s Comirnaty Covid-19 vaccine will be left up to the parents to decide.
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