You have forwarded to us a website that disseminates statements by a man who identifies himself as Vladimir Zelenko, and who is introduced as a doctor, in which he claims that influenza is more dangerous to children than covid-19 and who, quoting a former Pfizer employee, estimates that "for every million children, 100 will die from the vaccine". There is not enough scientific evidence to be sure that the influenza virus is more dangerous to children than SARS-CoV-2, and there is no evidence to support the death rate indicated by Zelenko.
"The influenza virus is more dangerous to children than the covid virus and (Dr Yeadon) estimates that for every million children, 100 will die from the vaccine. I think the number will be reasonably higher."
The alleged doctor indicates at the beginning of his speech that influenza, the flu virus, “is more dangerous to children than the covid [virus]” and, furthermore, specifies that vaccines involve a higher risk for them to get the disease. To this end, he cites the prognosis of Mike Yeadon, a former employee of the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, whom we have already contradicted.
However, there is no scientific evidence to confirm that 100 out of a million children will die from the covid-19 vaccine. As we already explained, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have passed clinical trials and are being injected in countries such as the United States, Spain, France or Austria. It is true that both vials report cases of myocarditis in this age group —sometimes very rare—, but at a lower frequency than if the infection is naturally transmitted, according to the Ministry of Health in an information leaflet.
As of 16 July 2021, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that after giving the vaccine to nearly 9 million young people aged 12-18 years, 397 cases of myocarditis had been reported, none of which resulted in the patient's death. The data come from the US pharmacovigilance system (VAERS) which, as we already explained, records adverse events following vaccination, regardless of whether they are related to vaccination or not. The system recorded a total of 14 deaths of children under 18 years of age following vaccination, but none of these deaths were causally linked to the needle stick.
Control of the disease
Despite the fact that children under 18 years of age are at lower risk of dying from covid-19 or developing the most severe forms of the disease than other age groups, vaccinating these groups is important, as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states on its website, "to protect against and help protect against COVID-19".
Juanjo García, head of paediatrics at the “Hospital Sant Joan de Déu” in Barcelona, explains to Verificat, in the same sense, that "we are in the context of a pandemic and we will not be able to control the infection if we do not have a large part of the population vaccinated, and this includes children". The doctor gives as an example the situation of June 2021, in which the incidence exploded among the young population, most of whom had not yet been vaccinated: "If we find ourselves again with a group of people who are very susceptible because they are not yet vaccinated, we would certainly have the health systems collapsed again," he develops.
Flu and covid-19
On the other hand, there is not enough scientific evidence to say that influenza disease is more dangerous in children than covid-19. An article published in September 2021 suggests that children under 18 years of age are more likely to be admitted to the ICU if they contract influenza than covid-19, but indicated that large-scale studies are needed to provide accurate evidence, as the sample used in their work was very limited (164 covid-19 patients and 46 influenza patients).
A statistical study from the British Medical Journal performed over the British population in 2016 approximates the average death rate in children between 1997 and 2009 due to the influenza virus at 19 deaths per year. In comparison, Nature journal compiled in an article results from three preprints to conclude that covid-19, in its first year (until 28 february 2021), had caused 25 deaths in children below 18 in Great Britain.
"The mortality rate for both diseases is absolutely negligible" in this age group, the expert confirms, specifying that "some children with very serious underlying pathologies, especially neurological ones, do have unfavourable outcomes" in the case of influenza.
Flu vaccination programmes
In any case, several countries have yearly vaccination programmes against the flu destined to children that help slow down the severe cases caused by the disease. This is the case, for example, in the United States, where the CDC recommends that "everyone over 6 months of age should receive a seasonal influenza vaccine every year", with special emphasis on children under 5 years of age. Also Australia (especially children aged 6 months to 5 years) and the United Kingdom (children aged 2 to 15 years), among others, recommend vaccination of certain groups of minors.
This is not the case in Spain, as the Spanish Association of Paediatrics indicates, which only recommends "annual vaccination for children with diseases that make them more prone to complications", such as asthma, diabetes, some kidney diseases, diseases of the immune system, obesity, etc. This year, in addition, those with neurological and respiratory sequelae as a result of covid-19 are included in the risk groups. For the rest of the children, it is not financed by the health system, but it is not contraindicated either: "Annual vaccination of healthy children is an option to be considered by families", they indicate on their website.
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