According to Pfizer’s website, there have been three separate cycles of Pfizer COVID vaccine trials where they enrolled up to 4,500 children ages 6 months to 11 years in more than 90 clinical trials in the United States, Finland, Poland and Spain.
The company has been conducting COVID vaccine trials in Polish children aged 3 to 11 years. Intelligence reports also indicate that at least eight private clinics or research centers are part of those conducting these trials. The information has been kept from the public because of Pfizer’s “secrecy” clauses.
However, unofficial reports have indicated that children between 6 and 11 were given the vaccine, and those between the ages of 3 and 5 received at least one dose. Overall, about 1,000 Polish children have received the Pfizer vaccine.
Ethics of clinical trials involving children raise concerns
The science and ethics of clinical trials on children have also raised human rights concerns. Yaffa Shir-Raz, a risk communicator researcher at the University of Haifa in Israel writes an article regarding the questionable methods used by Pfizer.
In the article, Shir-Raz points out troublesome facts that show Pfizer’s lack of concern for the safety of the children. For instance, those who developed severe depression after vaccination have been found to have pre-existing psychiatric conditions that should have warranted their exclusion from the study.
The reporting criteria seem to have been designed to exclude signals of adverse events.
Vaccine developers also have a long history of experimenting on the most vulnerable populations, such as orphans, mentally and physically disabled, political refugees and other impoverished populations.
How clinical trials are conducted on children
Clinical trials usually say different things depending on their design. Understanding how the trials for the vaccines are designed is important in understanding the results. One current example is how the differences can affect the use of vaccines.
Clinical trials on children are important to determine three things: dose, safety and immune response.
Vaccine doses vary from medications because the latter are often prescribed based on the relative size of a person, while the former is administered after researchers determine the “sweet spot” between generating immunity and the lowest rate of side effects.
Safety is typically determined by evaluating both the kinds of side effects experienced by participants as well as the frequency with which they are experienced. Scientists also identify immune responses to determine whether or not someone is protected against future infections.
Pfizer’s clinical trials involving children in orphanages and care homes are suspected to have gone through backdoor channels, considering that there has not been a single court case in which the vaccine is said to be tested in children.
The conference noted that without action from Polish authorities, it will not be possible to confirm how many of these children may have developed serious complications or have faced death.
While getting rid of the weakest in the population has always been practiced in the name of the greater good, many groups believe that now is the time to put an end to such practice.
**By Mary Villareal