On November 2nd, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that children aged 5-11 receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, paving the way for the age group to receive shots the same week.
A Kaiser Family Foundation poll in October found that parents of children ages 5-11 are split on getting their child vaccinated against COVID-19 right away (27%), not at all (30%), or saying they will wait and see (33%).
The concerns most often expressed by parents pertain to safety. Seventy-six percent of parents of 5-11 year olds say they are very or somewhat concerned that not enough is known about the long-term effects of the COVID-19 vaccine in children, 71% say their child might experience serious side effects from the vaccine, and 66% say the COVID-19 vaccine may negatively impact their child’s fertility in the future.
According to an Ipsos poll conducted in late September, 81% of parents with kids aged 5-11 are somewhat or very worried about their child(ren) getting infected COVID-19. Forty-two percent are very worried.
How Right-Wing Outlets are Covering the Recommendation
Right-rated outlets are more likely to provide coverage pointing out that just 94 children aged 5-11 years old have died due to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to CDC provisional death counts.
Some right-rated outlets, such as TheBlaze (Right) and The Gateway Pundit (Right), also provided coverage of a doctor on the FDA advisory panel stating,“We’re never going to learn about how safe the vaccine is unless we start giving it…That’s how we found out about rare complications of other vaccines.”
Right-rated outlets are also likely to mention that COVID-19 infection also grants some immunity against COVID-19. The Epoch Times (Lean Right) notes that “Recovery from COVID-19 grants some level of immunity from reinfection, according to dozens of studies. The CDC, though, continues to insist that even the recovered should get vaccinated, asserting that natural immunity is boosted by the vaccines. Some outside experts say vaccination isn’t needed among the recovered, or some of the recovered—or children at all.”
How Left-Wing Outlets Are Covering the Recommendation
Left-rated outlets are more likely to focus on the high transmissibility of the Delta variant of COVID-19, and the fact that children and younger people were the largest share of COVID-19 infections in recent months. A CNN (Left) opinion writer argues that infections in children can transmit to more vulnerable populations, and other outlets say that vaccinating young people is key to suppressing transmission of the virus.
A popular phrase on the left used to combat safety concerns of those on the right is the idea that the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines “greatly outweigh the risks.” Left-rated outlets might point to the fact that myocarditis appears to be more prevalent in people who were vaccinated, but also mention that a COVID-19 infection itself may cause myocarditis at greater rates than the vaccine, and that COVID-19 can lead to other serious or deadly postinfectious diseases.
NBC News (Lean Left) pointed out that “A total of 877 cases of vaccine-induced myocarditis have been confirmed by the CDC in males under 30 to date”, quoting a pediatric cardiologist, “There were nine deaths [from myocarditis], but investigators found that none of the deaths so far were caused by vaccine-induced myocarditis… Patients with vaccine-induced myocarditis tend to return to normal heart function more quickly…”
Andrew Weinzierl is AllSides’ Research Assistant and Data Journalist. He has a Lean Left bias.
This piece was reviewed by Managing Editor Henry A. Brechter (Center bias) and Director of Marketing Julie Mastrine (Lean Right bias).