Subject: A personal plea to end children's vaccine mandates in Boston
Date: February 11, 2022
Dear Mayor Wu,
Seeing the articles in the Globe about the protests in front of your home and reading about how they are affecting your family and your neighborhood community, we can only imagine how intense this period has been for you personally. It feels uncomfortable to us to see people expressing their anger and frustration at you in front of your home, while you and your family are there, and yet, we believe that they are moved to express their anger so personally because the vaccine mandates being imposed will negatively impact their own families in the most personal and intimate ways possible.
We write today to share with you our own personal experience, as well as the results of our own process for deciding whether to vaccinate our children, in the hopes that together we can support our city to be the best it can be. Thank you in advance for taking the time and effort to understand our perspective.
In our family, where we adults are vaccinated but our children are not, we are bracing for the child vaccine mandate that has been announced for Boston, and for the first time we are facing the prospect of being pushed out of the only community our children have ever known. We depend heavily on access to public spaces such as gyms, museums, restaurants, theaters and so forth. Our children will no longer be able to rock climb at the gym, swim at our neighborhood community center, go to birthday parties and other gatherings with their friends in restaurants, entertainment centers and other venues, or learn at Boston's amazing museums. They will be less fit, less educated, socially isolated and marginalized. In short, if this mandate goes into effect (and is not shortly thereafter rescinded) it will likely force us out of Boston, our home, entirely.
All this would be more understandable if Covid science supported the notion that the child vaccination mandates could plausibly save many lives. We care deeply about the health and safety of our fellow Bostonians, and share the desire to allow all people to live long and full lives. Unfortunately, the science very clearly shows that vaccinating healthy children will not save them or others:
Vaccines no longer stop the spread of Covid. While there may have been some initial efficacy for stopping infections and spread, it has long been clear that subsequent variants have rendered the vaccines ineffective at stopping the spread.
For vaccination to reduce spread, it would either need to reduce the likelihood of a person becoming infected, or reduce the likelihood of a vaccinated and infected person infecting another person. But, multiple studies (from Denmark, Germany, The United Kingdom and Canada) show that protection against infection for Omicron is actually negative (meaning vaccines increase chances of infection) after roughly 90 days. Studies also show that vaccination does not reduce the viral load of infected individuals. Therefore, the scientific evidence casts doubt on both mechanisms by which vaccination could possibly reduce spread.
More importantly, observational studies clearly demonstrate that vaccination has not been effective in reducing spread in real world practice. People inoculated against Covid-19 are just as likely to spread the virus to members of their household as those who haven’t had shots. And, most importantly, vaccination rate is not related to Covid case rates or increases across countries or US counties. In fact, many of the countries that suffered from the highest Covid rates and largest spikes were also the most vaccinated countries in the world. We may not yet understand exactly why it’s true, but this data shows unambiguously that vaccines are not an effective tool for stopping the spread of Covid.
Healthy children are not at significant risk from Covid. For children, the chance of death or serious illness from Covid has never significantly exceeded the risk of death or serious illness/injury from broadly accepted risks like the flu and car accidents.
Deaths from Covid are “incredibly rare” among children, and even among those very few deaths, half “were in individuals with an underlying complex disability with high health-care needs, such as tube feeding or assistance with breathing.” Even comorbidities like obesity are associated with only a “very small” increase in risk.
There is very little evidence that supposed “Long Covid” presents a meaningful risk to children. A large and meticulous scientific study demonstrated that people who never had Covid, but mistakenly thought that they did, were more likely to report symptoms of Long Covid than people who actually did have Covid without realizing it. In other words, Long Covid was more strongly associated with the false belief that you had Covid than it was with actually having Covid. This demonstrates, at the very least, that reports of Long Covid are vastly inflated, but also probably that so-called Long Covid symptoms are no worse than the lingering effects of the flu. Confirming the findings of this study, a large meta analysis of all Long Covid studies looking at children showed that the vast majority of studies available fail to even provide a control group, and in the few studies that did include a control group, the frequency of most persistent symptoms was similar in positive cases and controls. Again, this suggests that Long Covid is either extremely rare, very mild, or both.
Vaccinating healthy children will not meaningfully decrease strain on hospitals. The principal justification for coercing children to get vaccinations is to protect our hospital system from being overburdened and collapsing. However, despite much attention to the burden on hospitals in the media, there has never been evidence that the Boston hospital system was in danger of collapse. Even at the height of the Omicron spike, Boston area hospitals and ICUs often had 10% or more unused capacity. And, even if the Boston hospital system had been in danger of collapsing under the burden, the scientific evidence currently available does not support the contention that vaccinating children would substantially reduce the burden, given that otherwise healthy children are so unlikely to need hospital care for Covid and that the vaccines do not prevent children from spreading the virus to vulnerable individuals. Further, with the passing of the Omicron peak, the Covid specific burden on hospitals has already been drastically reduced.
Because the vaccines do not stop the spread of the virus, because children are not at substantial risk from the virus, and because vaccinating children will not meaningfully reduce strain on hospitals, there is no scientific justification for mandates that coerce children to be injected with mRNA or DNA vaccines. The supposed justifications for these mandates unambiguously fail on all counts.
Yet unscientific one-size-fits-all vaccination requirements that fail to distinguish between high risk and low risk populations may nevertheless do substantial damage:
Short term side effects are much more common than with other vaccines and can occasionally be very dangerous.
One large study shows that many children are at greater risk of hospitalization due to serious illness from vaccine side effects than due to Covid.
Studies show that myocarditis rates rise by as much as 16 times after getting vaccinated, and that vaccine induced myocarditis is substantially more dangerous than non-vaccine related myocarditis, leading to more deaths and hospitalizations.
Another study shows that biological markers of heart damage rose dramatically, immediately after vaccination, even in patients not complaining of new cardiac symptoms.
In 2021 there were over 13 times more post-vaccine injuries reported for Covid vaccines than for all other vaccines combined.
Because of this scientific evidence, some countries, such as Sweden and Norway, do not even recommend (much less mandate) children be vaccinated, and have only recently started to even allow them to be vaccinated.
There has been no research demonstrating that the mRNA vaccines are safe from long term side effects.
Because the vaccines are so new, and because the vaccine trials were prematurely unblinded and their control groups dismantled, there have been no studies whatsoever demonstrating safety from serious long term side effects.
It is possible for vaccines to have extremely serious side effects that only show up after considerable time has passed. For example, Pfizer introduced a cow vaccine, PregSure BVD, in 2004 and sold more than 14 million doses in Europe alone by 2010, before discovering that the vaccine was resulting in cows producing milk that caused their calves to bleed uncontrollably from their eyes, ears, and skin and to destroy their own bone marrow and blood cells. This effect was delayed from the time of vaccination and could take years to fully manifest. Many thousands of cows died as a result before the connection was discovered and the vaccine was finally withdrawn from the market. Risks like this are why long term studies are usually required for human vaccine safety testing. However, as noted above, there have been no long term safety trials of the Covid vaccines.
Researchers have been struggling to develop mRNA therapeutics since the 1990s, but due to safety concerns, the FDA had declined to approve even a single medicine or vaccine based on the technology until the Covid vaccines were approved in a drastically abbreviated process in December 2020. This abbreviated process cut the normal 15 to 20 year timeline for vaccine development, safety testing and approval down to one year.
While the full extent of the short term harm and long term risk remains unknown, it is clear that there have already been many deaths and serious illnesses caused by the vaccines, and there is at least the potential that for children the damage done will end up outweighing the negligible potential benefit. While some parents may choose to vaccinate their children after assessing these risks, there is no scientifically valid reason to coerce any child to be vaccinated.
It’s also worth noting that, given the clear scientific evidence that vaccines are not effective in preventing the spread of Covid, making vaccination a condition of entering restaurants, entertainment venues, etc. is purely punitive. There is no logical connection between vaccination and access to those venues since vaccinated individuals are also spreading Covid at high rates. The only reason to make access to those venues contingent on vaccination is to put such an unbearable burden on families that it will coerce them into getting their children vaccines that they do not want and do not need.
Something else that has been concerning us personally around this topic is the publicized implication that objections to the vaccine mandate are driven by racism. On the contrary, like the vast majority of Americans, we care deeply about fairness and positive outcomes for people from all groups, and our objection to this vaccine mandate is based on careful research about what we do and do not know about the health risks and benefits of the Covid vaccines. The false characterization that those who do not support vaccine mandates are racist leads to an increase in fear and paranoia in our communities during a time when what we all need is to see the humanity and goodwill in our neighbors. We need to be able to hear one another’s concerns with open minds and hearts, and if people are walking around thinking that anyone who opposes the mandates is racist or uncaring, that will make it harder for them to be curious, and thus it will be harder for all of us to work together to forge a common good.
As often happens, blaming racism, when in fact other factors are responsible, will harm minority communities most of all. As examples of how Boston’s minority communities have often been hit the hardest by Covid restrictions, consider:
The majority of educators in Boston Public Schools who face termination because they are unvaccinated are black or latino.
School closures—shown to be ineffective at preventing viral spread—took the greatest toll on vulnerable, low income communities which are disproportionately minority.
Lockdowns, though likely largely ineffective at saving lives, caused twice as many black businesses to close compared to other businesses.
Once again, in the case of the child vaccine mandates, because blacks and latinos are, on average, more skeptical of vaccination efforts that fail to distinguish between high risk and low risk populations, they will bear the brunt of the penalties you intend to impose. Children from these groups will be disproportionately shut out from public venues, isolated, and marginalized by punitive vaccine mandates. This makes the effort to shut down debate about the merits of the mandates by falsely claiming that racism motivates the objections particularly distressing.
Because the vaccine mandates for children are not scientifically justified, because they are coercive and punitive, and because the damage they inflict is likely to exceed any benefit, we call upon you to immediately reverse the mandate already in effect and to halt plans to impose additional vaccination requirements on the children of Boston.
Zac and Cynthia Kriegman
P.S. If you are reading a printed version of this letter and would like to follow the underlined webpage links to the scientific sources referenced above, you can find the online version at <https://kriegman.substack.com/p/boston-vaccine-mandate>.
That's a wonderful letter. Unfortunately, the people you're dealing with cannot be reached through objective, rational argumentation.
"Listen, and understand! That Terminator is out there! It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear."
Also Zac -- do we actually have studies that vaccinations of _children_ fail to prevent covid spread to adults? Or are you jumping from the claim (which actually imo isn't really confirmed yet, given all the confounds) that since vaccines given to adults are not stopping covid-spread in adults, vaccination of children also will not affect spread among adults? Remember the natural experiment involving mandatory flu vaccination of children in Japan, where the vaccination resulted in a reduction of "37,000 to 49,000 deaths per year, or about 1 death for every 420 children vaccinated," almost all of elderly adults? https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11259722/