More than 1,600 children aged 5 to 11 experienced a systemic reaction such as fever or diarrhea after receiving one of the new COVID-19 vaccines, according to a study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Of 3,259 children in the age group who received an updated Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and were registered in the v-safe system, nearly half experienced a systemic reaction, CDC researchers found.
According to responses to v-safe, a smartphone survey system started by the CDC during the COVID-19 pandemic to monitor vaccine safety, 48.9 percent, or 1,594 children, in the 5 to 11 population who got a new booster between Oct. 12, 2022, and Jan. 1, 2023, experienced one or more systemic reactions.
The most common was fatigue, followed by headache, fever, myalgia—muscle pain—and chills. The least common was rash.
Seven hundred and two children experienced a health impact, such as being unable to attend school or being unable to perform "normal daily activities."
Researchers also reported the number of reported adverse events among the population to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), another safety monitoring system. Between Oct. 12, 2022, and Nov. 20, 2022, there were 920 reports that were processed by CDC researchers, most of which were for vaccination errors such as an incorrect dosage administered. Some, including 21 for fever, were for systemic events.
The reports do not prove causality with a vaccine but are an undercount of the true number of post-vaccination events, according to studies and U.S. health officials.
Two of the reports, both after Pfizer vaccination, were for serious events, including a child who developed symptoms of a rare illness called Miller Fisher syndrome.
There were no reports of death in either system.
The public-facing VAERS site does not allow a breakdown for ages 5 to 11. Between Nov. 1, 2022, and Jan. 6, 2023, there were 46 events for children aged 3 to 5. During the same time, 235 events were reported for children aged 6 to 17, including two hospitalizations, seven emergency room visits, and a permanent disability.
Limitations of the new study include v-safe being voluntary and VAERS being a passive surveillance system.
The CDC researchers said the preliminary safety findings "are reassuring." They also said that, in comparison with "the low risk of serious health effects" after vaccination with the Pfizer or Moderna shots, the effects of COVID-19 infection "include death and serious long-term sequalae."
'Invalid'The CDC did not report the events that happened on the day of vaccination for v-safe registrants, and only published data for one through seven days after vaccination.
That time period "is not nearly long enough to characterize safety," Dr. Harvey Risch, professor emeritus of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, told The Epoch Times via email.
"The present study is of 5-11 year olds, who have an infection fatality risk of well less than 3 per million, whereas the cited reference is of all ages, mostly adults, who have increasingly greater risks with age. The stated comparison of children with adults is thus invalid," Risch said.
While the study "is being represented by CDC as showing vaccine safety in this age group, no comparison to actual quantitative risks of Omicron infection serious adverse events has been performed," he added.