CogRes Comment: Why are scientists looking at COVID vaccines for children?

7 April 2021
Child having her temp taken from her ear
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash


Professor Chris Witty’s response to an ordinary punter’s question during the Coronavirus Downing Street briefing, suggests that he is not at all confident that the COVID vaccines currently being administered to adults in the UK, are safe enough for children.

Comment by Brenton Asari

At Easter Monday’s Coronavirus Downing Street briefing, a “Matthew of Norwich” posed a leading question to the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his advisers Sir Patrick Vallance and Prof Chris Witty :-

“As more adults become protected due to the speedy vaccine roll-out, Is there a risk that COVID19 could mutate and affect children more? If so, are scientists looking at vaccines for children also?”


The question echoed concerns that “Mass Vaccination Will Breed Dangerous Variants” – as recently highlighted by vaccine expert Geert Vanden Bossche – that the implementation of the current mass vaccination programme in the midst of an infectious pandemic outbreak, could create the conditions for ‘immune escape’. This, argue some experts, could result in the evolution of more dangerous pathogens and vaccine resistant strains of the virus.

Sir Patrick Vallance (UK Chief Scientific Adviser) took on Matthew’s question and basically confirmed the British authority’s intention to target children in future COVID vaccination programmes.

According to Sir Vallance, while no evidence suggests that the virus will mutate specifically to infect children, over time viruses normally circumvent and escape vaccine based immunity, and vulnerable groups may need regular “booster” updates to their vaccine formula.

Sir Vallance confirmed that vaccines for children were being looked at, such as in a recent Pfizer study,
and that over the next few months there would be more trials with children using the same vaccines as currently in use for UK adults.

It was then, just before the next question that the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, interjected and dropped a bombshell, which suggested to me that Whitty may already be preparing the groundwork for his defence in any future potential Nuremburg-style trial for “Crimes against humanity” … should it all go horribly wrong ….

“Could I just add one point on this, which is, one of the few good things about this epidemic, and there are almost none, is that children are relatively unaffected, but for that reason you’d want to be absolutely confident that a vaccine was highly safe, because children are at relatively low risk, and therefore you want to be confident, that the vaccine is incredibly safe, if you are using it in children. In older adults of course, the risk of COVID is incredibly high, so that the risk ratios look different”

Professor Chris Whitty – UK Chief Medical Officer

Prof Whitty seems not at all confident that the same COVID vaccines injected over recent months into the arms of millions of UK adults, are currently safe enough for children.

Children are “relatively unaffected” by COVID …. so you’d want to be “absolutely confident” a vaccine is “highly safe”

Children are at “relatively low risk” …. so you want to be “confident” the vaccine is “incredibly safe”

PROFESSOR CHRIS WHITTY (Chief Medical Officer)

At the end of his statement Prof Whitty suggests that the danger of COVID for older people is “incredibly high”, and that the risk ratio of pros/cons and risks/rewards of “taking the vaccine” versus “contracting the virus” varies significantly between different age groups.

If children are already at virtually zero risk of being harmed by the coronavirus …

  • how safe must a vaccine be to be better than virtually zero risk ?
  • how effective can a vaccine be in preventing a disease that a child already has virtually zero chance of contracting ?
  • In those circumstances, is it even ethical to administer potentially unsafe experimental vaccines to children, for a condition which does not even adversely affect children in the slightest ?

For a video of the press conference question “Are scientists looking at COVID vaccines for children?” see Easter Monday’s Coronavirus: Downing Street Briefing (at 40:46)

See also

Trial of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine in children paused amid rare blood clots probe

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