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The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has announced plans to follow federal guidelines in allowing COVID-19 vaccinations for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.

The shots were authorized last week by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On Saturday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) opened the vaccines’ availability to children as young as six-months-old.

Advisers to the CDC recommended the vaccines for young children, and the final signoff came hours later from Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the agency’s director.

“We know millions of parents and caregivers are eager to get their young children vaccinated, and with today’s decision, they can,” Walensky said in a statement. “While the Food and Drug Administration approves vaccines, it’s the CDC that decides who should get them.”

1819 News talked to Chief Medical Officer with ADPH, Karen Landers, before the vaccine received full authorization from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

She said that, after the vaccines receive approval, the ADPH would continue its trend of following CDC recommendations and distributing the vaccines statewide for use in infants and toddlers.

“The ADPH will do as we have done before with other age groups with COVID vaccines,” Landers told 1819 News. “We do have some entities that have preordered for the age group. If there is an authorization, they are already preordered and available, so that vaccine would be shipped. And then ADPH will be able to start ordering vaccines for our local health departments as we have done for every other age group.

“We do expect we will have vaccines in Alabama this upcoming week if the ACIP makes a recommendation to move forward.”  

According to the CDC, while COVID-19 has been the most dangerous for older adults, younger people, including children, can also get sick.

Dr. David Calderwood, an expert in Emergency and Family Medicine with Concerned Doctors,  said the vaccine is completely unnecessary for infants and toddlers.

“We have no idea the long-term effects of this, so this poses no benefit and tons of potential injuries,” Calderwood told 1819 News.

“We, in our group, are very concerned about vaccinating children of any age, but especially those between the ages of six months to five, because they have no possible benefit.”

Dr. David Kimberlin, the head of Children’s of Alabama’s Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, calls the vaccines “safe and effective” for children six months and older. 

But the decision on whether to vaccinate against COVID-19 remains up to parents, and Kimberlin encourages families to talk with their pediatricians. 

“Full protection is better conferred by the vaccine-induced immunity than it is by infection-induced immunity,” Kimberlin said. “Interestingly, the strongest protection does seem to be if you’ve had the infection previously and then get fully vaccinated.

 “I’m not advocating going out and getting infected before you get your vaccine,” Kimberlin added. “I am saying, if you’ve been, like 75% of all children in the United States, infected with COVID, especially in this last Omicron wave in January or February of this year. If you then go get vaccinated as is now recommended for 6 months of age and older, you will have maximized protection for your child and done everything you can to keep them safe.”

According to CDC data, about 480 children under five are among the nation’s more than 1 million COVID-19 deaths.

Calderwood claims there has only been one reported case of a child under five dying from COVID without an accompanying chronic illness.

“The statistics show that even for kids less than 18, there were no deaths in kids that did not have some sort of chronic illness,” Calderwood said. “The UK data shows us that only one child under age five, in a population over 60 million, died that didn’t have some sort of chronic disease.

“A large German study showed that the rate of death is about three-per-million in kids, and there were no deaths under five. So, kids just don’t die from this.”

Calderwood also contends that the vaccine, which is designed to treat the Alpha variant, will have little to no efficacy in children, especially when they have acquired natural immunity against the mutated variants.

“80% of children have already had COVID and have natural immunity; they have the best immunity,” Calderwood said. “Over 150 studies have shown that natural immunity is far better than vaccine-induced immunity; we’ve known that for decades.”

Cahaba Medical Care runs twelve health clinics across Alabama, including Centreville, Woodstock, Marion and Camden. It is expecting doses for six months and older to arrive within two weeks.

Dr. John Waits, CEO of Cahaba Medical, tells 1819 News his kids are vaccinated and he’s recommending it to his patients.

“Covid is ‘easier’ on kids than adults,” he said. "It's true, but COVID is worse on kids than some diseases that we vaccinate for and some kids get really sick.”

The two brands that received the nod from the FDA and the CDC are Pfizer and Moderna.

Pfizer’s vaccine is for children six months to four years old. The dose is one-tenth of the adult dose, and three shots are needed. The first two are given three weeks apart, and the last at least two months later.

Moderna’s is two shots, each a quarter of its adult dose, given about four weeks apart for kids six months through five years old. The FDA also approved a third dose, at least a month after the second shot, for children with immune conditions that make them more vulnerable to serious illness.

“In one study, in kids under age 11, the efficacy was dropped to 12%; I don’t think that any parent who knows the data would risk their child’s health for a seven-week possible benefit,” Calderwood said. “We know from multiple studies now that vaccination doesn’t reduce the risk of spreading, so there’s no reason to vaccinate the kids for their benefit or to protect people around them.”

Calderwood claims that the risk is not worth the reward in the “novel” mRNA vaccines due to reported cases of blood clotting, arterial damage, heart issues, autoimmune disease, possible fertility issues, and others.

Calderwood insinuated that corruption or ignorance are the only plausible options when asked what the motivations would be for these health institutions to recommend something he claims is so dangerous.

“They have either not looked at the data deeply enough, or they are compromised by some external pressures; That’s the only explanation I can come up with,” Calderwood said. “I think a lot of the public health departments are afraid to vary from what the FDA, CDC, and NIH say. But I think the fact the FDA approved this, and the CDC is behind it shows -without question- that these agencies are captured by the pharmaceutical industry. There’s no other rational explanation that I can think of that would explain why they are putting our children at risk with no possible benefit.”

The Concerned Doctors have sent a public letter to the ADPH, Gov. Kay Ivey, and members of the Alabama legislature.

“Concerned Doctors, a network of Alabama physicians and other health care professionals, call for the immediate cessation of COVID-19 vaccination of minors,” the letter read. “With our current understanding of the virus and the vaccine, there is no rational or scientific justification for injecting these experimental biologics into children. We are risking the lives and health of the rising generation for no benefit to them or to society.”

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email craig.monger@1819news.com.

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