Should you get your kids the COVID vaccine?

I have no ideological commitments either way. To me, this is simply a matter of comparing risks. The probability that a given child will suffer life-threatening side-effects from the vaccine are small; the probability of a given child catching COVID and becoming life-threateningly ill is also small. Neither is zero. We must estimate these probabilities so we can compare them. The following are copied from the notes I composed a couple of weeks ago when the Pfizer vaccine became available to children 5-11. (My children are 7 and 11.) I have not updated my numbers since then; I will do that when I revisit the issue in a couple of weeks. I have no relevant expertise, but have just gone with what I could learn from the CDC website and miscellaneous Google searches. You may consider, critique, or discard it as you like.

  • Note 1: that effectiveness of the vaccine begins to wear off after half a year (source: Nature). So we must compare the probability of serious harm from the vaccine to that of serious harm from COVID over, say, the timescale of a year.
  • Note 2: The Pfizer study of the vaccine effects on 5-11 year olds involved only 2,268 participants (source: Pfizer’s own webpage), meaning it can only meaningfully estimate probabilities of harm well greater than order 0.001. Both COVID and vaccine dangers are estimated below to be much less than this, so this study will not help.
  • Note 3: Instead, we will look at data for 12-17 year olds. Below, we will use the fact that there are about 20 million Americans in this age range (source: US Census Bureau). I will only consider deaths because this data was easiest for others to aggregate and for me to find.
  • Note 4: When concentrating on deaths, the relevant comparison is A) probability of dying from the vaccine vs B) probability of dying from COVID = probability of catching it times probability of dying from it if the child has it.

Probability of a 12-17 year old dying from COVID in the next year

There have been about 2.6 million COVID cases in this age range (source: CDC), with around 400 deaths (source: CDC, usual caveat that this is “dying with”, which may be distinct from “dying from”, but one uses the numbers one has). Actually, it depends where on the CDC site you look; one of their data plotting utilities showed more like 1000; fortunately I’m just after orders of magnitude, so I’ll make it 700. 75% of the dead had “underlying medical conditions” (source: NEJM), either because they were more likely to contract the disease or because they were more likely to die once they had it. Either way, the probability for a healthy child to die in the next year should be multiplied by 0.25. The probability of contracting the disease in a year’s time can only be guessed at. 2.6 million out of about 20 million have already had it, but the disease is more widespread than before, so we will be cautious and set this probability to 0.5. (700/2.6e6)*0.25*0.5 = 3e-5.

Probability of a 12-17 year old dying from the COVID vaccine

About 60% in this age range are vaccinated (source: CDC). There have been 234 reported life-threatening vaccine reactions in this age range, 26 deaths (source: CDC VAERS, assuming I used it correctly). For a fair comparison, we should use deaths. I have been unable to find information about underlying conditions, but the anecdotes I have heard don’t suggest they are particularly concentrated among the unhealthy. (I have heard that boys may be at greater risk than girls.) [26/(2e7*0.6)]=2e-6.


So, by this calculation, a teenager is better off getting the vaccine, but only by one order of magnitude. One would have hoped for a more decisive advantage, given the wide uncertainty in these numbers. In particular, it seems plausible that vaccine reported deaths are underestimated, my guess for the chance of catching the virus over the lifetime of the vaccine’s effectiveness is probably quite pessimistic, and I’ve assumed that the vaccine is 100% effective in averting death. Given the way my errors skew, I am not confident that one choice is better than the other. And given the uselessness of the Pfizer study, there’s really no way of knowing if the vaccine risk is even roughly the same for younger children.

The good news is that, whether you decide to have your kids vaccinated or not, they’ll probably be okay. If you’re like me, though, you’re fretting over the thought of one of your children being among the unlucky ones, whichever way you choose. I didn’t use to worry about these small chances, but now I’m responsible for choosing between them.

You may be wondering what my wife and I decided. We decided to wait a month and let those who Trust Science have their kids be the guinea pigs, then reconsider. We talked to our pediatrician, and he basically agreed that the relative risks are at this point impossible to estimate and compare.

33 thoughts on “Should you get your kids the COVID vaccine?

  1. You haven’t given thought to a third possibility and this is that NO ONE has died from the fake disease and MANY have been killed by the “not-vaccine.” In fact, for someone of your intelligence, it’s nearly impossible for be to believe that you really believe that a brand new disease just conveniently appeared in Wuhan to trigger this much desired “great reset?”

    Dude… “Sars-cov2” is, truly, a “virtual virus.”

    And the “COVID-19” disease is a phantom menace.

  2. This is utter nonsense. Wake up. The vaxx is blood poison. Discuss this with your “vaxxed” family members, who are the main ones getting sick, causing others to get sick, and dying. We have to protect the unvaccinated from the vaccinated, which was the whole plan of the scamDemic from the beginning. Please watch these science and research based presentations:

    • Thank you. This website really is Normie central. It tries to split the difference between a genuine research site like Winter Watch and the other half is just msm platitudes.

      These people STILL don’t understand what is occurring! The one author here who did, Bruce Charlton, has his own website where he discusses the horrors of this global totalitarian coup in detail and with finesse.

      But this? Awful.

  3. Other considerations: The shot plus booster appears to have far longer effectiveness, chalk that up to a plus. The long term outcomes of Covid in youth are also an unknown, chalk that up as a potential plus. Finally it could reduce spread and likelihood of getting older relatives sick, a mixed plus (since these people could just vaccinate themselves if its an issue). On the other hand, the doseage and schedule is very unlikely to be optimal, it’s already been changed several times for adults. Wait for awhile and the pediatric dose could very likely be reduced, improving safety. A reason to wait perhaps for quite awhile.

    For something so contentious, this really ought to be something that’s totally uncontroversially a parent’s decision. Whatever the relative risks of Covid and vaccine SEs are, they’re both miniscule. Parents aren’t condemning their children to a disease ridden death if they forgo it, but the idea on the internet that parents who vaccinate are condemning their children to death by myocarditis is equally wrong. There’s no real reason to prefer one over the other at this point, so it ought to be totally up to parents.

  4. @Bonald – This is a terrible article! The root problem is your assumptions.

    Of these the spiritual is primary; the lack of spiritual framing of this question is lethal.

    “I have no ideological commitments either way” – that is the root of the problem. This ‘commitment’ is not ideological but spiritual.

    (Ideology is ‘their’ word, their belief, their metaphysics – Christians call it ‘faith’: a Man’s primary commitment to God, the good, divine creation, the spiritual… or not.)

    What is the Provenance of this campaign to implement this intervention on everybody by coercion? From whom does it originate; and what are the affiliations of these? What are their explicit desires: socially, politically, for the planet and population? What is their moral nature in terms of commitment to transcendental values (truth, beauty, virtue, and their cohesion)?

    What is their attitude to Christianity – to Jesus Christ?

    How can a Christian fail to see that *this* is the core *spiritual* issue of these times – perhaps of all times?

    Aside from which your analysis of the epidemiological data is haywire – not mathematically, but in terms of the core issues of data choice, comparison and context – but that would not matter if the spiritual discernment was correct.

    • Yes, without the spiritual considerations this is a bizarrely dull blog entry. Either you are being a simpleton on this subject Bonald, or upon a few moments reflection you will be honest and admit that you do have “ideological commitments” which is why you thought a post about something so humdrum as whether to get your children their vaccinations would be interesting to the readership here.

    • Hi Bruce, Your input here is very welcome and appreciated. You’ve certainly got a better sense for how the relative risks are to be estimated, so I’d welcome any suggestions on how to formulate the problem more sensibly.

      As to your main point, I do not understand how this is a matter of spiritual discernment at all. I know you and your fellow Romantic Christians have often asserted that it is, but I have seen very little in the way of argument on this point–and I am a regular reader (and admirer) of you and your followers, such as Mr. Berger, who has also commented. I certainly see how bowing to the racial reckoning or the sexual revolution is wicked, because it means renouncing the virtues of piety and chastity, respectively. But taking a shot is morally neutral in itself, so should be evaluated by its consequences. Appeals to intuition have no force on those who do not share the intuition.

      • Bonald – ” I’d welcome any suggestions on how to formulate the problem more sensibly.” –

        No thanks! Where there is metaphysical disagreement, then there are no ‘facts’.

        “taking a shot is morally neutral in itself” – Completely wrong.

        Nothing is morally neutral, every-thing is either ideologically (if you are Leftist) or spiritually (if you are Christian) significant. Surely you must have noticed!

        And You do not get to decide whether a thing is ideologically (therefore spiritually) significant.

        Left-ideology has already decided – *obviously* decided to put it mildly! – that the shot is an absolutely core ‘value’ issue for every person in the whole world, immediately.

        They have decided the issue – but You get to choose which side of the issue.

        In this case, choosing it is not difficult – it is, indeed, about as easy as anything important ever gets – and people are choosing (have chosen) the side that best matches their own ideology or faith.

        That’s why it works as a Litmus Test.

      • It seems we ought to be able to distinguish between on the one hand, our evaluation of the overall approach taken by our betters toward covid, which has indeed been characterized to an astonishing degree by hypocrisy, brazen overreach and disproportionate response, manifest dishonesty, etc., and on the other hand, answers to much narrower questions, such as whether one should or should not get the vaccine.

        Of course, depicting those who don’t get the vaccine as evil and irrational is part of the overall strategy. Nevertheless, just because the left says something is evil does not ipso facto make it good. We shouldn’t always play into the left’s frame.

      • The problem, Ian, in this case, is that such “distinguish[ing]” is a false way forward. As Dr. Charlton says, this “birdemic” is a package deal all the way through.

        So… Annihilation is the name of the satanic game. Choosing annihilation is the “opportunity” that the “not-vaccine” presents with obvious plausible deniability.

      • Bonald…

        These “not-vaccines” are KILLING young, healthy individuals in a manner that the fake “new disease” never could. The mRNA mechanism of destruction has been laid out concisely. Not to mention that the “not-vaccine” is just the culmination of a string of dehumanizing and self-destructive demands made by the “experts.”

        Those who aren’t seeing this are, self-evidently, detached and dispirited to the nth degree. This, in and of itself, makes for a serious spiritual matter.

        What this post provides and projects. IMHO, is a very detached and dispirited Bonald.

  5. I wonder that you follow this post with one that shows you know there is such a thing as metaphysics. And that at the same time you don’t seem to be curious about so basic a consideration as to why these jabs are being so violently pushed upon us.

  6. Im surprised to see you so willing to consider the vaccines. Ultimately any of those numbers and statistics are only as reliable or honest as the people who present them. Pfizer itself only a few years ago had the largest fine in history, specifically for fabricating studies and bribing doctors. Our politicians today are the same people who had us in several unnecessary wars based on falsehoods. So its fair to say that our “leaders” are quite willing to potentially kill their own subjects if it makes them money. Are you comfortable with either of these groups having access to your childrens bloodstream?

    • That’s certainly worth considering. It’s hard to know how reliable any of these numbers are. But what is are alternative to using them? This is not a rhetorical question. I’m frankly shocked that FDA and CDC were satisfied with Pfizer’s study–even taking it at face value, it proves nothing. But I see both sides of this issue descending into argument by anecdote. And my reply to vaccine skeptics brandishing a story about a healthy teenager who dropped dead after getting the vax is the same as my reply to relatives who used to bring up stories they saw in the prestige press about healthy kids who’ve got coronavirus and died–it’s a big country.

      • But what is are alternative to using them? This is not a rhetorical question.

        There are a number of case studies about ivermectin being an effective prophylactic and treatment to inhibit the disease, both in individual clinical cases and as a social protocol. My sympathies in trying to find alternative therapies; cutting through the fug is hard. But see for instance (for slickly-presented aggregation) or for an example study (with all the attendant problems usual in these cases; as usual there is no slam dunk).

        There are other promising protocols as well, such as a mixture of over-the-counter antihistamines and azithromycin:

        There’s even the very strong suggestion that 78-82% of the population is presumptively immune or strongly resistant due to antibody cross-reactivity with OC43 and HKU1: & earlier in-vitro

        I am not a doctor and this is absolutely not medical advice by any stretch of the imagination, and even if I said I and it were you’d be crazy taking medical advice from a fringe blog combox. I am, however, attempting to help you find ways to answer your question as quoted above, or at least things to talk about with a potentially-sympathetic doctor still willing to use his own medical expertise instead of simply take marching orders from the bureaucracy.

        I hope I have at least avoided argumentation by anecdote and the appearance of attempted bludgeoning. These are difficult times, and part of why is because things which should be community-aided individual decisions instead become factional shibboleths.

  7. Sir, for your children’s sake, please do a bit more research, particularly at this first link I am providing:
    That website is generated by an international group of highly prestigious doctors (many of whom have lost positions as medical school professors due to ‘going against’ the mainstream narrative).
    There you can find safe, protocols proven effective at preventing Covid-19, successfully treating it at early stages, and saving the lives of patients who were late in seeking treatment.
    And you will find at that site all the research necessary to back up the above claims.
    You can also find a huge amount of research on other aspects of the whole Covid-19 topic including recently discovered (and not publicized) dangers of the vaccines.

    Here is one other link I recommend to anyone considering the mRNA vaccines for themselves or their children:

    There really is so much more information ‘out there’ than can be found with ‘google’ searches, because it really is true that since this whole pandemic began, real truth is being censored.

    Is there a lot of misinformation? Yes – but, I’ve been researching all of this for nearly two years now (since before most Americans had even heard of Sars Cov2/Covid-19), and I feel confidant in saying that if my daughter (23) was a child, based on the research I’ve seen, there is no way that I would allow her to receive any Covid-19 ‘vaccine’ currently on the market….
    ….and even so, I’d never have let her take the Moderna or Pfizer shots.
    We had the Johnson & Johnson one, and even that was at my husband’s insistence that we be ‘vaccinated’.

    God Bless you, and I hope you find the above helpful.

  8. I humbly suggest changing the title of this post to “Should you integrate your kids into the Satanic global totalitarian agenda?”

    Such a title change might inspire to expand your extremely poor examination of the topic beyond mere health considerations. Then again, the very nature of this post suggests that you may not have ideological commitments when it comes to the Satanic global totalitarian agenda.

    That might come off as a little harsh, but I can’t for the life of me understand why so many learned and intelligent Christian bloggers have become so utterly incapable of discerning obvious evil after 2020.

  9. That all seems really rational and logical except you’re leaving out the fact that the people pushing them so relentlessly are clearly on the side of evil and you really shouldn’t submit to evil

  10. I have explained why there is no such thing as Neutrality – e.g. no Neutral facts, Neutral policies or Neutral actions (i.e. why every-thing is a matter for Christian spiritual discernment, and when this discernment is important) – in a post at my blog:

    Personal discernment between Good and evil, the agendas of God and the devil – is nowadays easier than ever before, because evil is now offered us as a Package.

    But it is easy only if we recognize that there is now no spiritual Neutrality in situations that have been made (by the Global Establishment) matters of public importance.

    Where there is Leftist ideology (which is nowadays nearly-everywhere), Christians should replace it with Christian spirituality – not with ‘Neutrality’.

  11. Bonald, I’ve been around these parts long enough to know that if I can’t reach you a Disney princess just might.

    Is Snow White justified in taking the apple from the hag because eating apples is morally neutral? Would it be reasonable for her to place her trust in statistics published by the queen that show your chances of dying of starvation from not accepting fruit being pushed on you by strangers?

  12. There are a few lacunae here which make this analysis untenable on its own merits.


    1) the goal is to avoid death from COVID-19 on the one hand, or death from inoculation on the other.
    2) inoculation is the only materially-effective pharmaceutical intervention. There is various data to countermand this axiom, but it simplifies the analysis considerably.
    2) the official data is in the ballpark of truth
    3) the only pathology of interest is either COVID-19 or simple therapy-linked death, without consideration of e.g. either the disease or the therapy increasing risk profiles in other areas
    4) the status of others with regard to the disease has no effect on any of these outcomes. This axiom is of course flat-out wrong, in that once R<<1 by any means your chance of catching SARS-CoV-2 plummets, vastly reducing your risk of excess death due to COVID-19. But we grant it for the argument nonetheless.
    3) for purposes of this calculation the moral effects of action are not considered and only efficiency matters. Note that I, too, vehemently disagree with this axiom, but I am attempting to approach your analysis on its own plane.

    You still need a probable estimate for the answers to three questions:

    a) what is the immunity profile from recovery from the disease without inoculation?
    b) what is the compounding risk profile from inoculation?
    c) what effect does inoculation have on a)?

    a) is the easiest to answer. Natural recovery sans inoculation appears to provide durable immunity by the CDC's own data, especially for the age group(s) in question. I hope this doesn't need sourcing for anyone here.

    b) is not at all simple to answer for any drug whatsoever, but we tend to assume linear compounding for any drug in absence of other evidence. That is, every time you take the drug, you suffer the same baseline likelihood of a severe reaction, though I grant too that statistically the first time is the most dangerous by far (to account for, e.g. rare pathologies or allergies that are undiscovered in the patient, but would become evident as the first administration provokes them). So claim you have X% to die the first time, and some two-or-three orders of magnitude less baseline risk every subsequent time.

    I note in passing that this assumption of linear compounding is not at all clear for these inoculations and there are several troubling indications that it may be geometric.

    c) is also extremely difficult to answer, but the indications are very troubling, with NHS data strongly implying inoculation suppresses the body's ability to build lasting immunity to SARS-CoV-2 (e.g. pg 26 of the UK’s latest vaccine surveillance report, though this requires some interpretation through other information). Only if the answer to c) is “None” or “Positive” does your analysis hold.

    Further response on a different point in another comment not to muddy the waters.

    • All good points, Rhetocrates. My analysis was just the simplest comparison that might be undertaken, and I was surprised that I didn’t find similar or more detailed comparisons being trumpeted on the web.

  13. Further, there is a moral duty not to get inoculated purely on its own grounds of providing for public health, completely aside from the (to my mind very real) moral concerns about compliance with and subjection to such a regime.

    The inoculations are admitted by everyone to be non-sterilizing, e.g. to allow transmission from an infected but inoculated individual to another. They suppress symptoms and possibly hamper transmission, but not to statistical zero.

    This provides an adaptive stimulus for the virus to evade the inoculation, making it necessarily less effective over time and application. Therefore, this pharmaceutical intervention should be reserved for those at serious risk.

    If you believe in the social duty not to frivolously prescribe antibiotics, and to finish any course that is prescribed, so as to blunt the impact of antibiotic-resistant adaptation, this is exactly the same argument.

    As the efficacy of inoculation wanes, so does the strength of the social duty to reserve the intervention for those at serious risk, but then so does the personal advantage obtained from partaking.

    So, since with vanishingly few exceptions nobody’s children are at serious risk for COVD-19, the general answer is, “No, you should not get your kids the COVID vaccine.”

    Note again I have stayed away from the (to my mind very real) medical evidence of serious danger in these inoculations at present as well as moral arguments based around spiritual warfare or duties of properly constituted authority and noncompliance to tyranny, in order to approach the argument on its own utilitarian grounds and private decision-making.

  14. Have you checked out Briggs’s site (linked to on the blogroll)? He analyzes the numbers each week in his “Coronavirus Update” posts, including how the vaccine affects the young. Lots of uncertainty, of course, but he’s got the stats chops to back up what he says.

  15. Dear Bonald

    An interesting post, thank you. However, the matter is straightforward.

    However, as regards Covid 19 it is the ‘flu, the internal toxicosis of the body, partly due to metabolism of food and partly due to the many poisons in our environment which can and do enter our bodies in the air, food and water. Therefore adding more toxins via vaccines, if indeed they contain anything at all, is pointless.

    Vaccines have always caused harm or death if they did anything at all. This is well documented.

    I used to think that vaccines were of some use until, at 60 years of age last year, I researched properly. I changed my mind.

    Whether a vaccine causes harm or sometimes death depends on the toxicity of the vaccine and the immune status of the individual. Vaccine harm and deaths are well documented over many decades.

    The real pandemic is vitamin D deficiency which has been the case for a number of years due to an increase in indoor working and living.

    I have had my fair share of vaccines, certainly polio, tetanus and a BCG. The last mentioned may well have been the cause of what was diagnosed as measles when I was 15 years old. Whether any childhood vaccines I had (apart from polio I don’t know I can’t find any records and my mum who would have known is no longer in this world).

    I put the following link on my website if you or anyone is interested. Please note I do use humour to lighten the mood and to help make the points.

    This may also be of interest.

    To have a vaccine is to play Russian roulette with your body. One of the shots may harm or kill, if you overload your immune system.

    Do not get your kids vaccinated; boost their immune systems by good food, clean water etc. Get tested for vitamin D levels if you wish, this with be of far more use that the wretched Covid 19 tests which at best are unreliable and meaningless anyway.

    I am happy to answer questions if you or any one else has any.

    Kind regards

    Baldmichael Theresoluteprotector’sson

  16. 1. While death data is the easiest to work with, it’s also a small risk, in either case, compared with lesser harms. The comparative risks may not scale linearly.

    2. The possibility of long-term side effects is at least as applicable to the vaccine as it is to the virus. The mechanism of the genetic vaccines is different from traditional vaccines, so the usual assumption that any problems would manifest within a few months is unwarranted. Genetic vaccines have never been used before, in either people or animals, so there’s no basis for assessing long-term risk.

    3. The main motivations for vaccinating children and young adults against Covid, for most people who choose to do so, are ideological and ritualistic. By doing so a person “does his part” and distinguishes himself from the unclean and wrong-thinking. There’s an argument to be made, similar to Zippy’s argument against voting, that unnecessary participation in this ritual is undesirable in itself.


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