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UPDATE, June 17, 1:10PM CST: On Friday, the FDA formally adopted the panel’s recommendation and authorized use of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as six months. The CDC still has to weigh in on the matter before their judgment can take effect.

ORIGINAL STORY: (LifeSiteNews) – The federal government is close to formally approving COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as six months old despite the risks of the shots outweighing the risks of COVID itself for young Americans.

USA Today reported that an “expert panel” for the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) voted 21-0 on Wednesday that Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA-based COVID vaccines were safe and effective for children between the ages of six months and six years, one of the only age groups for which the shots have not yet been approved (the last being newborns to six months).

“This will certainly alleviate a lot of their concerns,” said Children’s Mercy Hospital allergist Dr. Jay Portnoy, referring to parents who fear their children contracting COVID. “I think it was the right vote.” Portnoy was the “patient representative on the committee,” USA Today says.

Another panel with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) will vote on the matter Saturday, with the shots potentially available for the youngest age group yet as soon as next Tuesday.

The FDA’s previous decision to approve administering reduced doses of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine to children between ages of five and 11 raised concerns thanks in large part to Dr. Eric Rubin, a member of the FDA’s Vaccines & Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, stating that “we’re never going to learn about how safe this vaccine is unless we start giving it. That’s just the way it goes.”

Data shows that children are at little to no risk from the virus itself. Last summer, a team of researchers with Johns Hopkins School of Medicine “analyze[d] approximately 48,000 children under 18 diagnosed with Covid in health-insurance data from April to August 2020” and found a “mortality rate of zero among children without a pre-existing medical condition such as leukemia.” The lead researcher, Dr. Marty Makary, accused the CDC of basing its advocacy of school COVID vaccination on “flimsy data.”

Meanwhile, even experts otherwise friendly to the new shots — as acknowledged by the left-leaning publication Wired — argue that the potential for vaccine-related myocarditis among young males undermines the public health establishment’s persistent refrain that “the benefits of [COVID-19] vaccination far outweigh any harm.”

Millions of Americans remain hesitant to take the COVID-19 shots, which were developed and tested in a fraction of the time vaccines usually take under former President Donald Trump’s “Operation: Warp Speed” initiative, due to concerns they were rushed to the public without adequate vetting for safety. Much of that concern has been bolstered by data from the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).

In March, it was found that 11,289 cases of pericarditis-myocarditis after COVID vaccination were reported to VAERS database between January 1 and February 25 of this year, which is already 47% of the 24,177 reports for the same submitted in all of 2021.

COVID shot defenders claim that VAERS offers an exaggerated view of a vaccine’s potential risks, as anyone can submit a report without vetting it, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention researchers have acknowledged “high verification rate of reports of myocarditis to VAERS after mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccination,” leading to the conclusion that “under-reporting is more likely” than over-reporting.

Further, a 2010 report submitted to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS’s) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) warned that VAERS caught “fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events.” On the problem of under-reporting, the VAERS website offers only that “more serious and unexpected medical events are probably more likely to be reported than minor ones” (emphasis added).

Last year, Project Veritas shed light on some of the reasons for such under-reporting with undercover video from inside Phoenix Indian Medical Center, a facility run under HHS’s Indian Health Service program, in which medical professionals attest to seeing adverse reactions far more frequently than the impression given by the mainstream media.

In the footage, emergency room physician Dr. Maria Gonzales laments that myocarditis cases go unreported “because they want to shove it under the mat,” and nurse Deanna Paris attests to seeing “a lot” of people who “got sick from the side effects” of the COVID shots, but “nobody” is reporting them to VAERS “because it takes over a half hour to write the damn thing.”

In May 2021, Kaiser Health News acknowledged experts’ concerns about “gaps” in federal monitoring of the COVID vaccines. While the government currently relies on a “hodgepodge” of sources for safety data, the report explained, the quoted experts called for a more “robust ‘active’ surveillance system [that] can search large volumes of patient care records to compare rates of adverse events in people who received vaccines with those who didn’t.”

But VAERS is not the only data source indicating cause for concern. Last December, LifeSiteNews reported on the forced release of Pfizer data showing that of 270 “unique pregnancies” that were exposed to the company’s vaccine, “no outcome was provided for 238 pregnancies.” Of the remainder, there were 23 spontaneous abortions (miscarriages), two premature births with neonatal death, two spontaneous abortions with intrauterine death, one spontaneous abortion with neonatal death, and one pregnancy with “normal outcome” – meaning that of 32 pregnancies with known outcome, 28 resulted in fetal death. The disclosures also included reports of 158,893 serious adverse events after vaccination in dozens of countries around the world from December 1, 2020 to February 28, 2022.

Pfizer did not respond to LifeSite’s questions about the data, which it had initially tried to keep from being released to the public until the year 2076.