‘Alarming Possibility’ COVID Booster Mandates Will Cause ‘Net Harm’ To Young Adults, Study Claims

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Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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A new study claims to show that COVID-19 booster vaccines, particularly of the mRNA variety, are likely to pose a net harm to individuals aged 18-29.

The research, published in the British Medical Journal’s Journal of Medical Ethics by a team of researchers at institutions in the U.S., United Kingdom and Canada, estimates that somewhere between 31,000 and 43,000 young adults must be vaccinated with a COVID-19 booster to prevent one hospitalization from the illness. The researchers anticipated at least 18.5 “serious adverse events” for each hospitalization prevented.

The authors argue that, based on their data, universities and other institutions should not be enforcing booster vaccine mandates unless it is proven that the cost-benefit scale tips in the vaccine’s favor. They conducted the analysis using publicly-available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on COVID-19 and vaccine adverse events.

“Our estimate shows that university COVID-19 vaccine mandates are likely to cause net expected harms to young healthy adults—for each hospitalisation averted we estimate approximately 18.5 SAEs and 1430–4626 disruptions of daily activities—that is not outweighed by a proportionate public health benefit,” the paper concludes. “As such, these severe infringements of individual liberty and human rights are ethically unjustifiable.”

“Our analysis … shows the alarming possibility that mandates may result in a net expected harm to young people,” one of the authors, Kevin Bardosh, wrote on Twitter.

Some critics pushed back on the paper’s emphatic conclusion, suggesting that the definition of “serious” adverse events is subjective and pointing out that the paper itself does not distinguish between specific types of serious adverse events or their clinical significance, which the authors admit in the limitations section.

“I’d say it’s low-risk, low-reward,” Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia told the Daily Caller. The authors cited Offit as something of an inspiration for conducting the research, as he has previously stated he wouldn’t encourage healthy young adults to get boosted and has questioned the risk-benefit of the booster vaccines for that age group.

Offit didn’t entirely agree with the paper’s conclusion, though. He, too, pointed out that not all “serious adverse events” may truly be that serious. Myocarditis brought on by the vaccine more typically occurs after the second shot, and self-resolves fairly quickly, he said. (RELATED: The Questions Anthony Fauci Should Have Been Asked At His Last Press Briefing)

The authors link to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) webpage in the paper’s footnotes regarding “serious adverse events.” The FDA describes “serious” adverse events as those causing death, hospitalization, threatening the patient’s life, disability or permanent damage, a birth defect or other serious or important medical event.

One of the study’s authors said the group used the serious adverse event definition used by investigators in Pfizer’s randomized control trial.