Rep. Andy Biggs and Sen. Mike Lee introduced legislation Thursday to bar the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from recommending a COVID-19 vaccine for minors without data to back up its necessity and safety.
They argue that the addition of a coronavirus booster to the child and adolescent immunization schedule is not reasoned by science and goes against the will of parents nationwide.
“Recommending an ineffective vaccine on a demographic largely unaffected by a disease is medical malpractice,” Mr. Biggs, Arizona Republican, said. “Data reveals that COVID-19 vaccines do not effectively prevent contraction or transmission of COVID. Further, imposing these experimental vaccines on children — a demographic virtually unaffected by COVID — is anti-science and morally twisted.”
Mr. Lee, Utah Republican, said the issue was related to giving parents more power to decide the medical decisions for their children.
“Parents, not Washington bureaucrats, are in the best position to determine what’s in their child’s best interest,” Mr. Lee said. “Government should empower parents with as much information as possible to make informed medical decisions for their children.”
Mr. Biggs will introduce a version of the bill in the House, while Mr. Lee will propose his in the Senate.
The push comes after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an updated guidance recommending the COVID-19 booster for children aged between 5 and 11.
Previously, the booster was only recommended for children older than 12 and adults.
The COVID-19 shots will be added to the routine immunization schedule in 2023 for Americans 6 months and older.
Its inclusion does not trigger mandates, but the October vote from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices could provide cover for states that choose to require the shots for school attendance for the 2023-2024 school year or beyond.
“It’s important to note that there are no changes in COVID-19 vaccine policy, and today’s action simply helps streamline clinical guidance for health-care providers by including all currently licensed, authorized and routinely recommended vaccines in one document,” the CDC said at the time.
However, California and the District of Columbia have taken steps to require the COVID-19 vaccine for school attendance but those rules haven’t gone into effect.
The Pfizer/BioNTech booster is now available for children 5 and older, while the Moderna booster is approved for those 6 and up.
Meanwhile, several scientific studies showed that children are less affected by the coronavirus and suffer less severe symptoms if they do get infected.
Studies in the U.S., China and Italy showed that only 2% of total infections in the population are from children, according to researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Polls among parents have also shown mixed results on childhood CIVID vaccines.
A 2021 Gallup study found that 55% of parents of children younger than 12 said they would plan to have their child receive it, while 45% objected to it.
• Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this story.