The American College of Pediatricians Supports Parental Choice over Narrow Mandates

The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) is a national organization of pediatricians and health professionals committed to medical practices that are Best for Children. ACPeds promotes the health and well-being of the child from the moment of conception to young adulthood by first, doing no harm, and then by medical actions that benefit the child. Benefits and burdens of medical actions must be viewed with regards to both individuals and to the communities in which they live. In this light, ACPeds promotes the practice of vaccination that protects a child directly from serious disease and that protects a child’s community. 

At this time, the benefits of vaccinating children against COVID-19 are limited since their infections are mostly mild or asymptomatic, with benefits of vaccines increasing with age. There are no long-term safety data, while autoimmune sequelae are a real possibility and myocarditis is a known complication. Therefore, ACPeds believes that parents should be allowed to choose whether or not to use the current COVID vaccines for their children. 

Parents and physicians may conscientiously choose to vaccinate a child in their care after judging relative risks and benefits, but they should not be forced to do so. Some parents may object on moral grounds because abortion-dependent technology was used in the development of the current vaccines. Other parents may be concerned about the unknown risks of harmful side effects from the vaccine. ACPeds, therefore, objects to mandates for COVID-19 vaccination of children and adolescents at this time. Promoting the best for children requires the courage to follow the evidence of what we do know and the humility to recognize how much we do not yet know.

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