Dr. Ben Carson told Newsmax that ''experimental'' COVID-19 vaccines are not needed for children ages 5 to 11 because the scientific data shows there is a ''zero risk'' that they could die from the disease.
''When you follow the science, and the science tells us that mortality rate from COVID for children. 0.25, about the same as it is for seasonal flu. We don't go through all of these measures every year for seasonal flu,'' Carson said Wednesday on ''The Chris Salcedo Show.'' ''This [vaccine] is still experimental. We have no idea what the long-term consequences are.''
Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who served as housing and urban development secretary under former President Donald Trump, said that with the best medical system in the world here in the United States, parents should seek out the recommendation of their healthcare provider before getting their children vaccinated.
''This is where people come from all over the world when they want good medical care,'' he said. ''So, if that is the case, why wouldn't we simply encourage people to seek the advice of their caregiver and arm themselves with appropriate information rather than having a bunch of bureaucrats, even if some of them have M.D. behind their name, trying to make decisions for everyone.''
He said that most of the children that died from the disease had comorbidities that contributed to the bad outcomes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authorized the emergency use of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 earlier this year but have not yet given approval to the two-dose Moderna, or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines for use with that age group.
''Widespread vaccination for COVID-19 is a critical tool to best protect everyone, especially those at highest risk, from severe illness and death,'' the CDC said on its website. ''People who are fully vaccinated can safely resume many activities that they did prior to the pandemic. Children ages 5 years and older are able to get an age-appropriate dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.''
According to the agency, the vaccine is provided free to all people in the U.S. regardless of immigration or insurance status.
The CDC said that while COVID-19 is milder in children, they can still become infected, get very sick, and develop long-term health complications from the illness, and spread it to others.
The vaccine, the agency said, is safe for children and can help keep others safe from the spread of the virus.
About 11% of the 224,660,453 people with at least one dose of a vaccine are in the 5-to age group.
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