HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero's Physicians Advisory Group is assuring residents that vaccines have been proven safe and effective after one mainland group, previously called out for spreading misinformation about Covid-19, is going to court in an attempt to halt vaccinating kids and teens.
A right-wing political group called America’s Frontline Doctors has filed a motion in the U.S. District Court of Alabama. They group is requesting a temporary restraining order against the emergency use authorization of Covid-19 vaccines in children under the age of 16.
America’s Frontline Doctors made national news previously for spreading Covid-19 misinformation, opposing social distancing and mask wearing, and promoting false claims echoed by President Donald Trump. Many doctors have called the group's claims outrageous.
On the local front, Physicians Advisory Group member, Dr. Hoa Nguyen said he isn’t sure where the group's data came from, but indicated Covid-19 related deaths in children are ranked at No. 10 in the top leading causes of death among children.
Dr. Angie Farella, pediatric director for AFLDS, said that her concern with vaccinating children under 18 is the lack of studies conducted prior to December 2020.
"Children were not included in the trials, and the adult trials do not have any long-term safety data currently available,” said Farella.
But Nguyen disagrees with her assertion.
“Long-term complication of Covid-19 in children has already been documented even if they recover from it. I am not quite sure, but there is a lot of anti-vaxxers from the United States, and it's a free country, so people can write what they like to write. There’s multiple physicians from the southern states that filed this thing, and I am not quite sure the movement will go anywhere,” Nguyen said.
Nugyen asserted that millions of children worldwide have received the Covid-19 vaccination, and it proved safe.
On island, 20% of children 12 to 16 years old have been vaccinated since it began a week ago. Nguyen said the vaccination outreach at Hyatt Regency Guam last Tuesday saw the largest group of youths vaccinated.
“The PAG has no reservation on the vaccination of our youth, and we will do a lot of programs in order to target at least 80% of youth to be vaccinated before the next school year starts,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen said by October, the Covid-19 vaccine may be offered to children 6 months to 12 years old, once it is proven safe for the age group. He also added that the Moderna vaccine would soon be approved for children 12 to 17.
Vaccines are working
to curb infections
According to Nguyen, the little evidence available on Guam shows that vaccination is working to curb the infection rate on island.
He pointed out that a majority of positive cases reported recently are from the nonvaccinated population.
“The vaccines are very very safe. In the population of adults 18 years and older is 95% efficacy. And anyone younger, 12-16 is a 100%. You can’t beat that. If you’re a gambler, that's really good odds to protect yourself, your family and the community around you,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen said you don’t have to look far to see that the vaccine works. He compared the island’s August outbreak of Covid-19 infections to the more recent cases discovered at Tsubaki Tower and a private basketball game.
“From August, we had thousands of positives come out from that outbreak, so many people died, so many admissions," he said. "But look at Tsubaki, look at the basketball game, how many hospital admissions did we have? It was very minimal. Not much impact to hospital admission. How many deaths? Three, that’s it."
The difference is according to Nguyen, is the availability of the Covid-19 vaccine.
“You can see in front of you. I can’t convince the public enough that as a physician, when we see cases like that, families like that in the community…your question, does the vaccine work? There’s no doubt in my mind that the vaccine works, it protects our community,” Nguyen said.
He said he doesn’t believe the motion filed in Alabama will gain any traction.
“Forget about whatever data nationally and just look at the local community and what’s come out of it. We just passed Mother's Day, and we barely saw anything. You don’t have to look at the national data, look at the local community,” Nguyen said.