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Can families believe the accuracy of websites’ information regarding COVID-19 vaccines’ side effects?
  1. Luke Harvey-Nguyen1,
  2. David Tuthill2
  1. 1 Cardiff University School of Medicine, Cardiff, UK
  2. 2 Paediatrics, Children's Hospital for Wales, Cardiff, UK
  1. Correspondence to Luke Harvey-Nguyen, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff CF14 4XN, UK; harvey-nguyenl{at}

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COVID-19 has a substantial mortality, particularly among the elderly. Vaccination substantially reduces this mortality for adults. Vaccines’ side effects include rare events such as thrombotic events and myocarditis. As children and young people are at a substantially lower risk of mortality/severe disease from COVID-19, the risk–benefit ratio for vaccination is less advantageous in this age group. On 4 August 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advised that all teenagers 16–17 years old in the UK should be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Subsequently, on purely medical grounds, they did not recommend vaccinating children 12–16 years old routinely.1 After consultation on the wider benefits of maintaining schooling and aiding children’s mental health, the U.K.’s Chief Medical Officers have recommended (13 September 2021) that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine be offered to children aged 12–15. The …

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  • Contributors Project idea conceived by DT, performed by LH-N; paper and analysis performed by both.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests DT has a longstanding interest in medication safety and chairs the Paediatric Formulary Committee of the BNFc.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.