Big Bird Should Return To Michelle Obama’s Gym Before Lecturing Your Kids On COVID Vaccines

Big Bird Should Return To Michelle Obama’s Gym Before Lecturing Your Kids On COVID Vaccines

Until Big Bird is committed to tackling the underlying problem, the vaccination drive is little more than another virtue-signaling campaign.
Tristan Justice
By

The government’s aggressive coronavirus vaccination campaign drew a new recruit this week: an 8-foot, 2-inch tall yellow bird who once felt the milquetoast wrath of Mitt Romney.

On Sunday, the federally funded Big Bird celebrated the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) decision to demand COVID-19 vaccine shots for children aged as young as five.

“I got the COVID-19 vaccine today! My wing is feeling a little sore, but it’ll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy,” Big Bird tweeted, tagging a CNN reporter in the post. “Ms. [Erica Hill] even said I’ve been getting vaccines since I was a little bird.”

Until Big Bird resumes his 2013 fitness routine in the fight against childhood obesity, however, he’s no role model for your children’s health. Obesity poses far more risks to children than COVID-19, in fact often working as the underlying culprit to the occasional severe outcome.

Nearly half the nation’s children aged 5-11 are now categorically obese or overweight, according to a new study out in August, as the American obesity crisis reaches new heights in the aftermath of a disease that should’ve been a wake-up call to the real epidemic. Analyzing body mass index (BMI) pre- and post-pandemic, researchers at the University of California and the University of Michigan found the number of children saddled with medically excessive weight soared to 46 percent from an already high baseline of 36 before COVID.

In other words, one in three children were already obese or overweight to begin with. Obesity is a known aggravator of COVID severity.

Rates of childhood obesity are only on pace to keep rising to record levels after classroom closures and sedentary lockdowns drove the spike in childhood weight gain. Four months before the lockdowns hit, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine projected nearly 60 percent of those aged between 2 and 19 in 2016 will be obese by the time they’re 35. Forty-two percent of Americans 20-years-old and older are already medically obese, according to the CDC. Government restrictions sending kids home for 18 months have almost certainly accelerated the authors’ prophecy.

It’s not just coronavirus for which childhood obesity raises the risk of adverse outcomes, nor is it the deadliest. The chart below from the CDC outlines the top 10 leading causes of death for those aged 5-11 in 2019. While deaths from coronavirus tied for eighth, influenza, heart disease, and chronic lower respiratory diseases each ranked far more deadly. Similar to coronavirus, obesity is an underlying comorbidity of each.

According to the latest data from the CDC, 190 children aged 5-11 have died from COVID-19 since it emerged. While the flu season was recorded as virtually non-existent last year, the CDC reports millions are infected on an annual basis with the disease Americans have learned to live with for decades that is responsible for nearly 200 pediatric deaths in the 2019 season.

Until Big Bird (and really the rest of the country) is committed to tackling the underlying conditions that exacerbate severe disease, the vaccination drive is little more than another virtue-signaling campaign from the creators of the taxpayer-funded “Sesame Street” who, in March added two new characters to erase racial color blindness.

Beyond placing kids at higher risk of premature death, whether it be from COVID or the flu, however rare, excessive weight in adolescence has been linked to higher rates of anxiety and depression, compounding the already severe risks of developing long-term complications from heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

In 2013, Big Bird teamed up with then-First Lady Michelle Obama in her crusade to tackle this more significant problem. The towering yellow-feathered mascot joined Obama in promotional videos for her signature “Let’s Move” campaign at the White House, encouraging kids to exercise and make the right choices in the kitchen.

The benefits of teaching kids to live a healthy lifestyle are exponential and undeniable. The benefits of vaccination for children are far less clear, and the risks may even outweigh them.

On Monday, Drs. Nicole Saphier and Marty Makary of Weill Cornell Medical College and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, respectively, reported in the Wall Street Journal that 42 percent of U.S. children had already contracted COVID-19, a prevalence now likely superseding 50 percent after widespread arrival of the Delta variant from India.

“If a child already had COVID,” they explained, “there’s no scientific basis for vaccination.”

The authors cite a Pfizer report on childhood vaccination that found “No cases of COVID-19 were observed in either the vaccine group of the placebo group in participants with evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

“That’s consistent with the largest population-based study on the topic, which found that natural immunity was 27 times as effective as vaccinated immunity in preventing symptomatic COVID,” Saphier and Makary explained. “Natural immunity is likely even more robust in children, given their stronger immune systems. An indiscriminate COVID vaccine mandate may result in unintended harm among children with natural immunity.”

Crucially, the authors added, “as with adults, pediatric COVID deaths and hospitalizations tend to come among those with comorbidities. If your child has a medical risk factor for COVID illness (including obesity), or lives with someone who does, the vaccine’s benefit outweighs the risk.”

Even then, the coronavirus vaccines only act as a mere band-aid to the underlying problem, one Big Bird could be far more proactive about addressing.

Tristan Justice is the western correspondent for The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at [email protected]

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