By Doctor Rand Paul

I think we can all agree the Senate wouldn’t function very well without the pages.  

The very first Senate page was a nine-year-old boy named Grafton Hanson who was appointed by Daniel Webster back in 1829.  Back in those days, the pages had to refill ink wells and clean out spittoons.  

Things have changed a little bit around here since then. The work isn’t quite as messy anymore. But it’s still a high-pressure job for a high school student.

From day one, our country’s response to the pandemic made the comfortable more comfortable, while the working class has had to keep on working.  And now in the halls of Congress, a privileged class can choose whether to get vaccinated, while an underclass must abide by COVID dictates.

To become a Senate page, you must get a COVID-19 booster shot. But study after study demonstrates that, for young and healthy people, the risks posed by the vaccine are greater than the risks posed by COVID.  In addition, all sides acknowledge that the vaccines do not prevent transmission.  Study after study shows that it makes no sense to mandate COVID vaccinations for teenagers who are healthy, and that such a mandate could be dangerous. 

A study published last year in Journal of the American Medical Association Cardiology examined 23 million people ages 12 and up across Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden.  It found that after two doses of mRNA vaccine “the risk of myocarditis was higher within 28 days of vaccination . . . compared with being unvaccinated, and higher after the second dose of the vaccine than the first.” “The risk was highest among males aged 16 to 24 years.”1

This is exactly why several European countries including Germany, France, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway restrict the use of mRNA vaccines for COVID.  Yet, the policy for Senate pages blindly commands 3 vaccines for young healthy people.

A study published in December in the Journal of Medical Ethics found that per million third doses of mRNA vaccine, up to 147 cases of myocarditis may be caused in males ages 18-29.  Up to 80% of those diagnosed with vaccine-induced myocarditis or pericarditis continued to struggle with cardiac inflammation more than three months after receiving a second dose.2 

Also in December, Dr. Vinay Prasad and Dr. Benjamin Knudsen published a review in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation that examined 29 studies across three continents.  Six of the 29 studies showed that after two doses of an mRNA vaccine, more than 1 in 10,000 males between ages 12 and 24 would experience myocarditis.3

A study published that same month in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that regardless of sex, among those ages 5-39, myocarditis or pericarditis occurred in 1 in every 50,000 after a first booster.4

With statistics like that, why would we think it’s a good idea to insist on boosters for our young pages, who are in their early teenage years?

It is the height of malpractice to subject young people to the greater risk of vaccination simply to satisfy mandates designed to protect bureaucrats from accountability. 

Doctors Vinay Prasad, Tracy Beth Hoeg, and Ram Duriseti recently shed light on efforts to manufacture studies that artificially bolster the case for mandates. In a letter published this July in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Prasad and his team question an Israeli study used by the FDA to justify its booster campaign.  

The Israel study purported to find a 90 percent reduction in death from COVID if an individual is boosted. But, as Dr. Prasad and his team pointed out, the problem is that the authors failed to reveal that the boosted group also had a 90 percent reduction in death from all causes, even those unrelated to COVID. 

In other words, the Israeli study is flawed because it did not compare apples with apples. The patient groups between those who were boosted and those who were not boosted were not equally healthy to begin with. Therefore, the booster vaccine may not have had any effect.

In the letter, Dr. Prasad and his colleagues wrote “[u]nderlying health plays a substantial role in COVID-19-related mortality” and “[i]nclusion of mortality not related to COVID-19 in all observational . . . studies would provide important context.”5 Unlike the government, Dr. Prasad and his colleagues were more interested in the truth rather than promoting a flawed study to achieve a desired policy result.

Even from within the government, some resisted the ever-expanding booster mandates. In 2021, the director and deputy director of the FDA’s Office of Vaccines Research and Review both resigned, “citing White House pressure to approve third doses for all adults and writing damning op-eds critical of the FDA’s subsequent decision to do so.”6

One of those op-eds ran in the Washington Post co-authored by Dr. Paul Offit, a professor of pediatrics and director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  As a member of the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee, Dr. Offit did not support widespread boosting.7   He and the two former FDA officials wrote that “[a] healthy young person with two mRNA vaccine doses is extremely unlikely to be hospitalized with COVID, so the case for risking any side effects — such as myocarditis — diminishes substantially.”8   Dr. Offit even advised his own son not to get a booster because he was already well protected against severe disease.  

As one editorial put it last year, “[i]f being ‘boosted’ becomes a prerequisite for participation in normal life, the vaccine’s diminishing efficacy means the booster campaign will never end.”9

Dr. Marty Makary, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that “[t]he U.S. government is pushing COVID-19 vaccine boosters for 16- and 17-year-olds without supporting clinical data.  A large Israeli population study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine…found that the risk of COVID death in people under 30 with two vaccine shots was zero.”10

Germany showed zero deaths among healthy kids 5-17.  There is no scientific rationale for mandating 3 COVID vaccines for healthy kids.  

Even World Health Organization Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said last year that “there’s no evidence right now” that suggests healthy children and adolescents need booster shots.11

Dr. Martin Kulldorff of Harvard Medical School says that mandating people who have already had COVID still get vaccinated “makes zero sense from a scientific point of view, and it makes zero sense from a public health point of view.”12

A study in The Lancet supported this view, stating that “[c]urrent evidence does not…appear to show a need for boosting in the general population, in which efficacy against severe disease remains high” and “currently available evidence does not show the need for widespread use of booster vaccination in populations that have received an effective primary vaccination regimen.”13

When we consider the rules for pages, we ought to ask:  will these policies be expected to continue indefinitely?  And if so, based on what data?

When it comes to vaccines, although they can benefit the vaccinated person, it does not stop transmission.  In Denmark, vaccines were not shown to have any impact on household viral transmission or secondary attack rate.14

Multiple scientific studies have shown a heightened risk of myocarditis for children and teenagers after taking an mRNA COVID vaccine.  That’s why multiple countries began restricting it for certain age groups.  Germany, France, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden all restricted Moderna’s vaccine for young people.  Norway, South Africa, and the UK all chose to recommend only one dose of Pfizer, due to the risk of cardiovascular side effects for boosters in kids.

Why is the United States Senate choosing to ignore the risks other countries acknowledge when mandating these vaccines for young people who are in peak physical condition?  

Public health measures should be backed up with proof that the benefits outweigh the burdens.  There is no evidence of that when it comes to vaccination and booster mandates—especially for teenagers, who as a group are less vulnerable to this virus than any senator.

That is why this week I asked the Senate to unanimously pass my resolution to end all COVID-related mandates for pages who serve in this chamber. Unfortunately, the Democrats refused to follow the actual science, and rejected my proposal. 

Let me be clear – this is a situation where the Democrats are in favor of mandating a vaccine that puts young peoples’ health at risk. We are telling kids all across America, you cannot come up here unless you get what the Democrats tell you is the best thing for your health. Are the Democrats so insistent that they know better than everyone else that we will be beholden to bending the knee and asking their permission to live? 

Mark my words, I’m not done fighting. And you can bet I’ll continue taking action and speaking out on this issue.

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Rand Paul, MD, is a U.S. senator from Kentucky.

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Editor’s Note: Below is video of Senator Rand Paul speaking on the Senate floor in support of his resolution to protect Senate Pages from Unscientific COVID-19 Mandates

Doctor Rand Paul Promoting Sound Science and Individual Freedom

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