There is no question that for many people, especially the elderly and others at higher risk from COVID-19, the vaccines are life changing. Offering protection from infection and a reduction of the severity of symptoms provides much needed relief and peace of mind.

But, why the push to vaccinate children and young adults? With what we now know about COVID-19, and what we are learning daily, vaccination of otherwise healthy children and young adults cannot be justified based on the data.

Many colleges have stated that vaccination are required for students this fall. A mandate for K-12 in North Dakota cannot be implemented under current law, but will we see a back-door mandate this coming next school year? Parents, school is out for the summer, but now is the time to be involved with your schools, school boards and administration.

A survey from The Trafalgar Group found that 64% of people polled felt that parents should decide whether children should be vaccinated for COVID-19 to attend public school. While it is troubling that 15% of respondents felt the decision should be made by the federal government, given what is going on in our country I was happy that percentage wasn’t higher!

Healthy children and young adults have minimal risk from COVID-19, but what are the known and unknown risks from vaccination? One is not an “anti-vaxxer” by pointing out that the vaccines have not been approved by the FDA. They are available today under an Emergency Use Authorization only. Given the threat of COVID-19 the Emergency Use Authorization was the right way to go, but full FDA approval is years away. And, with the two primary vaccines being mRNA vaccines, full diligent study and approval by the FDA is vital.

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But yet, word is trickling out about the risk of COVID-19 for young people. I say "word" because the data does not support these views. Based on what we are now learning about the possible source of the virus, the fact that masks provide little, if any, protection, that asymptomatic spread is not really a concern, that natural immunity is proving more long-lasting than earlier thought, it is wise to take the word of the experts with a large grain of salt.

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So again, why the push to vaccinate children and young adults? Is it merely to save face over forcing children to wear masks all day at school? Is it the fact that decision makers have really grown fond of the power and control seized during the pandemic? These questions must be asked of those in authority over our schools and universities.

Children and young adults do not have the same risk/reward from vaccination and they should not be pressured or forced to be vaccinated. Parents of young children and young adults deserve to have good information on the risks and rewards of vaccination, sadly good information has been another casualty of the pandemic.

Trust in the “experts” has been lost, here is a way to get some of that trust back.

Grande represented the 41st District in the N.D. Legislature from 1996 to 2014. She is CEO of the Roughrider Policy Center, an "innovation over regulation" think tank. She is a wife, mom, grandma, lover of life and Jesus. Opinions are solely her own.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.