The trolley problem and vaccinating young people against COVID

With this in mind, I propose a thought experiment of my own.

Imagine that all children are born with perfect immunity to COVID-19, though this gift comes with a cost. About 1 in 8,000 boys will develop myocarditis when they hit puberty. This hospitalizes them for 2-3 days, however essentially all affected boys recover fully with simple treatments. They are advised to abstain from vigorous activity for several months and will have to be monitored over the long-term.

An enterprising doctor develops a medication that prevents this myocarditis, but negates children’s immunity to COVID-19. While the vast majority of children who take this medication will be fine, overall, young people who contract COVID-19 will be hospitalized at a higher rate than they were previously. Some will be very sick, needing ICU-level care and mechanical ventilation. Others will get long-COVID and feel sick for weeks or months. Those who take this medication are now at risk for viral myocarditis from the virus, and this will be life-threatening for some of them. If this medication is given to many millions of American children, thousands will get MIS-C, which is associated with more severe cardiac outcomes. Hundreds of children will die of COVID-19.

Not vaccinating young people leads to the same grave harms as using this hypothetical medication.