Saturday, July 24, 2021
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Doctors urge teachers to reject Covid vaccination for children

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OVER this week we have published a number of articles detailing the incontrovertible case against vaccinating children. We directed this information to parents as the guardians of their children, as their children’s last line of defence. It is important, however, not to forget the power of teachers and headteachers – their influence for good or otherwise – and to remind them of their legal duties and liabilities. 

With respect to this we are reproducing an open letter from the UK Medical Freedom Alliance to headteachers and teachers voicing their grave medical and ethical concerns about a possible rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines to children in schools. The need was highlighted by the reckless approval given by the MHRA to the Pfizer vaccine for 12-15-year- olds in June and the Chief Medical Officer’s equally irresponsible and specious case for vaccinating children in order to stop their education being disrupted – a disruption caused not by Covid but by a paranoid quarantine and isolation policy that has unnecessarily sent thousands and thousands of healthy children home.

Why this letter is so important is that it sets out the potential legal liability of school leaders in the event of resulting harm to children whilst in their care. Given the level of adverse reactions documented already in the US in vaccinated children of this age, such potential liability is far from insignificant. The letter also raises concerns about vaccine promotion material being provided to schools by external organisations as ‘educational resources’ which do not give the full and balanced information that is required to make an informed decision. And finally it goes into significant legal detail about children’s competence to decide their own treatment and the limits on doctors’ discretion to override parental approval.

We publish the letter in full below and you can access it in its original format here. Please share with and send to all teachers and headteachers you know. They really do need to read it, as many may be quite unaware of these issues.

Open Letter from UK Medical Freedom Alliance to Headteachers and Teachers

Re: Administration of Covid-19 vaccines to school children 

Dear Headteacher/Teacher, 

The UK Medical Freedom Alliance (UKMFA) is an alliance of medical professionals, scientists and lawyers who are campaigning for Informed Consent, Medical Freedom and Bodily Autonomy to be protected and preserved. 

The UK’s regulatory agency (MHRA) has granted approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in 12- to 15-year-old children. It appears increasingly likely that UK children will be offered Covid-19 vaccines at the end of the summer term or in the autumn term, potentially in school. The UKMFA are extremely concerned about this proposed Covid-19 vaccine rollout to children. The purpose of this letter is to inform you of our concerns, to allow you an opportunity to address them, and to advise you of potential liability in the event of harm caused to children whilst under your care. 

Covid-19 vaccines – Safety and Effectiveness

Every decision to vaccinate an individual should be taken only with fully informed consent, following a comprehensive risk-benefit analysis for that individual. For children, the benefits of Covid-19 vaccines are minimal and the risks unknown. Many doctors and scientists around the world are calling for restraint. We have summarised and referenced the key issues relating to children below. 

1. The risk of death or serious disease from Covid-19 to children is close to zero. ii iii iv v 

2. Children play an insignificant role in transmission of Covid-19. iii vi vii viii ix x

3. All Covid-19 vaccines used in the UK, including the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine most likely to be offered to children, are based on completely new gene technologies. xi They have not been licensed, xii and remain experimental until Phase 3 trials have been completed in 2023. 

4. Serious adverse events and vaccine-related deaths have been reported to Government databases in the UK, xiii the US, xiv and Europe. xv As of 9 June, 949,276 adverse reactions and 1,332 vaccine-related deaths had been reported to the MHRA in the UK. xiii Some effects, such as blood clots xvi and heart inflammation (myocarditis), xvii have occurred specifically in young adults. xviii xix The CDC is currently investigating over 1,200 children and young adults with vaccine-related myocarditis and have issued a warning. xx In the US, several children under the age of 18 are reported to have died after a Covid-19 vaccine. xxi

5. Medium- and long-term effects of Covid-19 vaccines, including effects on fertility, carcinogenesis, autoimmune diseases, are completely unknown, which is most relevant for children. 

6. Vaccine manufacturers have an almost complete exemption from liability for any injuries or deaths that may be caused by their products. xxii xxiii xxiv  

7. In children, acquiring natural immunity will serve a better purpose, as this will last longer and cover a broad range of virus variants, contributing to herd immunity. xxv xxvi xxvii xxviii xxix  

8. There is no precedent of vaccines successfully halting or mitigating an ongoing pandemic, and they may even risk the promotion of more virulent variants. xxx Without the concept of ending a pandemic by vaccinating the entire population, there is no imperative for vaccinating all children. 

Informed Consent and Application of Gillick Competence 

Informed consent is the cornerstone of good, ethical medical practice and is enshrined into UK and international law and professional guidelines. Carrying out any medical procedure without informed consent is unlawful and medical negligence, which can lead to charges of misconduct. Without factually accurate information, with full disclosure of risks as well as benefits, and any other available treatments, it is simply not possible for anyone, let alone children, to make a fully informed decision and give informed consent to Covid-19 vaccination. In this instance, data regarding long-term safety and risks that would be required for fully informed consent does not yet exist. In terms of the applicability of Gillick Competence, this cannot be assumed under current circumstances. Gillick Competence is the principle deriving from the English and Welsh case of Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority [1985] UKHL 7, xxxi which provides that children under the age of 16 may be able to consent to their own treatment if they are believed to have enough intelligence, competence and understanding fully to appreciate what is involved in their treatment. The judgment in Gillick makes it clear it is to apply only in exceptional cases:

‘No reasonable person could read it as meaning that the doctor’s discretion could ordinarily override parental right. Illustrations are given in the text of exceptional cases in which the doctor may take the “most unusual” course of not consulting the parent. Only in exceptional cases does the guidance contemplate him exercising his clinical judgment without the parent’s knowledge and consent.’ (per Lord Scarman at paragraph 181)

It has been stated that:

‘The right to decide on competence must not be used as a licence to disregard the wishes of parents whenever the health professional finds it convenient to do so. Health professionals who behave in this way would be failing to discharge their professional responsibilities and could expect to be disciplined by their professional body.’ xxxii 

For a child to even be considered Gillick Competent, they MUST have ‘a sufficient understanding and intelligence to enable them to comprehend fully what is proposed’ and: 

1. understand the nature and implications of the decision and the process of implementing that decision; 

2. understand the implications of not pursuing the decision; 

3. retain the information long enough for the decision-making process to take place; 

4. be of sufficient intelligence and maturity to weigh up the information and arrive at a decision; and 

5. be able to communicate that decision. 

Deciding competence must be decision-specific, child-specific, made with the specific factual context in mind and based on the available evidence. It can only be determined by a medical practitioner who knows the child, not any other personnel administering the vaccines in schools. Furthermore, following the High Court case of An NHS Trust v A, B, C and A Local Authority [2014] EWHC 1445, xxxiii Mr Justice Mosytn also stated the decision of the child must be given freely. He stated: ‘Dr Ganguly was also clear that the decision that was reached by A was hers alone and was not the product of influence by adults in her family. Dr Ganguly did not detect in her any sign of distress when she set out her position to her.’ As I am sure you are aware, children are often subject to peer pressure from their fellow pupils. Children also look up to their teachers and can be influenced by the media and celebrities. 

In the current circumstances, relating to the prevailing dialogue around Covid-19 vaccines, it certainly cannot be the case that any child can provide fully informed consent which will be free from any undue influence. All teachers and school staff owe a Duty of Care to their pupils. We argue that this Duty of Care requires schools to ensure that the legal requirements of Gillick Competency are properly adhered to when it comes to considering the administration of vaccines on school premises. 

In light of the above, and following the legal principles, we do not accept that any child would be considered able to consent to the vaccine.

Materials explaining vaccines

We have stated above that according to our understanding of the law, children would not be able to consent to any Covid-19 vaccine by relying on Gillick Competency. We maintain that position. Whilst we will now address materials promoting the vaccine, this is not to be taken as any waiver of our position set out above. It is likely that local authorities will send information material to schools and parents of children in the age brackets for proposed vaccination. We are aware of widely published material, aimed specifically at children inside and outside schools, conveying a one-sided and simplified message, without reflection or consideration for individual circumstances, or disclosure of the known and unknown risks. xxxiv xxxv xxxvi 

To comply with your Duty of Care, you are required to scrutinise any material you are asked to share with children for accuracy, balance and bias. We would also urge you to oppose the condoning by some school leaders of using peer pressure on children, in order for them to accept a Covid-19 vaccine, as this would constitute coercion and therefore a violation of informed consent. xxxvii 

Notice of legal liability 

Based on experiences to date with Covid-19 vaccinations in adults, and in US and Israeli children, there is a real risk that a child may suffer potentially serious harm and injury as a consequence of being vaccinated. If the reaction is immediate, this incident may occur on your premises if vaccines are administered in schools. If vaccination is allowed to proceed on your premises, you are at risk of liability for such incidents. You are further at risk of potential liability for unlawful practices if participating in the propagation of biased information and coercion relating to vaccination of pupils, even if vaccination itself does not take place on school premises or during usual school hours. 

We hereby notify all school staff and any other adults with access to the children whilst under your care (including vaccinators, nurses, and other public health staff) of potential liability for harms caused. Any attempt to rely on Gillick competence in relation to the consent of children under 16 will be robustly challenged. If Gillick competency is not satisfied and a pupil is nonetheless vaccinated, this would amount to a clear breach of Duty of Care, reckless or criminal negligence, and also the crime of assault. We would also advise you to check your insurance position relating to your potential liability. 

Conclusions and Appeal 

Your school has a duty of care to all the children, and you must always act according to their best interest. Failing to do so would be a dereliction of this duty of care and, should any harm befall any one of the children, could result in action being taken against staff personally or the school as a whole. For the reasons set out above: 

• We appeal to you to resist the proposed rollout of Covid-19 vaccines to children, and specifically the administration of vaccines in schools. 

• We further appeal to you to resist any propagation of material in your school conveying simplified and incomplete information. 

Yours sincerely

UK Medical Freedom Alliance 

References

https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2021/05/07/covid-vaccines-for-children-should-not-get-emergency-use-authorization/

ii https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanchi/article/PIIS2352-4642(21)00066-3/fulltext

iii https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33289900/

iv https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-the-green-book-chapter-14a

https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/covid-19-research-evidence-summaries#epidemiology

vi https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jpc.14937

vii https://adc.bmj.com/content/archdischild/early/2021/03/17/archdischild-2021-321604.full.pdf

viii https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanchi/article/PIIS2352-4642(20)30251-0/fulltext

ix https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/early/2021/01/06/peds.2020-048090.full.pdf

https://www.eurosurveillance.org/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.26.1.2002011

xi https://www.immunology.org/coronavirus/connect-coronavirus-public-engagement-resources/types-vaccines-for-covid19

xii https://www.pfizer.com/science/coronavirus/vaccine/about-our-landmark-trial

xiii https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-vaccine-adverse-reactions

xiv https://www.openvaers.com/covid-data

xv http://www.adrreports.eu/en/index.html

xvi https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/992072/PHE_COVID-19_AZ_vaccine_and_blood_clots_factsheet_8June21.pdf

xvii https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/acip/work-groups-vast/technical-report-2021-05-17.html

xviii https://abc7.com/johnson-covid-teen-vaccine/10537228/

xix https://www.fox13now.com/news/local-news/utah-teen-hospitalized-with-blood-clots-in-his-brain

xx https://www.hartgroup.org/vaccine-update/

xxihttps://medalerts.org/vaersdb/findfield.php?TABLE=ON&GROUP1=AGE&EVENTS=ON&VAX=COVID19&DIED=Yes

xxii https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2030600

xxiii https://www.reuters.com/article/us-astrazeneca-results-vaccine-liability-idUSKCN24V2EN

xxiv https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus-pfizer-vaccine-legal-indemnity-safety-ministersb1765124.html

xxv https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-22036-z

xxvi https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03207-w

xxvii https://www.bmj.com/content/370/bmj.m3563

xxviii https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32668444/

xxix https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(20)30610-3

xxx https://www.nature.com/articles/414751a

xxxi http://cirp.org/library/legal/UKlaw/gillickvwestnorfolk1985/

xxxii https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4962726/

xxxiii https://www.familylaw.co.uk/news_and_comment/an-nhs-trust-v-a-b-c-and-a-local-authority-2014-ewhc-1445-fam

xxxiv https://stephenhawkingfoundation.org/vaccines/

xxxv https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OC9vnISihKM

xxxvi https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/57389353

xxxvii https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/05/02/schools-back-mass-vaccinations-children-headteachers-say-peer/Attachments areaPreview YouTube video Should you get the COVID vaccine?Should you get the COVID vaccine?

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Kathy is Editor of The Conservative Woman. She is @KathyConWom on Twitter.

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