As concern grows over the proposal to give children the Covid vaccine, this is an edited version of an open letter I have written to the Chief Medical Officers of the UK – Dr Chris Whitty (England) Dr Michael McBride (Northern Ireland), Dr Gregor Smith (Scotland) and Dr Frank Atherton (Wales).
I WRITE to you concerning the gravest of matters – the safety of this nation’s children.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has advised against vaccinating 12 to 15 year-olds. You have always advocated ‘following the science’ and, if you follow the science on this occasion, you will agree with this JCVI advice.
The JCVI simply must not be overruled by government on this decision regarding the safety of children. The JCVI Green Book is the bible for all vaccinations in this country and it would be totally inconsistent of government to follow the science only when it suits them.
Interviewed on Channel Four News, Professor Anthony Harnden, Deputy Chair of the JCVI, stated: ‘My responsibility is to the children of this country and my responsibility is not to government.’
This is clearly your responsibility too and, although government is pressurising medical advisers to give the go-ahead for vaccination of 12 to 15 year-olds, it is essential that you stay firm and do the right thing by refusing to bow to political interference in what is essentially a matter of medical ethics.
Professor Adam Finn of the JCVI told Sky News: ‘We’ve been able to get really up-to-date information from paediatric cardiologists in the United States who are managing children who’ve experienced this myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) side-effect.
‘Admittedly small numbers, but still some early concerns that this might be a problem in the longer term and that very up-to-date information is why we’ve kept to our line actually over the last two months that we should be cautious about this.’
In a letter to the US Food and Drug Administration on December 8, 2020, Dr Patrick Whelan, from the Department of Paediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, wrote: ‘I am a paediatric specialist caring for children with the multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C).
‘I am concerned about the possibility that the new vaccines aimed at creating immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (including the mRNA vaccines of Moderna and Pfizer) have the potential to cause microvascular injury to the brain, heart, liver, and kidneys in a way that is not currently being assessed in safety trials of these potential drugs.’
Dr Whelan concluded: ‘In caring for children with MIS-C, I have been impressed with how widespread the organ involvement is, particularly given the absence of actively replicating virus in virtually all patients.
‘Particular caution will be required with regard to the potential widespread vaccination of children before there are any real data on the safety or effectiveness of these vaccines in paediatric trials that are only now beginning.’
It is nonsensical and disingenuous for anyone to claim that we need to vaccinate children in order to keep schools open and ensure no further interruptions to education. The only reason to vaccinate anyone is to protect them from a dangerous pathogen and children are at minimal risk from Covid.
Sweden kept schools open and mask-free all the way through and did not suffer any ill effects at all. Sweden’s Covid death rate has been minimal in the past six weeks and overall they have had a lower death rate per million than the UK.
It has been flawed UK government policy that has disrupted children’s learning. The way to solve this problem is to do exactly as Sweden did and then there will be no more disruption to lessons. Sweden kept schools open all last year when there was no vaccine, so to claim a vaccine is needed to keep schools open now is completely false.
Forcing a risky vaccine on innocent children as an excuse for keeping schools open when they should never have been closed in the first place would be morally and ethically repugnant.
It is the same Covid in Sweden as it is here, so if Swedish schools could stay open with no masks, no vaccine and no resultant problems, our schools should all have stayed open too.
Did the UK government purposely close schools and intentionally cause huge disruption to education in order to use this as an excuse now for vaccinating children when there is no other legitimate reason for doing so?
The argument that vaccinating children will reduce transmission is without foundation. The vaccines do not prevent transmission and it is now clearly in the public domain that vaccinated people can carry as much virus in their nasal tracts as unvaccinated.
So arguing that child vaccinations will reduce overall transmission is not true. This is also the opinion of the JCVI, who stated: ‘The committee is of the view that any impact on transmission may be relatively small, given the lower effectiveness of the vaccine against infection with the Delta variant.’
At least half of 12 to 15 year-olds have already been infected, so they will have natural immunity. As the recent large study in Israel showed, natural immunity is more robust and longer-lasting than the narrower, transient immunity afforded by the vaccine.
When a child develops natural immunity, it is to the entire virus while the immunity produced by the vaccine is only to the spike protein. There has never been a vaccine in the history of medicine that produced better immunity than natural infection. Therefore there is no clinical medical case for vaccinating 12 to 15 year-olds.
The fact that government has asked the chief medical officers to consider the wider societal and educational impacts of vaccinating children shows clearly that no medical case can be made for doing so and they are trying to cobble together some other excuses for going ahead.
It is ethically and morally wrong to suggest that children’s health should be put at risk in order to supposedly protect adults. Adults are supposed to protect children, not the other way round.
Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons last November: ‘This vaccine will not be used for children. It hasn’t been tested on children. And the reason is that the likelihood of children having significant detriment if they catch Covid-19 is very, very low. So, this is an adult vaccine, for the adult population.’
No children without underlying conditions have died in the UK due to Covid. Therefore if even one child were to die or suffer serious injury due to being vaccinated, it would be one child too many.
In the NHS document Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, Vaccinating Children and Young People: Frequently Asked Questions, we are told that, in addition to the £12.58 item-of-service fee, there is a further supplement of £10 per vaccination dose to eligible children.
Seeing that an extra £10 bounty is going into the pocket of anyone willing to vaccinate a 12 to 15 year-old, is the NHS encouraging doctors to follow the science, or follow the money?
I send you this letter in very good faith and recognise the onerous responsibility placed on all your shoulders in decision-making. I pray that your guide will be the wisdom of Primum Non Nocere (first, do no harm).