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HomeCOVID-19Professor’s ‘unforgivable’ wrong vaccine advice to BBC’s child viewers

Professor’s ‘unforgivable’ wrong vaccine advice to BBC’s child viewers


PROFESSOR Devi Sridhar, Chair of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, has come under attack over her comments on Covid jabs for children. In a BBC Newsround clip, she told young viewers that the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine was ‘100 per cent safe’, a comment that has now been retracted by the BBC because it simply is not true.

The first complaint was made by a member of the public via Twitter and has since been echoed by medical professionals throughout the UK.

@TheLadOrlando NicholasB, complained directly to the BBC telling them: ‘You have allowed your young audience to be deceived by a cruel marketeer. You are colluding in the priming of young minds to take a medical treatment – a gene therapy – which is still under evaluation.’

The BBC responded: ‘Having reviewed the content, we have edited the article and video in question.’ On the Newsround website the BBC said: ‘This article has been amended to remove a reference by a contributor that the Pfizer vaccine is 100 per cent safe.’ But that may not be seen by the thousands of children who will still believe what they heard the professor say.

According to British doctors, children do not need the vaccine. Retired paediatrician Dr Ros Jones has said: ‘There have been no Covid deaths in healthy children in the UK.’ 

The gung-ho presentation on Newsround was clearly produced by the BBC to coerce British children into taking the vaccine, which it is thought will be rolled out to 12 to 15-year-olds as early as next week. This is despite the fact that only a small number of children have been tested for only two months, not enough time to pick up any long-term adverse events and barely enough to monitor existing ones.

There has been a cacophony of international concerns from countries such as the USA and Israel, which have first-hand experience of vaccinating young people. Sridhar claimed the only side-effects teens were likely to experience were mild headaches and fatigue but from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website, on page 33, it appears that three participants in the trial reported a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) clot in the leg – which then went to their lung and caused pulmonary emboli. Dr Jones said, ‘In all my years as a paediatrician, I never saw a child with a deep vein thrombosis. These things are vanishingly rare.’ 

The Pfizer adult trial recruited 43,661 and the heart inflammation side-effect now being experienced by some young men was not picked up even in that large number. There were 32,449 adults in the AstraZeneca trial and the catastrophic thrombocytopenia – drop in blood platelets – was not recorded. According to Dr Jones that side-effect is now being described as ‘common affecting 1 in 10.’ The tiny number of children AZ recruited, just 300, would not have highlighted any rare serious adverse events. In the end, the trial was abandoned because of blood clotting issues in younger people, although AZ claimed not to have seen any in their trial.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has not recommended Covid-19 vaccination for children and Germany’s Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) has stated that only children and adolescents with certain pre-existing health conditions should be vaccinated.

The Health Advisory and Recovery Team (HART), a group of highly qualified UK doctors, scientists, economists, psychologists and other academic experts, dug into the Pfizer/BioNTech child trial’s safety data last month and found, buried in the supplementary appendix, seven unspecified severe events and one life-threatening event. That means just under 1 per cent of the 1,134 children vaccinated in the trial, in which 2,000 children participated, suffered a life-changing adverse reaction.

Dr Jones, who is spokesperson for HART, said: ‘Without proper clarification of these events, a proper analysis of safety cannot be made. Only 1,134 children were given the vaccine on this trial, far too small a number to be able to rule out uncommon but severe or life-threatening side effects.’ She has been clear that she expects around 100 children could die from the vaccine. 

The Newsround broadcast angered many other medical professionals who say that children are at very low risk of catching or transmitting Covid-19.

On Monday the UK Medical Freedom Alliance (UKMFA), a pressure group of medical professionals, scientists and lawyers campaigning for medical freedom, informed consent and bodily autonomy, accused Sridhar of spreading propaganda.

In an open letter, they told Sridhar, 36, she was: ‘provoking an emotional response of guilt followed by a sense of duty, and as such it was propaganda rather than factual advice’. 

Sridhar had suggested that children could infect their parents and misinformed them that taking the jab would stop them transmitting the disease, a claim Pfizer has never made.

The UKMFA explained to her: ‘Children do not play a major role in transmission, and there is also no evidence from the regulatory trials that the vaccines prevent transmission.’

In the strongest terms they described her as ‘irresponsible’ and said her comments were ‘unforgiveable’.

They said: ‘In the current situation, which is fraught with uncertainty and fear, the public is looking to professionals for balanced advice. To present such a simplified and biased message is, in our opinion, deeply irresponsible. When it is targeted specifically at a vulnerable group of children, it is unforgiveable.’

They also published an open letter to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the mainly Big Pharma-funded government body in charge of vetting and approving new drugs.

In it they warned that vaccinating this age group could have appalling results, saying: ‘We wish to notify you of the multiple factors indicating that most likely your decision will have devastating consequences for a significant number of children in the UK, and their families. We are adding our voice to doctors and experts around the world, including groups in the UK, US and Israel, who have raised serious ethical and safety concerns, and demanded that Covid-19 vaccines are not rolled out to children.’

No vaccine has ever been 100 per cent safe or effective, especially those that have been rushed through. Two versions of the MMR were withdrawn for causing encephalitis – inflammation of the brain – and the swine flu vaccine left 1 in 55,000 with the neurological disorder narcolepsy that causes excessive sleep. Sixty people, 54 of them children, were so badly damaged they were awarded compensation by the government, but many are still waiting. 

It’s unclear whether Sridhar has done research into vaccine damage, but even if she has, it seems to have been dismissed. She was due to give a keynote speech at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) annual conference, which started yesterday, under the title: ‘What precious lessons have we learnt from the pandemic that will help us tackle the challenges for child health in the future?’

Judging by her performance on BBC’s Newsround, she has learned precious few.

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Sally Beck
Sally Beck
Sally Beck is a freelance journalist with 30 years of experience in writing for national newspapers and magazines. She has reported on vaccines since the controversy began with the MMR in 1998.

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