WITH NHS staff stretched to capacity, and much new data on vaccine safety and efficacy, now would be a good time to reconsider the mandating of Covid-19 vaccines for NHS and care staff.
This topic has been discussed for many months with heated arguments from both sides of the debate (and was most recently highlighted in the encounter between the Health Secretary and Dr Steve James at King’s College Hospital) but legislation is now working its way through parliament and any frontline health worker who has not received their first dose will face losing their job in February, with the aim to have a fully vaccinated workforce by April 1. Thousands of unvaccinated care-home staff were dismissed on November 11.
The argument in favour of vaccination at first sight looks reasonable: NHS workers have a duty of care to their patients and of course no one would wish knowingly to put their patients at risk. Vaccinations against rubella and hepatitis B are already required, although for decades these were required only for new staff, and there is certainly no precedent of dismissing existing staff for lack of vaccination. But mandating Covid-19 vaccines still in the trial phase and with no long-term safety data is a totally different proposition.
Much has rightly been made of bodily autonomy and the requirement for valid consent to be fully informed and given freely with no coercion, surely impossible under ‘no jab, no job’ rules. But it is also vital to revisit the ‘safe and effective’ mantra. Unfortunately, these vaccines using novel technology have been found to have a plethora of adverse effects not seen during the drug company trials, with adverse events including deaths being reported at a much higher level than with any previous vaccines. Moreover, it has become apparent that vaccine efficacy against infections wanes quickly. Omicron cases around the world have been higher in the vaccinated than unvaccinated. Viral loads in the nose and throat are similar regardless of vaccination status. Finally, and predictably, naturally acquired immunity is longer lasting than vaccine immunity. Many health workers faced with dismissal and others pressurised into being vaccinated, could probably answer TCW’s ‘When will they tell us the truth about vaccine harm?’
To summarise, the government is asking staff, many of whom have already had Covid-19, to take a vaccine with known short-term and unknown long-term risks, despite the vaccine being unable to prevent them catching and passing it to their patients.
At a meeting in November, the House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee were highly critical of the government, stating that the required Impact Assessment was deemed ‘not fit for purpose’ and describing the Explanatory Memorandum as ‘an example of poor practice’. On December 14, nearly 100 MPs voted against the measure. Labour, who in July had voted against vaccine mandates for care-home staff, in December voted with the government despite the scientific evidence of breakthrough infections amongst the heavily vaccinated UK population.
Last week a group of health care professionals and scientists wrote to the members of the House of Lords last week and this letter is printed in full below. The UK Medical Freedom Alliance have also sent an open letter here. Legal challenges are in progress. The NHS really cannot afford to lose potentially 100,000 dedicated staff on the basis of poor scientific advice.
Letter in full
January 3, 2022
Dear members of the House of Lords,
We are writing to you as a group of concerned healthcare professionals and scientists regarding the proposal to enforce mandatory Covid-19 vaccination for healthcare staff. We believe such a mandate is unethical, immoral and discriminatory. It would also be ineffective. The data regarding safety and effectiveness of the vaccines do not support such a policy. In this letter, we set out why we believe this to be the case and provide hyperlinks to supporting evidence.
The House of Lords’ Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee published its report on the proposed legislation in November 2021. Several concerns were raised, including whether:
· ’The benefits are proportionate’; and
· ’The lack of a thorough and detailed Impact Assessment’.
The vaccines currently in use are not licensed medicines, but have been granted Temporary Authorisation under Regulation 174 based on interim results of randomised trials. The trials have been subject to both significant criticism from experts and whistleblowing accusations of poor regulatory oversight and lack of data integrity. The trials were designed only to show a reduction in symptomatic infection, not:
· Prevention of infection;
· Reduction in severe outcomes or death; or
· Reduction of onward transmission.
The initial reports suggested high efficacy in reducing symptomatic infection, which, sadly, has not been borne out by real world evidence. The Pfizer trial indicated a 95 per cent relative risk reduction (‘RRR’) in the number of infections. The absolute risk reduction (‘ARR’) was far less impressive at 0.7 per cent, and from Israel, the number needed to vaccinate (‘NNV’) to prevent one infection was 364. Even this benefit has been shown to last only a matter of weeks before effectiveness wanes significantly: data compiled by the UKHSA show that rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection are consistently higher in the vaccinated population than the unvaccinated for all age groups between 18 and 69 (see Table 11). This indicates that vaccination provides very little, if any, ongoing protection against developing SARS-CoV-2 infection. We also know that vaccinated and non-vaccinated people carry similar viral loads, indicating comparable levels of infectiousness. If the intention is to prevent infection and sickness absence in the workforce and protect patients from onward transmission, there is no evidence that vaccinating healthcare workers will achieve this. Indeed, with the latest omicron variant, Denmark has shown that the double vaccinated have an increased risk of infection compared with the unvaccinated. With regards to mortality, data published by the FDA in the USA confirmed no reduction in all-cause mortality in the Pfizer trial and this recent analysis of all-cause mortality data in England highlights the uncertainty of vaccine effectiveness at reducing overall mortality.
The Covid-19 vaccines employ novel technology, namely mRNA and Adenovirus vector. There are no data regarding their long-term safety. Even the short-term safety data raise serious concerns. Collectively, we have reported to the MHRA a significant number of serious (including fatal) suspected adverse reactions in our patients. These include, but are not limited to:
· Serious thrombotic events;
· Spontaneous bilateral renal infarction;
· Acute pulmonary haemorrhage;
· Sudden recrudescence of malignancy previously in longstanding remission;
· Facial swelling; and
A particular concern with the mRNA vaccines is the occurrence of myocarditis, predominantly in young males, and the risk seems to be additive with each subsequent doses administered. Booster vaccines are currently being recommended to all adults in the UK but with no knowledge of any long-term impacts on immune function.
It has been known since quite early in the Pandemic that the risk posed by SARS-CoV-2 to healthy working age people is akin to that of seasonal influenza. Even the Government’s own website states that ‘for most people, Covid-19 will be a mild illness’. NHS staff, whether working in primary care, secondary care or the community will already have had significant exposure to aerosolised SARS-CoV-2 and many have contracted it and recovered. These individuals now benefit from broad, durable, natural immunity which is superior to the vaccine mediated immune response. These people stand to gain no benefit from vaccination but are at risk from the known and unknown harms of the vaccines. Indeed, prior infection (as experienced by many NHS staff) may be associated with increased risks of side effects.
Respecting people’s autonomy and bodily integrity is central to medical ethics and human rights. Article 6 of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights states that ‘any preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic medical intervention is only to be carried out with the prior, free and informed consent of the person concerned, based on adequate information. The consent should, where appropriate, be express and may be withdrawn by the person concerned at any time and for any reason without disadvantage or prejudice.’ With regard to consent, the Green Book states ‘For consent to immunisation to be valid, it must be given freely, voluntarily and without coercion by an appropriately informed person who has the mental capacity to consent to the administration of the vaccines in question’. We consider that free and informed consent cannot be given by an individual who is under threat of losing his / her career and livelihood. There is simply no justification for overriding these important principles of bodily autonomy. More worryingly, if medical professionals are forced to accept mandatory medical intervention for themselves, in time will they have to accept it for their patients as well? What safeguards will be in place to protect other groups from coerced and mandated medical treatments?
It has been estimated that in excess of 120,000 NHS workers will leave the NHS rather than be coerced into being vaccinated. Waiting lists in the NHS are already at record levels. These proposals are dangerous and foolhardy in the extreme, given the NHS’s inability to meet current patient needs. Accordingly, we urge you to oppose these proposals on the grounds of their being unethical, immoral and ineffective.
Dr Helen Westwood, MBChB (Hons), MRCGP, DCH, DRCOG, General Practitioner
Julia Annakin, RN, Immunisation Nurse Specialist
Mr Jeff Auyeung, MBBCh, FRCS (Tr & Orth) Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon
Dr Mark A Bell, MBChB, MRCP(UK), FRCEM, Consultant in Emergency Medicine
Dr Michael D Bell, MBChB, MRCGP, Retired General Practitioner
Dr Alan Black, MBBS, MSc, DipPharmMed, Retired Pharmaceutical Physician
Dr Emma Brierly, MBBS, MRCGP, General Practitioner
Professor Anthony J Brookes, Department of Genetics & Genome Biology, University of Leicester
Dr Elizabeth Burton, MB ChB, Retired General Practitioner
Dr Peter Chan, BM, MRCS, MRCGP, NLP, General Practitioner, Functional Medicine Practitioner, GP Trainer
Michael Cockayne, MSc, PGDip, SCPHNOH, BA, RN, Occupational Health Practitioner
John Collis, RN, Specialist Nurse Practitioner
Mr Ian F Comaish, MA, BM BCh, FRCOphth, FRANZCO, Consultant Ophthalmologist
James Cook, NHS Registered Nurse, Bachelor of Nursing (Hons), Master of Public Health (MPH)
Dr Zac Cox, BDS, LCPH, Holistic Dentist, Homeopath
Dr Clare Craig, BMBCh, FRCPath, Pathologist
Dr David Critchley, BSc, PhD in Pharmacology, 32 years’ experience in Pharmaceutical R&D
Professor Angus Dalgleish, MD, FRCP, FRACP, FRCPath, FMedSci, Professor of Oncology, St George’s Hospital, London
Dr Jonathan Engler, MBChB, LlB (Hons), DipPharmMed
Professor Richard Ennos, MA, PhD. Honorary Professorial Fellow, University of Edinburgh
Dr Elizabeth Evans, MA (Cantab), MBBS, DRCOG, Retired Doctor
Dr Christopher Exley, PhD, FRSB, Bioinoganic Chemist
Professor John Fairclough, FRCS, FFSEM, Retired Honorary Consultant Surgeon
Professor Norman Fenton, CEng, CMath, PhD, FBCS, MIET, Professor of Risk Information Management, Queen Mary University of London
Dr John Flack, BPharm, PhD. Retired Director of Safety Evaluation, Beecham Pharmaceuticals 1980-1989 and Senior Vice-president for Drug Discovery 1990-92 SmithKline Beecham
Dr Charles Forsyth, MBBS, BSEM, Independent Medical Practitioner
Dr Jenny Goodman, MA, MBChB, Ecological Medicine
Mr Paul Goss, MCSP, HCPC, KCMT, Clinical Director, Chartered Physiotherapist
David Halpin MB BS, FRCS, Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon (Retired)
Dr Catherine Hatton, MBChB, General Practitioner
Mr Anthony Hinton, MBChB, FRCS, Consultant ENT Surgeon, London
Dr Renee Hoenderkamp, General Practitioner
Dr Andrew Isaac, MB BCh, Physician, Retired
Dr Pauline Jones, MB BS, Retired General Practitioner
Dr Rosamond Jones, MD, FRCPCH, Retired Consultant Paediatrician
Dr Tanya Klymenko, PhD, FHEA, FIBMS, Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences
Dr Charles Lane, Molecular Biologist
Dr Branko Latinkic, BSc, PhD, Molecular Biologist
Dr Stuart Linke, PhD, MSc, Clinical Psychologist
Mr Malcolm Loudon, MBChB, MD, FRCSEd, FRCS (Gen Surg), MIHM, VR, Consultant Surgeon
Katherine MacGilchrist, BSc (Hons), MSc, CEO/Systematic Review Director, Epidemica Ltd
Dr Geoffrey Maidment, MD, FRCP, Retired Consultant Physician
Dr Kulvinder S. Manik MBChB, MRCGP, MA(Cantab), LLM, Gray’s Inn
Dr Fiona Martindale, MBChB, MRCGP, General Practitioner in out of hours
Dr Julie Maxwell, MBBCh, MRCPCH, Associate Specialist Community Paediatrician
Dr Samuel McBride, MBBCh, BAO, BSc, MSc, MRCP (UK) FRCEM, FRCP (Edinburgh)
Dr Niall McCrae RMN, PhD Mental Health Researcher and Officer of Workers of England Union
Dr Scott McLachlan, FAIDH, MCSE, MCT, DSysEng, LLM, MPhil, Postdoctoral Researcher
Dr Franziska Meuschel, MD, ND, PhD, LFHom, BSEM, Nutritional, Environmental and Integrated Medicine
Dr Alan Mordue, MBChB, FFPH, Retired Consultant in Public Health Medicine & Epidemiology
Dr David Morris, MBChB, MRCP (UK), General Practitioner
Margaret Moss, MA (Cantab), CBiol, MRSB, Director, The Nutrition and Allergy Clinic, Cheshire
Dr Greta Mushet, MBChB, MRCPsych, Retired Consultant Psychiatrist in Psychotherapy
Dr Sarah Myhill, MBBS, Retired General Practitioner
Mr Colin Natali, BSc(hons) MBBS, FRCS (Orth), Consultant Spinal Surgeon
Jacqueline Parker, RGN, Nursing Studies DIP, Practice Nurse
Dr Christina Peers, MBBS, DRCOG, DFSRH, FFSRH, Menopause Specialist
Dr Gerry Quinn, PhD. Postdoctoral Researcher in Microbiology and Immunology
Angus Robertson, Orthopaedic Surgeon
Dr Jessica Robinson, BSc(Hons), MBBS, MRCPsych, MFHom, Psychiatrist and Integrative Medicine Doctor
Dr Jonathan Rogers, MBChB (Bristol), MRCGP, DRCOG, Retired General Practitioner
Mr James Royle, MBChB, FRCS, MMedEd, Colorectal Surgeon
Dr Roland Salmon, MB BS, MRCGP, FFPH, Former Director, Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre Wales
Sorrel Scott, Grad Dip Phys, Specialist Physiotherapist in Neurology, 30 years in NHS
Dr Rohaan Seth, Bsc (Hons), MBChB (Hons), MRCGP, Retired General Practitioner
Natalie Stephenson, BSc (Hons) Paediatric Audiologist
Dr Noel Thomas, MA, MBChB, DObsRCOG, DTM&H, MFHom, Retired Doctor
Dr Julian Tomkinson, MBChB, MRCGP, General Practitioner, GP Trainer, PCME
Dr Katherine Tomkinson, BSc, MBChB, DRCOG, MA (Medical Ethics and Law), General Practitioner
Suzanne Tomkinson BSc, MSc, CSci, FIBMS, Senior Biomedical Scientist, Clinical Biochemistry
Dr Livia Tossici-Bolt, PhD, NHS Clinical Scientist
Mrs Sammi Walden, Healthcare Assistant
Professor Roger Watson, FRCN, FRCP (Edin), FAAN, Professor of Nursing
Dr Colin Westwood, MBChB, MRCGP, DCH, DRCOG, General Practitioner
Dr Carmen Wheatley, DPhil, Orthomolecular Oncology
Dr Ruth Wilde, MB BCh, MRCEM, AFMCP, Integrative & Functional Medicine Doctor
Dr Julia Wilkens, FRCOG, MD, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist
Dr Stefanie Williams, Dermatologist
Katherine Wise, BSc (Hons), Senior Audiologist
Dr Holly Young, BSc, MBChB, MRCP, Consultant Palliative Care Medicine