IT IS our moral duty to put the welfare of our children ahead of our own and certainly above that of our parents. This is an inalienable part of what it means to be human: it is nothing less than a prerequisite for survival.
In our response to the Covid-19 virus we have inverted this duty; we have put the welfare of our parents above that of our children. We have imprisoned the young and the healthy, denied them the opportunity to learn and to earn, to socialise and to live full normal lives. We have done this ostensibly to extend the lives of the old and the frail, those with little time left. What have we got from this bargain?
It is far from clear if the lockdown measures have changed the course of the Covid-19 pandemic in any meaningful way. Meanwhile, the old and the frail, those whom the lockdown was aimed at protecting, have been forced to spend the little time they have left enduring half-lives isolated from their friends and families. Have we asked our parents if this is a price they wish to pay? Have we asked our parents if they want those irreplaceable precious years of childhood stolen from their grandchildren, just so they may cower lonely and alone at the end of their lives? We have not, and I, for one, know it is a bargain my parents do not support.
What is worse, far worse, is we are now about to subject our children to a mass immunisation programme with a new vaccine which has yet to complete its clinical trials and which has been developed, in a hurry, using experimental new technology.
We know healthy young people are either immune to the Covid-19 virus or quickly shake it off. Their natural immune systems protect them. We also know these novel vaccines can have almost immediate devastating life-altering, even life-ending, side-effects for at least a small number of younger people. Importantly, we do not know what the longer-term side-effects of these new vaccines are. We cannot know this because they are new and not yet fully tested.
To administer a new vaccine, developed with new technology, to an entire generation of our children for a disease which they need no treatment for and without knowing its longer-term side effects is unconscionable. A mass vaccination programme of our children, at this time, with these novel vaccines, exposes our children to an unquantifiable and unnecessary risk. Taking such a risk with the health of an entire generation of society is a crime against our children, and a crime against our children is nothing short of a crime against humanity.
We are a matter of weeks away from conducting the riskiest medical experiment in all history. What is more, this experiment is, by its own logic, unnecessary. If the vaccines are effective, as is claimed, it is enough to vaccinate those who are vulnerable to the disease. This has already been done.
For the young and the healthy it is better to allow their immune systems the opportunity to develop their own diverse protections against the disease. Those diverse responses will help protect society against the inevitable evolution of new viruses in the future.
As those who need protecting from Covid-19 are already protected, we now have the time to complete the science calmly and to finish clinical trials of these new vaccines. Only once the vaccines are assessed as safe, in both the short and long run, effective and necessary, should we contemplate mass vaccination of our children. This assessment must be made and be seen to be made using the highest scientific standards. It cannot be done without open scrutiny of the data and a robust debate about its interpretation.
Science is the process of challenging accepted wisdom. This can be done only within a society which tolerates vigorous debate and open dissent. We cannot follow the science, on Covid-19 or any other issue, if we do not tolerate, listen to, and learn from those with whom we disagree. In the last year it has become increasingly difficult openly to dissent from the government’s chosen path on dealing with the Covid-19 virus. It is time to reclaim our rights to free speech, open debate and yes, at times the right to offend the opinion of others.
We will make mistakes if those who doubt the wisdom of a course of action are not encouraged to speak out. Today, those who doubt the wisdom of inoculating our children with these new experimental vaccines are being discouraged from speaking out. When free speech stops, great mistakes follow.