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Vaccine judge whose mind ‘was already made up’


PARENTS of children in the 12-17 age group want government officials to release real-time safety data for Covid vaccines. One mother is so concerned about the possibility that her three children could suffer serious adverse events that she asked the High Court on their behalf to force full public disclosure.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) admit they hold the figures but have not revealed them publicly, so last Thursday parent EF, who cannot be named for legal reasons, put her concerns to Mr Justice Jonathan Swift and asked him to direct the ONS to release the data. Her request was denied.

She said: ‘I’m not surprised. I feel as though the judge had already made up his mind.’

To those of us in court, it certainly felt as though he had and that no one dared question Health Secretary Sajid Javid’s decisions.

Television and radio presenter Beverley Turner, who helped raise over £100,000 to fund the action and who has been vilified for asking questions about the vaccine’s safety, was also there. She said: ‘It felt that the judge had already decided the outcome. He was hostile to the plaintiffs and convivial to the defendants.

‘All we’re doing is fighting for transparency and for that, we got a hostile response.’

It is known that Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA Covid vaccines can cause the inflammatory heart conditions myocarditis and pericarditis, mostly in young males, while the Oxford/AstraZeneca can cause blood clots and strokes. We do not know to what extent, and whether children have died or been permanently disabled as the result of a Covid vaccination.

EF’s children AB and CD applied to the courts last September to halt the vaccine rollout for 12-17-year-olds and asked for a judicial review. They say they need the ONS figures to support an appeal as the application was denied.

Their mother, who is their ‘litigation friend’ EF said: ‘The court was told that only two children without diagnosed underlying conditions have died of Covid so far. Clearly Covid is not a problem for young people but the vaccine may be. All we want is honest disclosure of the figures so that parents can make an informed decision. None of us are anti-vaccine but we are concerned by the lack of safety data for Covid jabs.

‘We know the mRNA vaccines are experimental and that they are being offered under emergency use. We also know that the trials do not officially finish until 2023.

‘Many parents do not want their children to be guinea pigs.’

After reviewing the evidence, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended against vaccinating 12-15-year-olds, but were overridden by the UK’s four chief medical officers. 

Up to December 22, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), who assess the safety of new drugs, had received 2,546 reports of adverse events, likely to be 10 per cent of the true total, for under 18s via their Yellow Card self-reporting scheme, but give details only about heart inflammation.

A statement said: ‘As of November 17, 2021, there have been 432 reports of myocarditis and 332 reports of pericarditis following the use of the Pfizer vaccine. There have been 101 reports of myocarditis and 57 reports of pericarditis following the use of the Moderna vaccine. This is a recognised potential risk with the Covid-19 Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine and Covid-19 Vaccine Moderna and the MHRA is closely monitoring these events.’

We know that 2.9million children have received first doses of Pfizer and 20,550 have had first doses of Moderna, while 11,600 children have received first doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca’s vaccine (though it is no longer recommended for the under 40s because that age group is more susceptible to potentially fatal blood clots). Nearly a million under 18s have received second shots.

The action was brought by solicitor Stephen Jackson of the firm Jackson Osborne and argued by barrister Francis Hoar, who endured constant interruption from Mr Justic Swift. He presented evidence to the court from consultant pathologist Dr Clare Craig.

Dr Craig said that available ONS figures relating to the number of deaths in the 15-19-year-old age group showed ‘a trend of excess non-Covid deaths in boys of that age which exceeded deaths for previous years.’

From May 1 2021 to December 30 2021, 402 male deaths were recorded, 34.6 per cent above the five-year average between 2015 and 2019. The number for females for the same period was 163, a decrease compared with the five-year average of 175.

Barrister Heather Emmerson, representing the ONS, who did not incur the wrath of Mr Justice Swift, said: ‘We do not accept a significant increase in deaths of boys compared with previous years. This is because it is statistically difficult to calculate a mean mortality rate.’

She did however accept ‘that there is a marginal increase in mortality for that period, but the figures should be treated with caution. The differences are sufficiently small that they could be caused by a delay in the registration of the death.’

Health statistician for the ONS Dr Vahé Nafilyan said in a statement that they had only 62 per cent of the data requested as 38 per cent of deaths had yet to be registered. Potentially, the mortality margin could increase by as much as 38 per cent or decrease by the same amount or somewhere in between.

An inquest is required when a coroner believes a death was due to something other than natural causes. The death cannot be registered until the coroner has reviewed the post-mortem and other evidence and has decided the cause. There is a 12-month delay for inquests currently.

Ms Emmerson said she was not confident that if the ONS released the available data the recipients would interpret it correctly – a statement the plaintiffs found patronising. ‘We have to be extremely careful about this data and the conclusions that may be drawn,’ she told the court.

She was also concerned that although data would be anonymous with no names, dates of birth or regions released, the children’s identities could be discovered, citing newspaper reports of sudden child deaths which could be linked to the data.

Mr Justice Swift said: ‘Correlation does not equal causation and the ONS information is not necessary to decide that claim.’

None of this helps parents who are also concerned that by asking reasonable questions they are being labelled as antivax. Mother of three Bev Turner said: ‘I’d never heard the term before 2021.

‘All parents want is the latest safety data that is simply not available so we do not know if the vaccines could cause neurological problems, fertility issues or other physiological problems.’

Parent EF, who has two girls aged 13 and 16 eligible for vaccination, and a son aged seven, currently too young to receive the jab, says that because of this uncertainty her children are anxious about receiving it.

‘None of them want to take the vaccine,’ she said, ‘and one of them has a friend who fainted immediately after receiving the vaccine and was then off school for two weeks. We don’t know any details other than that, but she was clearly unwell otherwise she would have been at school.

‘We have no information. They can’t tell us if the jabs cause cancer or blindness and until we know, how can we make a properly informed decision?’

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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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