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Vaccine, through the distorted lens of Channel 4


IT turns out the mainstream media does believe in conspiracy theories, but only if the conspirators are outliers with limited influence. Respectable journalists know what bad form it is to challenge anyone with serious power, and this is why the latest Channel 4 hit piece The Anti-Vax Conspiracy did precisely nothing to address the serious concerns surrounding the Covid-19 vaccines.

Instead, they lumped the Covid vaccine debate in with the MMR fiasco, a quite separate issue. One might as well cite thalidomide in a documentary about the tainted blood scandal.

The use of the term ‘anti-vax’ in the title was itself a dishonest slur, given that most people who have concerns about the Covid jab are not against vaccination in general. Even the anti-MMR movement led by Andrew Wakefield was never an anti-vaccination campaign so much as a plea for children to be precautionarily inoculated against measles, mumps, and rubella by three separate injections. Wakefield may have been wrong, dishonest, conflicted and egocentric, but he was not technically an ‘anti-vaxxer’.

Starting with the false premise of the title, The Anti-Vax Conspiracy opens by claiming that the Covid-19 pandemic is ‘the biggest health crisis of our lives’. The official justification for continued restrictions on our lives, mass vaccination and health passports, rests on this assumption.

Does it stand up to scrutiny? Covid-19 has a global Infection Fatality Rate of 0.15 per cent (Ioannidis, 2021), and while the outbreak has undoubtedly caused serious disease and death, the British government has not considered Covid-19 to be a High Consequence Infectious Disease since March 2020. Even when all the deaths linked to Covid-19 and the lockdown measures are combined, the age-standardised mortality rate for England and Wales in 2020 and 2021 has been no higher than in any year from the mid-2000s going back to 1942 when ONS records began. In other words, we have lived through deadlier years without noticing.

Anyone who claims the death rate would have been higher if not for the lockdown will have to explain why Sweden had a lower death rate than so many European countries that went for strict lockdowns, despite dire predictions of mass death from Imperial College London and Uppsala University.

The narrator continues by claiming, prematurely, that there are no fertility problems associated with Covid-19 vaccines. But as Dr Roger Hodkinson, the Cambridge-educated CEO of Western Medical Assessments in Canada, recently pointed out, ‘you cannot do a trial in six months and exclude fertility problems’.

According to the MRHA Adverse Drug Reaction reporting scheme, there have been 92 and 80 spontaneous abortions following the Pfizer Biotech and AstraZeneca vaccine respectively, each including one fatal outcome for the expectant mother.

Then the narrator minimises the real danger of blood clots from some of the vaccines as ‘rare’. Of course they are rare. But that’s not the point. By downplaying these rare fatal blood clots, the programme rendered as unimportant the needless deaths of healthy people including BBC presenter Lisa Shaw and model Stephanie Dubois (neither of whom would have been at serious risk from Covid-19 and both of whom died from blood clots soon after getting the AstraZeneca vaccine).

Other collateral deaths include 35-year-old Spanish soldier Francisco Perez, who died of a blood clot caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine, and 27-year-old Jack Last, a ‘fit and healthy’ engineer who died three weeks after his first AstraZeneca dose.

These were young, healthy people with many more years ahead of them than the average Covid-19 victim. They were killed by an act of direct harm, pointlessly and unnecessarily. At the very least, these deaths should have meant an immediate end to the push to vaccinate young people and introduce vaccine passports. But Channel 4 aren’t interested in entertaining this sensible precaution. Instead, they show us some random quack in America flogging bleach products as alternative medicine. Few of us would even have heard of him if the documentary hadn’t included him.

Some of the ‘anti-vaxxers’ featured claimed that the vaccine is not safe, without promoting bleach or going off on one about lizards and 5G. The documentary did not attempt to counter their claims with reason. Why bother when you can far more effectively play ominous background music instead?

The first pro-vaccine expert in featured the documentary was Paul Offit of the US Centers for Disease Control. Speaking as if fully liberated Texas and Florida don’t exist, he claimed that vaccines are ‘our only way out of this pandemic’.

Then he attacked Andrew Wakefield for his retracted Lancet paper, which suggested that the triple jab vaccine for Measles, Mumps and Rubella might cause autism.

‘Tens of thousands of parents chose not vaccinate their children, thousands of children were hospitalised and four children died. You could reasonably make the claim that that paper killed children,’ he said.

Well, maybe, though the controversy might have been resolved by simply making single jab vaccinations available to concerned parents, or by the then British Prime Minister (now Gates-funded vaccine apartheid advocateTony Blair revealing whether or not his son Leo had received the MMR.

That aside, while this segment of the documentary had nothing to do with the currently relevant Covid-19 vaccines, it exposed the selective, dishonest nature of the medical elite. Without challenge, a prominent CDC official can blame Wakefield for indirectly causing a total of four measles deaths. But this very same person will not be held responsible for, say, seven rare fatal thromboembolic events in UK citizens aged 18 to 29 (out of a total of 61 in all age groups) caused directly by the vaccines he wants healthy young adults to take, despite them being at minuscule risk from Covid-19. Similarly, no one at the CDC will take the blame for a single one of the 5,165 post-Covid vaccination deaths reported in the USA’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) as of 28th May 2021. The Israeli Health Ministry is currently probing a link between the Pfizer vaccine and rare and occasionally fatal cases of myocarditis (heart inflammation) in young, previously healthy recipients. If this link is established, and four indirect deaths were enough to get Wakefield cast into the Wilderness, where does that leave the health officials who coerced young people into unnecessarily risking their health for communal purposes?

The next expert wheeled out to denounce Andrew Wakefield was British Medical Journal editor Fiona Godlee, who explained that her reexamination of his Lancet paper found him to have manipulated information to ‘fit his case’, adding that Wakefield failed to declare financial conflicts of interest in his study.

No doubt. But in a 2018 BMJ article, Godlee called for drugs to be legalised. Will she take responsibility for any drug-related deaths and mental illness caused by the cannabis, cocaine, and heroin free-for-all she ignorantly supports?

Offit and Godlee are entitled to their opinions, but they are at least as flawed and biased as Andrew Wakefield. However, because they are aligned with the political consensus, they are far less vulnerable to fact checks, negative media portrayals and social ostracisation. Scrutiny is applied only to those fighting an upward battle.

The documentary issues a chilling statement towards the end: ‘The anti-vax movement is riding a wave of populism where people can choose their own facts. Now it’s political. They’re preaching a new world order, an outright rejection of science, experts, and established authority.’

An outright rejection of established authority? The narrator might as well have said ‘the peasants are revolting’.

As for rejecting science and experts, this is another one of those false assertions. There are plenty of distinguished experts with serious doubts about the safety of the Covid-19 vaccines. Of course, none was brought on to voice their thoughts.

As it happens, the vaccine-hesitant community get their information from the government, just not via the daily briefings like everyone else. It’s really a matter of emphasis.

A longer version of this article, which is republished by kind permission, first appeared on the Harry Dougherty Blog on June 10, 2021.  

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Harry Dougherty
Harry Dougherty
Harry Dougherty is a journalist and writer.

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