More than thirty doctors, scientists and MP’s have signed a joint letter to the government’s vaccine watchdog urging it to “reassess” the Covid vaccine rollout for healthy 12-15 year olds following new data showing potentially serious harms of the jab are likely to outweigh any potential benefits.
It argues the risk benefit calculations made by the JCVI and the Chief Medical Officer were based on “less than complete data on both the harms and the benefits of vaccinating children compared to the evidence now available.”
It cites new evidence showing the risk of myocarditis in young men and boys is up to 14 times higher after vaccination than after infection.
And it states that given the high level of naturally acquired immunity from infection as well as the replacement of the Delta variant by milder Omicron, “it’s crucial that, if we are to proceed with the mass double vaccination of healthy children, we are absolutely certain this policy will do more good than harm.”
It states that the justification for vaccinating children was to provide “marginal benefits” of reducing time spent out of school due to covid infection but it cites new data showing that vaccines are no longer effective at preventing infection with Omicron.
It states: “Furthermore, the negligible risks of Covid infection to children have become even more nugatory if, as it appears, Omicron is associated with less severe disease, whereas the benefits of natural infection (rather than vaccination) in terms of longer lasting immunity are becoming more clear.”
Covid should now be treated as an endemic virus similar to flu, and ministers should end mass-vaccination after the booster campaign, the former chairman of the UK’s vaccine taskforce has said.
With health chiefs and senior Tories also lobbying for a post-pandemic plan for a straining NHS, Dr Clive Dix called for a major rethink of the UK’s Covid strategy, in effect reversing the approach of the last two years and returning to a “new normality”.
“We need to analyse whether we use the current booster campaign to ensure the vulnerable are protected, if this is seen to be necessary,” he said. “Mass population-based vaccination in the UK should now end.”
Millions of over-75s in England will miss out on routine health checks until April to free up GPs to help with the UK’s anti-Omicron booster drive.
Campaigners accused the Government of breaking its promises to boost face-to-face appointments and slammed the decision as a ‘self defeating exercise’, as over-75s will flood into A&E with their health problems.
The decision to suspend the health checks came from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in response to the Government’s mammoth effort to turbocharge the UK’s Covid booster to ward off Omicron.
The boss of the drugmaker Moderna has warned that Covid-19 vaccines are unlikely to be as effective against the Omicron variant in comments that have added to uncertainty about its impact and unsettled financial markets.
“There is no world, I think, where [the effectiveness] is the same level we had with Delta,” Stéphane Bancel told the Financial Times. “I think it’s going to be a material drop. I just don’t know how much because we need to wait for the data. But all the scientists I’ve talked to … are like, ‘this is not going to be good’.”
Arguments to vaccinate children as young as five against Covid are ‘scientifically weak’, British experts claimed today after the US moved closer to jabbing infants.
…Professor David Livermore, a medical microbiologist at the University of East Anglia told MailOnline: ‘Vaccinating children to protect adults via herd immunity is ethically dubious and is scientifically weak.’
…Professor Russell Viner, a pediatrician and member of the UK Government’s scientific advisory group SAGE, said it was crucial the UK does not ‘rush to a decision’ in the wake of the announcement in the US.
The ONS antibody studies suggest that nearly half of 16 and 17 year olds have been previously infected. We don’t know the equivalent figure for 12 to fives but it is likely to be similar. That means the vaccine effect relative to all unvaccinated (previously infected and not) will be drastically lower than the figure used in the modelling paper. In turn, even the 15 minutes of prevented lost schooling will be a significant overestimate.
Julian Charles of The Mind Renewed podcast interviews Diny Fielder-van Kleeff from The Vaccine Control Group.
We are joined by the author Diny Fielder-van Kleeff, co-founder of the Vaccine Control Group—or, more fully, the SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Control Group—for an in-depth interview on the aims and objectives of this intriguiging and potentially highly significant “community cooperative” study.
“The Vaccine Control Group is a worldwide independent long-term study that is seeking to provide a baseline of data from unvaccinated individuals for comparative analysis with the vaccinated population, to evaluate the success of the Covid-19 mass vaccination programme and assist future research projects. This study is not, and will never be, associated with any pharmaceutical enterprise as its impartiality is of paramount importance. The VaxControlGroup is a community cooperative, for the people. All monies raised will be re-invested into the project and its community.”—VaxControlGroup
Teenage boys are six times more likely to suffer from heart problems from the vaccine than be hospitalised from Covid-19, a major study has found.
Children who face the highest risk of a “cardiac adverse event” are boys aged between 12 and 15 following two doses of a vaccine, according to new research from the US.
JCVI member Professor Adam Finn said that the latest data from paediatric cardiologists in the US shows that there are concerns about the long-term side effects of COVID-19 vaccine for children.
We spoke to Professor Anthony Harnden, the deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, and asked him why they had ruled out vaccines for healthy 12 to 15-year-olds.
The real-world study includes data on positive Covid PCR test results between May and July 2021 among more than a million people who had received two doses of Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine.
Protection after two shots of Pfizer decreased from 88% at one month to 74% at five to six months.
For AstraZeneca, the fall was from 77% to 67% at four to five months.
Pfizer’s Covid vaccine may pose more of a risk to boys, a study claimed today amid growing calls for No10 to rethink plans to dish out jabs to children.
New research has suggested boys are 14 times more likely to be struck down with a rare heart complication called myocarditis.
The data, from the US, will likely fuel an already fierce debate over Britain’s decision to press ahead with inoculating all 16 and 17-year-olds.
The risk of severe illness and death from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, is extremely low in children and teenagers, according to the most comprehensive analyses of public health data, co-led by researchers at UCL.
However, Covid-19 increases the likelihood of serious illness in the most vulnerable young people, those with pre-existing medical conditions and severe disabilities, although these risks remain low overall.
The preliminary findings, published in three new pre-print studies led by UCL, the University of Bristol, University of York and the University of Liverpool, will be submitted to the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC)and the World Health Organisation (WHO), to inform vaccine and shielding policy for the under-18s. The studies did not look at the impact of long Covid.
Links from article:
- Full paper on medRxiv: Ward et al. *
- Full paper on ResearchSquare: Smith et al. **
- Full paper on medRxiv: Harwood et al. ***
- Professor Russell Viner’s academic profile
- Dr Joseph Ward’s academic profile
- UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health
- UCL Population Health Sciences
Children are being vaccinated against Covid before an official decision on whether youngsters should be given the jab, The Telegraph can disclose.
Councils and GPs in virus hotspots are defying current government rules by giving the vaccine to 16- and 17-year-olds without underlying health conditions.
One of the UK’s leading childhood health experts has said there is not enough evidence to support vaccinating children against Covid, and the body that will make the decision on whether to jab under-18s has indicated it will take a cautious approach.
Prof Calum Semple, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said there was “rock-solid data” to show that the risk of severe harm to children from Covid was “incredibly low”.
Professor Robert Dingwall said children may be “better protected by natural immunity generated through infection than by asking them to take the ‘possible’ risk of a vaccine”.
…On Wednesday, Prof Dingwall, a social scientist who sits on a subcommittee of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) as well as on the JCVI, spoke out, saying the “risk/benefit for teenagers must be firmly established” before any decisions were taken.
In a detailed Twitter thread, he said: “Teenagers are at intrinsically low risk from Covid. Vaccines must be exceptionally safe to beat this. Given the low risk of Covid for most teenagers, it is not immoral to think that they may be better protected by natural immunity generated through infection than by asking them to take the possible risk of a vaccine.”
Flu could be a “bigger problem” than Covid-19 this winter, the deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has warned.
Professor Anthony Harnden told BBC 4’s Today programme: “I will emphasise that actually flu could be potentially a bigger problem this winter than Covid.
“We’ve had a very, very low prevalence of flu for the last few years, particularly virtually nil during lockdown, and we do know that when flu has been circulating in very low numbers immunity drops in the population, and it comes back to bite us. So, flu can be really, really important this winter.”
Covid testing in schools is hugely disruptive and should be suspended, experts have said, as it emerged that up to 60 per cent of “positive” tests a week are coming back negative when checked.
Under plans to keep schools open, more than 50 million lateral flow tests have been carried out on youngsters, leading to thousands of pupils and their social bubbles being forced to self-isolate for 10 days.
Levels of antibodies in the blood of vaccinated people that are able to recognise and fight the new SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant first discovered in India (B.1.617.2) are on average lower than those against previously circulating variants in the UK, according to new laboratory data from the Francis Crick Institute and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) UCLH Biomedical Research Centre, published today (Thursday) as a Research letter in The Lancet.
The results also show that levels of these antibodies are lower with increasing age and that levels decline over time, providing additional evidence in support of plans to deliver a vaccination boost to vulnerable people in the Autumn.