I ask you to search your conscience
To Professor Sarah Stock
Professor of Maternal and Fetal Health, Edinburgh University, 24 October 2022
Dear Professor Stock,
I am writing to you as both a fellow scientist, and as a father of two daughters of childbearing age. The subject of this letter relates to your research on, and endorsement of, the COVID-19 ‘vaccines’ (more properly experimental gene therapies) for treatment of pregnant women against harm to themselves and their unborn children from the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
At Edinburgh University you hold a Personal Chair in Maternal and Fetal Health, a position that brings with it not only prestige, but also tremendous responsibility. Your status means that you are one of the experts to whom government, physicians and members of the general public turn for guidance whenever questions arise about the use of novel medical interventions during pregnancy. In turning to you for advice, they do you great honour. They place their faith in you as a person of integrity, both scientific and moral. They trust that your overriding priority is protecting the safety and welfare of pregnant women and their most precious unborn children. When you recommend a novel medical treatment for pregnant women, the government, physicians and the general public have faith that your advice is based on the very best science alone, untainted by any possible conflicts of interest. The question that I would like you to reflect on as you read this letter is whether their faith in your scientific and moral integrity is justified.
It is widely appreciated, even among those not trained in medicine, that administration of medication during pregnancy brings with it special risks of adverse side effects both to the pregnant mother, and especially to the rapidly developing fetus. Therefore the normal bar for recommending a novel experimental medication in pregnancy has been set very high, involving the analysis of multiple well designed trials lasting up to 10 years or more. The necessity for such trials is evidenced by the salutory experience of thalidomide, which is still clear in the minds of those of my generation who saw its effects on fetal development. In the case of the COVID-19 vaccines, the medical intervention with which we are here concerned, pregnant women were deliberately excluded from the COVID-19 vaccine trials designed to test for safety. This means that there is absolutely no scientific evidence from appropriately designed long term safety trials that the administration of COVID-19 vaccines is safe for either pregnant women or their unborn children.
As a consequence of the lack of the essential long term safety trials, the only data sets available for assessing the effectiveness and safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy are short term and of limited scope, using observational data derived from opportunistic surveillance of pregnant women who either did or did not accept the vaccine. Such retrospective studies compare populations of vaccinated and unvaccinated mothers that differ in multiple different ways (age, level of social deprivation, timing of vaccination, presence of other health issues etc.). Such studies must take into account all such confounding factors in their analysis if legitimate conclusions are to be drawn.
Your own study [i], using such opportunistic surveillance data, is fatally flawed because it fails to carry out this rigorous analysis of confounding factors (for a thorough critique see UKMFA open letter [ii] listing the numerous grounds on which your research paper should be withdrawn from publication). In the absence of any legitimate estimates and subsequent comparisons of the benefits and risks of COVID-19 vaccination arising from your research, there is absolutely no scientific justification for the statement in your abstract that “Addressing low vaccine uptake rates in pregnant women is imperative to protect the health of women and babies in the ongoing pandemic.” Yet this is the take-home message that you are delivering to the government, physicians and the general public, who have put their faith in your scientific integrity.
Your endorsement of COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy, in the absence of data from rigorously designed and analysed long term trials, has the potential to place pregnant mothers and their unborn babies at serious risk if there are side effects of these vaccines. It therefore follows that you of all people, are morally obliged to ensure that every effort is made to monitor the occurrence of potential adverse effects on pregnant women and their babies. If a safety signal is detected, then it is your responsibility to both acknowledge and investigate possible connections between COVID-19 vaccination and adverse effects on pregnant women and their babies.
In terms of detecting safety signals, Scotland is very fortunate. Since 2017, a comprehensive scheme for collation and rapid reporting of neonatal death statistics has been in place. In addition, a threshold of 4 deaths per 1000 live births has been set, such that neonatal death rates above this figure trigger an enquiry. Since 2021, when the administration of COVID-19 vaccines to pregnant women began, there have been two spikes in neonatal deaths in Scotland that have surpassed the threshold required to trigger an enquiry.
To date, no explanation for these spikes in neonatal mortality has been forthcoming, though the enquiry into the first spike ruled out COVID-19 itself as the cause. However, what has recently come to light is that the possible role of COVID-19 vaccination of pregnant women in causing the spike has not, and will not be investigated [iii]. Furthermore, it appears that your own testimony has been crucial in blocking any such investigation. In your opinion, it is simply not worth investigating any such link and the reason for this you have explained very neatly in two sentences:
“If you think about how you’re going to do an investigation, you want to look for anything that could be plausibly linked to the sad increase in baby deaths that we saw. You can’t go looking for things that we know are not associated.”
Your first statement reveals that you have failed to look at, or take into consideration, the numerous pieces of evidence that suggest a plausible link between COVID-19 vaccination of pregnant mothers and harm to their children. These include the known toxicity of the SARS-CoV2 spike protein that is coded for by all of the COVID-19 vaccines. Indeed, you have recently published two papers in which separate adverse reactions following AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination have been evidenced in the general population (cerebral venous sinus thrombosis [iv] and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura) [v]. Furthermore, it is well established that the spike protein produced after COVID-19 vaccination can circulate in the blood and lymph systems and has even been detected in the milk of vaccinated lactating mothers. You appear to be unable to use this information to form a plausible hypothesis that links COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy and neonatal deaths. Pulling together relevant pieces of information from different sources to form a plausible hypothesis is one of the essential attributes of a research scientist, one that, apparently, you do not possess.
Your second statement reveals that you operate under a belief system, rather than follow the scientific method. Your belief is that there are no circumstances in which COVID-19 vaccination of pregnant mothers could possibly affect neonatal mortality. You do not consider that this belief can be interrogated through the scientific process; forming alternative hypotheses and testing them by collecting and analysing appropriate data. The only conclusion that one can draw is that research, for you, is not about finding the truth, but about shoring up your belief system.
In summary, the welfare of pregnant women and their unborn babies has been entrusted to your care. You have promoted to this vulnerable and innocent group a medical product, the COVID-19 vaccine, that not only has no long-term safety data, but is known, as a consequence of your own research, to increase the risks of at least two blood-related pathologies. Furthermore, when safety signals involving neonatal deaths have been detected, you have failed in your duty to investigate whether the administration of COVID-19 vaccines has been responsible for these deaths.
I ask you to search your conscience and ask in all humility whether your conduct is likely to have jeopardised the future happiness of many innocent and trusting expectant mothers and their unborn babies.
Professor Richard Ennos,
Honorary Professorial Fellow, School of Biological Sciences,
University of Edinburgh
[i] Stock, S. J. et al. (2022). SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 vaccination rates in pregnant women in Scotland. Nature Medicine, 28, 504–512. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35027756/
[iv] Kerr, S. et al. (2022). First dose ChAdOx1 and BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccinations and cerebral venous sinus thrombosis: A pooled self-controlled case series study of 11.6 million individuals in England, Scotland, and Wales. PLoS Medicine, 19, e1003927. https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003927
[v] Simpson, P. R. (2022). Second-dose ChAdOx1 and BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccines and thrombocytopenic, thromboembolic and hemorrhagic events in Scotland. Nature
Communications, 13, 4800. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-32264-6