Medics and scientists urge caution over child vaccination

Letter delivered to MHRA outlines concerns

Vaccine rollout to children faces backlash says the Telegraph, reporting on an open letter to the MHRA from over 40 medical professionals including several members of HART. The signatories have expressed their “grave concern” over proposals to roll out COVID-19 vaccines to school children. In the letter, they warned it is “irresponsible, unethical and unnecessary” to jab children and urged the medicines watchdog not to “repeat mistakes from history”.

The article is already prompting lots of comments and questions. A parliamentary petition launched this week — calling for no COVID-19 vaccination of children until the Phase 3 safety trials are complete — has gained almost 25,000 signatures in less than 48 hours.

It is noted in the letter that children do not need vaccination for their own protection, but also it is not necessary for protection of the general population due to the high rates of immunity now present; the virus is now endemic, and any future outbreaks can be expected to be limited, as seen with seasonal influenza. Kate Bingham, head of the government vaccine task force said in October 2020, “We just need to vaccinate everyone at risk. There’s going to be no vaccination of people under 18. It’s an adult-only vaccine, for people over 50, focusing on health workers and care home workers and the vulnerable.”

Professor Chris Whitty recently commented that every medicine has potential adverse effects which must be weighed up against potential benefits, and that for COVID-19 vaccines there would be an age below which the risk from COVID-19 infection was so low that it could be exceeded by the risk from the vaccine.  The letter’s authors conclude that children are clearly in this category. This message is echoed by many other doctors and scientists around the world, who are strongly cautioning against giving these experimental COVID-19 vaccines to children before short and long-term safety has been firmly established. For example, this letter was signed by 93 Israeli doctors and this letter was sent to the BMJ by American-based academics and medics. 

We were pleased to hear that on the Radio 4 Today programme on 20 May (50 mins in), Professor Adam Finn (a member of the COVID-19 subcommittee of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) emphasised that it was in fact an “open question” as to whether any children at all should be immunised. He stated that children were not at risk, and were not very infectious to each other or to adults around them. He acknowledged that “vaccines have side effects” and as a matter of principle they should not be given to children if they are not needed.

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