Covid-19 Response and Excess Deaths

Report on last week’s parliamentary debate

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Dr Ros Jones 

[personal comments in square brackets – RJ]

On 18th April, Andrew Bridgen finally secured a full length debate on this vexed topic, the original text of which is available here. Full length in theory, but shortly before the debate was due to begin, the deputy Speaker told him he only had 15 minutes instead of the 30 minutes he had prepared. After he complained to the Speaker’s office, the compromise was 20 minutes, as highlighted in an interview he gave afterwards.  

Those HART members attending in the public gallery could see Mr Bridgen striking out whole paragraphs during the last few minutes of the previous debate. Moreover, with the previous debate over-running, this so-called 3-hour debate was cut short by half an hour.

Mr Bridgen opened by telling the brave few MPs in attendance that, We are witnesses to the greatest medical scandal in this country in living memory, and possibly ever: the excess deaths in 2022 and 2023. Its causes are complex, but the novel and untested medical treatment described as a covid vaccine is a large part of the problem. I have been called an anti-vaxxer, as if I have rejected those vaccines based on some ideology. I want to state clearly and unequivocally that I have not: in fact, I am double vaccinated and vaccine-harmed. Intelligent people must be able to tell when people are neither pro-vax nor anti-vax, but are against a product that does not work and causes enormous harm to a percentage of the people who take it.”

He made the following vital points:

  • the ONS stopped producing the weekly data on deaths per 100,000 by vaccination status;
  • Data refused which could “settle once and for all the issue of whether those experimental treatments are responsible for the increase in excess deaths”;
  • UKHSA refuse to share the suitable anonymised raw data with MPs or the public on the grounds of ‘commercial sensitivity’, despite sharing it with the pharmaceutical industry;
  • ONS have changed their method of calculating the baseline for  excess deaths, thus cutting the 2023 figure by 20,000;

He went on to highlight some of the excess deaths in 2020, almost certainly related to ‘Do not Resuscitate’ (DNR) notices combined with a NICE Covid-19 guideline produced in April 2020 (NG163) and recommending Midazolam and Morphine and against use of antibiotics. That guideline has now been removed from the NICE website.

Returning to the vaccines, he reminded MPs that ‘Safe and Effective’ was the sales slogan for Thalidomide! He noted that in March 2021, new Pfizer contracts with Brazil and South Africa stated: “the long-term effects and efficacy of the Vaccine are not currently known and…adverse effects of the Vaccine…are not currently known.”.

In terms of efficacy, he quoted the Prime Minister in October 2021 admitting it “doesn’t protect you against catching the disease and it doesn’t protect you against passing it on.”

In terms of safety, he highlighted data from Australia: “Like us, it saw a rise in deaths, which began in May 2021 and has not let up since. The impact was evident on the ambulance service first. South Australia saw a 67% increase in cardiac presentations of 15 to 44-year-olds. That increase peaked in November 2021” In October 2021, “Mark McGowan, Premier of Western Australia, said that he could not explain the overwhelmed hospitals:”

Mr Bridgen also reminded his colleagues of the novel nature of the mRNA vaccines and their ability to be spread to every organ in the body, contrary to the original reassurances “that the injection was broken down in the arm at the injection site. Regulators ought to have known that those were problems.” He then discussed more fully the potential effects on the immune system of making a foreign protein for months or even years and the potential not only for cardiac problems but also for cancers. 

He concluded that the covid vaccines are neither safe nor effective: 

  • “Those are hard truths to face, but we must face them if we want to learn the lessons of the last few years. At some point we will have to face up to all the evidence that is building. It was fairly convincing 18 months ago when I first spoke out, but it is unequivocal now. 
  • It is time to take the politics out of our science, and to put actual science back into our politics. I ask the House to support the motion today, and for Baroness Hallett’s inquiry to open module 4 on the safety and efficacy of the experimental covid-19 vaccines. Given the evidence, I call on the Government once again to immediately suspend the use of all mRNA treatments in both humans and animals, pending the outcome of that inquiry.” 

Perhaps not surprisingly, at this point the two hundred or so people in the public gallery burst into applause which can be easily heard in any video recording. This upset the Deputy Speaker, Rosie Winterton, who could be faintly heard saying, 

“No, no, we will have to clear the Gallery if clapping continues; I will order it, if necessary.”

Order was restored and Sir Christopher Chope spoke next. He acknowledged the strength of feeling from the gallery and that “large numbers of people have suffered directly or indirectly as a result of having covid-19 vaccines.” [indeed I was personally aware of sitting in the same row as someone whose mother had died following AstraZeneca and someone else with a significant neurological injury]. Sir Christopher, who chairs the Covid-19 Vaccine Damage APPG, continues to press the government to update the Vaccine damage payment scheme, at least in line with inflation and to expedite claims to enable victims to proceed with civil action and not find themselves exceeding the ‘limitation period’. 

He shared Andrew Bridgen’s frustration at the delay in Public Inquiry Module 4, pointing out this was not only about vaccines but also about therapeutics. He spoke about delays in approval for an updated monoclonal antibody drug for clinically vulnerable people.  He cited a constituent of his who with his wife has, been in effect shielding for about four years: they meet friends only outside, they do not travel on public transport or go by aeroplane, they ask the family to test before a visit, they mask indoors, and they have to assess every situation to gauge the risks involved.”  [I must admit, hearing that, did not make me immediately think of the need for a monoclonal, which in any event Maria Caulfield later pointed out was ineffective against the current strains, but rather made me feel so sad and angry on his constituent’s behalf at the devastating impact of the government’s policy of fear.]

He went on to highlight that the government has acknowledged the excess deaths, including an  excess of deaths from heart disease. But as he points out, “many people feel that the increase in heart conditions and disease has been exacerbated by the very vaccines that people were persuaded to take to protect them against covid-19. According to an article last year, Dr Thomas Levy said that, on his estimate, “vaccines are causing heart injury in at least 2.8% of people who receive the covid injections.”..There may be a link between the propensity of vaccines to damage people’s hearts and what the House of Commons Library, interpreting the Government figures, concedes is an issue of excess deaths attributable to heart disease.”

Wera Hobhouse intervened at this point to say: “is it not about a balance of the benefits against the risks? Ultimately, the judgement was made by those who supported the covid vaccine that the benefits far outweighed the risks imposed by the vaccine.”  to which Sir Christopher retorted, “ I do not think we have ever had a system in this country where we license drugs on the basis that they will do more harm than good to those who take them. If the drugs are potentially significantly harmful to a large number of patients, those drugs do not get their licence”

At this point there was an extraordinary interjection from Dr Kieran Mullan, the only medically qualified MP in attendance, to say, “With respect, that is exactly what we do. Antibiotics cause anaphylactic reactions that kill people.” [He might like to reflect that it would be considered medically negligent to give penicillin to someone who had already had an adverse reaction, yet the UKHSA were happy to recommend further doses following apparent recovery from post-vaccination myocarditis, sometimes with disastrous consequences.]

Sir Christopher returned to the topic of balance of risk, but again Wera Hobhouse said, “There has to be absolute certain evidence that there is that link to the covid vaccine. That still has to be proven, in my belief.” [one might ask why she needs absolute certainty of harm but she doesn’t demand absolute certainty of safety]. 

Andrew Bridgen returned to give a very clear explanation of the effects of mRNA travelling throughout the blood stream – “Blood vessels are lined by endothelial cells. The mRNA goes into them and makes them creates a spike. They are attacked by the immune system. That explodes into the blood supply and that is a blood clot. If it goes to the heart, you have a heart attack; if it goes to the brain or the lungs, you have a stroke or a pulmonary embolism. That is the link.”  [this led to another burst of applause from the public gallery with the staff trying to calm the enthusiasm, one clearly grinning while shushing us with one hand and giving a thumbs up with the other!]

Sir Christopher returned briefly to his feet to end with a quote from one of the innumerable letters he has received, “Before vaccination, I was a healthy 34-year-old; however, now I am severely disabled, unable to work, and filled with uncertainty about my future, especially with the imminent arrival of my baby. Unfortunately my situation is not unique; thousands of individuals are suffering similar consequences. Despite assurances of safety, many have been left with life-altering disabilities or worse. I am writing to urgently request an investigation into cases like mine to address the impact of vaccine-related injuries.” 

Next up was Neale Hanvey, Alba party MP, who has a background working in cancer services at University College Hospital and then at the Royal Marsden. He countered Kieran Mullan’s analogy by pointing out, “the consequences of spike protein embedding itself throughout the body, prompting a systemic inflammatory response that is not acute, as with anaphylaxis, but chronic. That reaction to the vaccine is very different from a normal allergic reaction that is anaphylactic and will be treated appropriately.” This led to another interruption from Dr Mullan with another unrelated example of someone developing a stomach bleed after years of taking ibuprofen, followed by the patronising, “I am afraid that the attempt to give a scientific explanation is based on a flawed understanding of medicines and side effects, which has been demonstrated by numerous people on the other side of the debate.” [several medics in the gallery were itching to support Messers Bridgen and Hanvey, who appear to have a much better grasp of the facts than innumerable doctors]

Then followed a further excellent speech from Graham Stringer (Labour party co-chair of the Pandemic Recovery APPG) who pointed out what has been so clearly demonstrated in the last 4 years that, “science and politics make very uneasy bedfellows.” He then went on to emphasise the fact [which was a major relief for me as a retired paediatrician] that covid-19 “was a nasty disease for some people who got it, but its major characteristic was the profile of people who were killed or made ill by it. It affected older people much more severely. I think the median age of those who died was 82 for men and 84 for women, so it was a disease of the elderly. Those below 50 were relatively safe—some died, but not many. That was known at the beginning of the epidemic.” He made a lot of good points around the insanity of locking down the whole population and also the politically motivated change in advice on masking, quite apart from the enormous waste of public money on test and trace and on furlough payments to people who could easily have continued working, had they been allowed to do so.

An interruption from Stephen Metcalfe alluded to the benefit of hindsight, but as Graham Stringer replied, “but very soon after that people did know. What I think was, and is, indefensible was to carry on with policies that we knew were damaging the economy and were not protecting people…Once we knew the profile of the disease, we knew that we were damaging children.” 

He made some other excellent points:

  • “One of the two failures of our democracy’s normal checks and balances was that this place was not functioning, as the Easter holiday was extended. Surely the most important thing in a crisis is for our democratic institutions to function properly…There was a complete failure to insist on more accountability from the Government while the economy was shut down… 
  • Our democracy’s second important check and balance is the fourth estate. These publications are not normally my politics but, with the exception of The Daily Telegraph and The Spectator, and the Daily Mail to a certain extent, the rest of the media, led by the BBC, were quite uncritical of what was happening. People say that BBC reporters were told not to criticise and not to ask difficult questions, and political journalists—not specialist health journalists who might have asked more pertinent questions—were sent to the press conferences. It was a political question, but it was also a science and health question. We were really let down by the BBC primarily, and by other parts of the media.
  • Members have talked about the Hallett inquiry. I supported the inquiry but, having seen the way it has gone, I have given myself a good talking to. I do not think I will ever again support an inquiry. Do we really want to spend half a billion pounds on this inquiry? In the first stage, the inquiry has shown an extraordinary bias towards believing in lockdowns. I would want to know a number of things from an inquiry: did the lockdowns work? Did they save lives? Have they cost lives? Where did the virus come from? The inquiry is not even looking at that and it is not dealing with any of those things. 
  • We need an anonymised account of those excess deaths —this was part of a recent Westminster Hall debate—because that will help us to understand what is going on. The pharmaceutical companies have been given that information, but Ministers just give reassuring statements that there is no evidence that excess deaths are caused by the covid vaccinations—by the mRNA vaccinations. How do they know? They do not tell us…  We also need a detailed look at the anonymised statistics, so that we can ask further questions about the problems that are worrying us—that certainly worry me—and so that we can make better decisions in future.” 

This was followed by an excellent speech from Danny Kruger which you can watch here. He asked uncomfortable questions about the MHRA, concerns raised in the Cumberlege report 4 years ago which have still not been addressed. In particular, he highlighted their abject failure to act when the clotting problems following AstraZeneca vaccination first came to light [I could add here, how on earth they approved the continuation of the children’s trial after it had been withdrawn for healthy under 40s.] 

  • “We now know that the MHRA knew about the effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine on blood clotting as early as February 2021, but issued a warning about that only some months later—in April, a month after other countries had suspended the AZ vaccine. The MHRA also knew about the prevalence of heart problems and myocarditis in February 2021 but did nothing about it until June that year. In the intervening time, millions of people were vaccinated without the knowledge that the MHRA had.” [actually it was the JCVI advising against its use, AZ is still licensed in the UK although no longer available, who knows why?]
  • “The regulatory system that oversees the pharmaceutical companies is surely deeply conflicted, not least due to being partly funded by the pharmaceutical companies that it was set up to represent. It is significant and of concern that they have made so much money out of the vaccines, and so far do not appear to be making due recompense for some of the acknowledged harms.
  • The inquiry has been mentioned. There are so many unanswered questions and apparent red flags that it surprises me that the media and Parliament are not more up in arms about excess deaths. It is very concerning that the module looking at the vaccination programme has been postponed. It strikes me that the inquiry is essentially asking the wrong questions; it is really just asking why we did not do more lockdowns quicker. That seems to be its prevailing question for the experts—not whether the whole response was the right one, and crucially, in the light of what we now know, whether the final response of a mass vaccination programme was as safe and effective as was claimed.
  • The operation of the roll-out was a victory that all people can acknowledge, but it is not enough to say that the roll-out was done well. Was it done safely? Did it need to be done on the scale on which it was done? Particularly, did young people need to be vaccinated at all? We all remember Kate Bingham and others saying early on that the vaccine was only for the older population. These questions are increasingly being asked by the public and raised in the media.”

Highlighting the letter which he and others had written to the Secretary of State, he said,

  • “We asked specifically, “What is the evidence for the definitive statement about safety and efficacy?”  The Government said: “There is no evidence linking excess deaths to the vaccine.” If so, that is great news, but may we have the evidence on which that assertion is based?
  • Let me end by repeating the commitment that I hope we will get from the Minister. I have been asking for anonymised, record-level, official mortality data, including vaccination status… Too many people are dying, and we must understand why.”

Neale Hanvey, in his speech, discussed the hugely important topic of how trials are normally conducted. “one of the things we try to establish during a clinical trial is to find out the harm, however minimal or maximal it may be, so as to mitigate it, manage it or rule the agent out because it is too risky. Performing such a test rigorously is the foundation of good clinical practice”.  Andrew Bridgen intervened to remind MPs that Pfizer had vaccinate the placebo group early on, and he asked Mr Hanvey “how can anyone tell anybody what the long-term effects of these vaccines are when people were only ever monitored for eight weeks after vaccination?” to which the reply came, “The answer to that is that it is impossible, and that is the fundamental point. We cannot measure late effects if we do not have evidence of late effects.

This brought Dr Mullan back to his feet to ask, “what is normally done, what percentage of medicines are normally subjected to a longitudinal study before they are put on the market?” After some to and fro, he explained his question thus,The reason why I mentioned longitudinal studies is that a common deliberate attempt to mislead people about what went on with the vaccine is to suggest that, because the trial was done over a short period of time, it could not possibly have been done correctly. Typically, trials take a long time because it takes a long time to recruit the right number of patients and to do the work. In such a trial, the same number of patients go through it over a longer period, but that does not change the baseline data, which is based on how many patients there are. We do not typically use longitudinal studies, and that vaccine trial was done by using a lot of people in a short space of time to create the same amount of evidence.”

This statement, from the only doctor present on the floor of the house, typifies the woeful ignorance of many members of the medical profession on normal clinical trials methodology. The MHRA is a signed up member of the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities, whose guidelines recommend a minimum of one year follow-up, preferably two. As Mr Hanvey rightly said, “We cannot measure late effects if we do not have evidence of late effects.” There was much muttering in the public gallery but by then notes were passing round encouraging each other not to make too much noise, lest the Deputy Speaker really did carry out her threat to clear the House.  Free speech??

Neale Hanvey went on to make some excellent points about lack of transparency and the inadequate nature of the post-marketing surveillance. He was told by the Minister “that the MHRA does not “assign causality at the level of individual reports,” as that is not its responsibility. If that is the case, whose responsibility is it? Who is interrogating the data and making that decision?” He then went through a number of published papers reporting adverse events and excess mortality.

He also elaborate on a major vaccine manufacturing problem which Andrew Bridgen had briefly covered, namely the DNA contamination, and its potential effects on cancers. In closing, he said that “the foundations of good clinical practice are under threat. I will put that in context with the December 2023 Pathology Research and Practice paper on “Gene-based covid-19 vaccines” from Rhodes and Parry. They gave the following warning:

“Pandemic management requires societal coordination, global orchestration, respect for human rights and defence of ethical principles. Yet some approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic, driven by socioeconomic, corporate, and political interests, have undermined key pillars of ethical medical science.”

None of these clinical experts are quacks or conspiracy theorists. As the Government said so often during the pandemic, we must follow the science.”

Speaking for the Opposition, Andrew Gwynne, perhaps not surprisingly said, “I and the Opposition remain firmly of the view that the covid-19 vaccines played a massive, fundamental role in returning life to normal.” He did go on to acknowledge “We do need to understand more about why for some they have caused reactions, and in some cases may have tragically led to fatalities.” but with the caveat, “But investigation and review should not be allowed to frighten people who, to this day, are still deeply vulnerable, away from taking the covid vaccine boosters, and it is important for us to send out the message that those who need the boosters should have them.”

He was encouraged in this view by Stephen Metcalfe saying, “My concern at the moment is that the tone of some of this debate is undermining not only the reputation of our scientists, but the efficacy of vaccine programmes in the future. I do not want to shut down the debate about the topic. We need to find a way of filling the evidence gap, and I hope we can do that collectively by encouraging research so that potentially wild and untested theories do not fill that vacuum.” 

He ended by saying, “we will fully support the current Government in making sure the message is sent out loudly and clearly that the covid-19 vaccine is the best way of protecting yourself and your loved ones from what is still a terrible virus.”

Finally the Minister, Maria Caulfield, got to her feet. She did certainly go further than she has in previous debates on this topic:

“As I set out in previous debates, when we have seen those rises in excess deaths—and we have seen significant excess deaths—we have looked at that data to see the cause behind it, whether it is the vaccine, covid, or other factors.” 

If there are concerns, we will always look into them, but there is no doubt that covid vaccines save lives. There is no doubt that some people have experienced harm from them—we acknowledge that, and we want to help and support people who have been affected—but the vaccines did get us out of the pandemic and we need to be mindful of that as well.”

Sadly, what she did not say was that she would order the release of the anonymised record level data, without which the debate between correlation and causation will simply continue.

This debate was sandwiched between two other highly relevant debates. The Access to Redress Schemes debate covered a number of scandals over the last 50 years, from contaminated blood products, to the Windrush scandal and the Post Office Scandal. Opening the debate, Robert Foord MP said, “Samuel Beckett famously wrote: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” What if we learned nothing from our previous failure? What if we simply failed, failed again and approached the failure as in the past, only to fail a bit differently and with many of the same mistakes as before? That is the situation we face with compensation and redress following scandals.” 

Many people are unaware that Andrew Bridgen was the first MP to raise concerns about a possible miscarriage of justice at the Post Office. Had the allotted time for his speech not been inexplicably shortened, he would have said in his opening remarks that:

“The excess deaths scandal bears an uncanny resemblance to the Post Office catastrophe

Both involve:

  • Complacent public bodies
  • Ministers unable to understand the technicalities and mouthing platitudes
  • Malevolent corporations with a vested interest in silencing questions
  • Lives ruined by greed, lies and corruption
  • Most damaging of all is a culture of denial, obfuscation, secrecy and denigration
  • Much of the harm was avoidable”

Following on from the Excess Deaths debate was Recommendations of the Infected Blood Inquiry. As Rachel Hopkins MP, said of the victims of that scandal,

“Two victims of this scandal are dying every week. We voted in December to establish a body to pay compensation, as an amendment to the Victims and Prisoners Bill, and we still need to see action. Justice delayed is justice denied.”

It is a real worry for the vaccine injured, that history is repeating itself and justice will be delayed and hence denied, yet again. Moreover, it should be of major concern to those who took the vaccine but are fortunate enough to have no obvious injuries to date, that unless these questions are answered now, then the tax-payer supported Moderna Innovation and Technology Centre in Oxfordshire will start producing mRNA products aimed to replace all the existing standard vaccines, without ever addressing the underlying risks of the technology itself.

Thank you to Andrew Bridgen and your small band of colleagues who continue raising the issue.

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