Following the Science or the Silence?

Censorship concerns grow

HART has recently covered concerns about censorship and there are further examples to report this week. Some of these are more subtle, for example the self-censorship of the JCVI, who last week simultaneously published minutes from all meetings held from May to July. As can be seen, prior to that, minutes were published on a regular basis, mostly just about within their 6-week quoted time-frame. Then there was silence for months, despite meetings discussing the vital issue of vaccination of children.  

Any parent still unsure what to do for the best, could start by reading the minutes from 1st July, showing considerable uncertainty amongst committee members about potential risks of myocarditis in this age group and again concluding that they were generally at such low risk from covid-19 that routine vaccination of under 18s was not recommended. They agreed on vaccination being offered to children with underlying conditions which put them at increased risk. 

Looking next at minutes from 21st July, it is noted in point 4 of the ‘introduction and welcome’ that the meeting was called ‘as a result of a request from the Chief Medical Officer to review again information relating to the potential vaccination of 12-17-year olds’. This extraordinary meeting was held two days after the JCVI had announced their decision not to recommend the vaccines. So if you don’t get the answer you want, just sit them down and ask again! Parents may particularly want to read section II: Safety Update, especially paragraph 14 which states, ‘The Committee were advised that the MRI findings of necrosis/oedema were considered significant. Oedema is part of the acute inflammatory process and fibrosis shows the resulting potential lasting consequence of myocarditis which is considered a risk factor for long term arrhythmias.’ 

Para 15 states ‘The committee acknowledged the need for a controlled study to examine this issue associated with vaccination. Follow up of such cases (including MRI scans) was considered important for at least 3-6 months to check for cardiac fibrosis and to predict potential arrhythmia risk’. Yet, no such controlled study has been planned. Indeed, the latest successful application by Pfizer to the FDA for emergency authorisation for 5-11- year-olds, states, ‘The size of the safety database is not large enough to detect any potential risks of myocarditis associated with vaccination. For this reason, long-term safety of the COVID-19 vaccine in participants 5 to <12 years of age will be studied in 5 post-authorization safety studies, including a 5-year follow-up study to evaluate long term sequelae of post-vaccination myocarditis/pericarditis.’ It surely would have been easy enough for Pfizer to organise a properly powered randomised trial for this age group, since the emergency search for a vaccine in older more vulnerable adults, need not have applied to healthy children.

Meanwhile, a more blatant example of censorship has come from the journal Current Problems in Cardiology. A peer-reviewed pre-print paper by Rose & McCullough has been simply removed, with no request to the authors for any corrections and indeed no explanation offered. This has highlighted the importance of always downloading the pdf of an interesting article rather than just keeping the link. Luckily, meticulous scientists have done just that, So here is the paper as originally published. The clue to its removal is probably in the title, ‘A Report on Myocarditis Adverse Events in the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) in Association with COVID-19 Injectable Biological Products’.  

The authors have looked in detail at VAERS data and compared the risk in the 8 weeks after vaccination of 12-15-yr-olds to their background incidence of myocarditis. Their findings of a 19-fold increase is extremely concerning. They confirmed the gender difference and also a 5x higher risk after second than first dose. The discussion contained no call for the programme to be stopped, only a prescient final sentence, ‘Ultimately, it remains vital to share the results herein to allow true pharmacovigilance to take place.

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