Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chairman, Covid-19 immunisation committee, Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)
Dear Professor Lim,
I and 50 senior doctors and academics, wrote to you urgently on 17th May (linked here) to express our grave concerns about the possibility of the COVID-19 vaccination programme being extended to children. I was informed that the letter had been circulated to all the members but have had no reply to date. We were extremely disappointed, however, by the announcement on 4th June that the MHRA has extended the temporary emergency authorisation down to 12-15 year-olds. We received a reply from Dr June Raine to our original letter a few hours after the announcement, a copy of which is linked here.
We feel this decision is reckless and inappropriate and are very puzzled by the statement she makes, regarding both safety and efficacy. Her letter states that the final decision is down to the government as advised by the JCVI, hence this urgent letter to you.
We have sent the attached questions to Dr Raine, and we urgently need replies from the JCVI also. Most worrying is that 16- & 17-year-olds have already been offered vaccinations in Greater Manchester, despite this being contrary to RCPCH and JCVI advice, so our concern is that unless your committee properly highlights the known risks, this vaccine will creep out to children via the MHRA authorisation.
Three possible reasons are being given for vaccinating children of which only one could meet any ethical and legal criteria, namely if children were to need the vaccine for their own protection and with a clear balance of benefit exceeding risk. This has not been achieved as outlined in our letter.
The second reason, of protecting adults via herd immunity, would be completely unethical using a novel technology with known short term and unknown long term harms. The third suggestion raised in the last few days has been that of reducing disruption to children’s schooling but this is a false choice. Once any teachers and school staff who wish it have been fully vaccinated, the logical position would be to end the isolation of healthy class mates, never done in any previous pandemic. It is this policy rather than COVID-19 itself which has had such a disruptive effect with an average of 30 children being sent home for every one positive PCR test.
Many thanks for addressing these issues urgently and ruling out routine vaccination of children with a novel vaccine which they do not need.
Dr Ros Jones, MD, FRCPCH, retired consultant paediatrician, Health Advisory & Recovery Team (HART)
Reply received 7th June 2021
Dear Dr Jones,
Thank you for your further email.
JCVI is continuing its considerations regarding the place of childhood vaccination within the COVID-19 mass vaccination programme.
The attached ‘Further letter to JCVI’ contains a number of questions which are more properly addressed to MHRA. I understand the same letter has already been sent to MHRA. Nonetheless, we will pass on the letter accordingly.
A fuller reply from JCVI will follow in due course. (we are still waiting in 2023!)
Further email sent 9th June 2021
Dear Professor Lim,
apologies for bombarding you and the team with emails but have updated one of the questions with new information and also am attaching animal pharmacokinetic data showing mRNA can concentrate in the ovary in case you haven’t seen it. ACE-2 receptors also high in the testis so not great.
Also a link to further concerns from Israel here.
This is all being decided in far too much haste. Children are not facing an emergency and if you recommend that they are vaccinated to protect adults, you will all risk being responsible for unnecessary and avoidable harms to children. Passing the decision to the Prime Minister would not alter that. So please, please for the sake of the children of the UK, do not recommend this.