Day: 8 January 2022

Thousands Gather at Scotland Anti-Lockdown Protest

An ‘unplanned’ anti-lockdown protest in Scotland’s largest city has taken place today that appears to be one of the country’s largest demonstrations since the pandemic began. MailOnline has more.

Thousands of protesters gathered at Glasgow Green at 1pm on Saturday as public anger boiled over at First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s latest Covid curbs.

The activists began the unplanned procession by marching through Argyle Street, one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares, during what the campaign group called a “Freedom Rally”.

Some of them were pictured carrying placards saying “Do you trust your government with your life?” and “vaccine passports means your body will be owned by the state forever”. 

The protest is believed to have been organised by Scotland Against Lockdown, a group that runs campaigns against mandatory facemasks.

The campaigners are also opposed to the Scottish and U.K. Governments’ Coronavirus Act 2020, social distancing and mandatory vaccines, according to its social media pages. 

Official data showed Covid cases in Wales and Scotland are increasing faster than in England despite the nations’ harsher restrictions.

Confirmed infections are rising more than twice as quickly in Scotland as they are in England, jumping from 6,976 to 14,006 in the former nation in the week up to January 2nd – an increase of more than 100%.

For comparison, cases increased 44% in England to 129,014 during the same period. They increased by more than 52% in Wales to 9,718. 

Worth reading in full.

Doctors Warn Sacking the Unvaccinated Will Make NHS Staffing Crisis Worse

The Government has been warned by doctors and trade union leaders that the impending deadline for NHS staff to be vaccinated or lose their jobs will result in making the NHS staffing crisis worse. MailOnline has the story.

Trade union leaders have warned the Government that mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for NHS workers will make staff shortages worse.

Last month, MPs approved mandatory vaccinations for NHS and social care staff by April this year.

The Government decided that all NHS staff in England who have direct contact with patients must have their first dose of a Covid vaccine by February 3rd, so they can receive their second dose before the March 31st deadline. 

But the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called for the policy to be delayed “with immediate effect” to avoid a shortage of key workers.

It comes after Steve James, a consultant anaesthetist at King’s College Hospital in London, who has worked in the ICU since early 2020 treating Covid patients, told Sajid Javid why he did not believe he should have to be vaccinated after being infected. 

Meanwhile, social care isolation rules have been relaxed following concerns over staff being off sick and problems discharging patients from hospital.

There are already fears of staff shortages as 39,142 NHS workers in hospital trusts in England were absent for COVID-19 reasons on January 2nd, NHS England data shows.

This was up a staggering 59% on the previous week and more than three times up from the start of December, when there were 12,508 workers absent. 

Hospitals in Lincolnshire declared a staffing emergency, while bosses at United Lincolnshire Hospitals warned that so many doctors and nurses were now absent from shifts that patient care was “compromised”.

It was announced earlier this week that hundreds of troops are being sent into London hospitals to fill in for NHS staff who are isolating because of Omicron.

But the TUC warned that the mandatory vaccination policy will worsen the staffing crisis, making it impossible for NHS trusts to maintain safe staffing levels in the coming weeks.

With over 90% of NHS staff double vaccinated while more than 60% have had a third dose, the mandate is unlikely to make a significant impact on transmission, particularly given how poorly the vaccines prevent infection with Omicron and how many NHS staff will already have been infected or exposed to the virus (surely all of them, exposed many times over). The rationale for such an illiberal and disruptive policy is therefore lacking. As Consultant Anaethetist Steve James told Sajid Javid yesterday: “The science isn’t strong enough.”

Sir David Nicholson, a former chief executive of NHS England who now chairs the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust, warned that his trust could lose hundreds of staff from the mandatory vaccination policy.

End Covid Vaccination of Children Because the Risks Outweigh the Benefits, Government Told By MPs and Scientists

The risks of vaccinating children against Covid now clearly outweigh the benefits, the Government has been told by a group of MPs and scientists.

In an open letter to the Government’s vaccination advisory committee – the JCVI – the MPs including Miriam Cates, Esther McVey and Sir Desmond Swayne and scientists including Professor Allyson Pollock, Dr Roland Salmon and Professor Brent Taylor write that “the risk to benefit ratio for child Covid vaccination has worsened since September”.

They continue:

The risks of adverse events (including but not limited to myocarditis) increase as more doses are given, and any advantages are reduced as vaccine effectiveness in suppressing Omicron transmission decreases (especially given widespread natural immunity). Given that any potential benefits of vaccinating children were calculated to be marginal at best in the first place, we suspect that this margin has not only evaporated but actually reversed in light of the characteristics of the new and dominant Omicron variant and the increase in robust and durable naturally-acquired immunity. …

Unlike the elderly and clinically vulnerable population – for whom the potentially life-saving benefits of vaccination substantially outweigh any risks from vaccination – our children face no such threat from COVID-19 yet have 50 or more years of healthy life expectancy ahead of them that could be compromised by long-term vaccine harms. It is crucial that, if we are to proceed with the mass double vaccination of healthy children, we are absolutely certain that this policy will do more good than harm. Furthermore, we need to give consideration to what precedent is being set for triple or even continuous and regular vaccination for this age group.

We believe that the benefit to risk ratio of child vaccination should be reassessed in light of the Omicron variant and new evidence on both vaccine harms and superior natural immunity. We urge the JCVI to review this new evidence and provide updated advice to the Government with regards to the mass vaccination of healthy 12-15 year olds.

Brent Taylor, Professor Emeritus of Community Child Health at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and formerly a JCVI member for eight years, said: 

Latest Covid Hospital Data: Community Admissions Falling in London, Tailing Off Nationally

We’re publishing the latest update from our in-house doctor, who’s pored over the latest NHS England and ICNARC data packets so you don’t have to. Contrary to some hysterical reports in the media yesterday, it’s actually good news. Community admissions for Covid are falling in London and tailing off across England – and of those classified as being in hospital ‘due to Covid’, 40% were admitted for something else and only have Covid incidentally.

When I was a medical student, a novel called The House of God was required reading. It relates the experience of the fictional American Dr. Roy Basch in his first year as a qualified doctor. The book contained lots of good advice for surviving the junior doctor ordeal including several ‘Rules of the House’. Rule 13 states: “The delivery of good medical care is to do as much nothing as possible.”

Surprisingly often in medicine, doing nothing is the best option. One of my former mentors frequently advised me to “do as little as possible for as long as possible” – his point being that over-hasty intervention is not just unnecessary, but can be actively damaging. This transgresses a key principle of medicine Primum, non nocere – first, do no harm.

Having looked at lots of data from multiple sources over the last few weeks, I am coming to the view that the entire country would be better off in almost every way if doctors stopped ‘doing things’ for a while – particularly if they stopped testing asymptomatic people for the variant du jour.

I will discuss the available information and explain why I have arrived at that conclusion.

Firstly, the admissions from the community in London (as the leading edge of the Omicron wave).

Graph 1 shows the daily Covid admissions from the community in the blue bars vs the same time last year on the brown line. Readers will recall that Professor Sir Chris Whitty warned at the Downing St press conference on December 15th that a big increase in Covid hospital admissions after Christmas was “nailed on”.

It looks like we are waiting for Godot, because the numbers are actually falling, not rising and are currently less than a third of levels a year ago.

No Need for Fourth Vaccine Dose, Says JCVI

Fourth Covid vaccines doses are not currently needed, Government scientific advisers have said, as protection against severe disease from three doses is holding up. The Telegraph has more.

On Friday night, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) announced that booster jabs continue to provide high levels of protection against severe disease from omicron in older adults, including the most vulnerable.

The committee’s analysis found that, three months after receiving a third jab, protection against hospitalisation among those aged 65 and over remains at around 90%.

Ministers have been exploring the possibility of a fourth jab for several weeks after Israel, considered a global pioneer in Covid vaccination, launched such a programme last month.  

But Prof Wei Shen Lim, the JCVI’s Chairman of Covid immunisation, said: “The current data show the booster dose is continuing to provide high levels of protection against severe disease, even for the most vulnerable older age groups. For this reason, the committee has concluded there is no immediate need to introduce a second booster dose, though this will continue to be reviewed.”

No mention of effectiveness against infection or transmission. Yet it is the vaccines’ supposed efficacy against transmission that is the basis of the vaccine mandates that will see many shortly lose their jobs. If the JCVI no longer thinks the vaccines are effective against transmission it should say so and advise the Government to end its hounding and harassment of the unvaccinated.

Meanwhile, the Times abandons liberalism in a recent leading article which backs vaccine passports (no tests allowed) for sports events, theatres and indoor restaurants, saying it’s “time to get tough on the antivaxers”.

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