The scandal of the Covid vaccines – that they were far too high-risk medicines to give to people at low risk of the disease they were intended to prevent – is finally going mainstream, says Allison Pearson in the Telegraph. The major legal action against AstraZeneca shows why people like BBC presenter Lisa Shaw should never have been told to get jabbed. Here’s an excerpt.
It is almost too painful to consider that, 15 days before Lisa Shaw went eagerly to get her Covid jab so she could “hug my mam”, Denmark stopped the use of AstraZeneca in its vaccination rollout after reports of rare but serious cases of blood clots. Finland also announced that it would continue to limit the AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged 65 and over following similar health concerns. Was the MHRA unaware of growing international doubts (AZ was never licensed in the U.S.) or was it, perhaps, rather reluctant to tarnish a great British success story?
In ethical terms, for a vaccine to be rolled out to people who are not at significant risk from Covid, it would need to be shown to be very safe indeed for those groups. I also clearly remember the head of the Government’s Vaccine Taskforce, Kate Bingham, saying that vaccinating everyone in the country was “not going to happen”. “It’s an adult-only vaccine, for people over 50, focusing on health workers and care home workers and the vulnerable,” she said. Vaccination policy would be aimed at those “most at risk”. She noted that vaccinating healthy people, who are much less likely to have severe outcomes from COVID-19, “could cause them some freak harm”, potentially tipping the scales in terms of the risk-benefit analysis.
With a heavy heart I’m going to say what should have been said a long time ago. Unlike those who were actually vulnerable to Covid, Lisa Shaw did not need a Covid vaccine; any minuscule benefit to her was outweighed by the small risk. Neither did I (I’d had the virus in January 2020 as plentiful antibodies later attested and enjoyed good immunity). Millions of healthy people queued up for a jab they didn’t require which protected against serious disease in the elderly and vulnerable, but was not necessary for most of the rest of us.
How this country moved from a policy of only vaccinating those who would benefit to running the risk of inflicting “some freak harm” on people like Lisa Shaw may yet turn out to be one of the great scandals of the age.
“I put her on a pedestal,” Gareth Eve says of his late wife, “Lisa was only 5ft 2 and I’m 6 foot, but I put her on a pedestal. She was that wonderful. When she died, because of the way that she died after the jab, it was ‘a dirty secret’, you weren’t supposed to talk about. With AstraZeneca, these companies are run by human beings, you would have thought they were run by human beings, Allison, but they don’t want to talk to the people like me… Zachary doesn’t have his mam because the authorities didn’t give us the full picture about the risks.”
I am not an anti-vaxxer but…. Let’s stop saying that, shall we? There’s no shame in being against giving a vaccine to groups who didn’t need it, and which caused people to be dead who should be alive and taking their eight-year-old son to school.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: David Spiegelhalter, emeritus professor of statistics at the University of Cambridge, has said he would hesitate before describing the AstraZeneca vaccine as “safe and effective”. The Telegraph has more.