Dr Alan Mordue

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‘First Do No Harm’ Means Not Giving the Covid Vaccination to Young People

by Dr. Alan Mordue During this Covid pandemic I have often wondered about how two key principles central to medicine and public health have been used. The first is the Hippocratic oath “primum non nocere” or “first do no harm”, which all doctors used to swear to abide by on graduation. The second is the precautionary principle, used in public health, particularly where there is uncertainty about the health effects of a proposed intervention or exposure to a potential harmful agent. They often seem to have been applied selectively and even ignored, particularly in relation to illnesses other than COVID-19. The press conference on April 7th chaired by Deputy CMO Jonathan Van-Tam with representatives from the MHRA and the JCVI about clotting side effects of the Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine was a case in point. During the press conference charts showing potential benefits in preventing ICU admission compared to potential serious harms of the AZ vaccine were presented by age group and for three levels of population incidence of SARS-CoV-2 (2, 6 and 20 per 10,000): Chart 1 – Low Exposure Chart 2– Medium Exposure Chart 3 – High Exposure The conclusions of the press conference were that these blood clots were extremely rare, that the benefits of the AZ vaccine outweigh the risks, and that an alternative vaccine should be...

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July 2024
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