12-15 Year-Olds

The Ethical Bankruptcy of Vaccinating 12-15 Year-Olds

We’re publishing an original piece today by a senior pharmaceutical company executive setting out the ethical case against vaccinating healthy 12-15 year-olds against SARS-CoV-2. He points out that the risk of myocarditis alone is greater than any potential benefit of being vaccinated for this cohort. There are 3,200,000 12-15 year-olds in the U.K. and if you give a single dose of the vaccine to every one, according to the JCVI, you’re likely to prevent seven children ending up in the paediatric ICU. That’s not seven per million; that’s seven in total. But, according to the same source, the risk of a 12-15 year-old who’s received one dose developing myocarditis is 3-17 per million, so if every child in this cohort receives one dose between 9-54 will develop vaccine-induced myocarditis. Since we don’t know the long-term impact of myocarditis on a person’s health, this data suggests the risk of vaccinating 12-15 year-olds outweighs the risk – and that’s to ignore all the other potential side effects of the Covid vaccines.

Here are two key paragraphs, although the whole piece is excellent:

When it comes to the vaccine-induced safety risks, such as myocarditis, we do not have enough data to adequately assess what they mean for this vulnerable group and, as a result, we do not know how to satisfactorily manage them. This was the point the JCVI was making when raising concerns about the long-term risks. I must also emphasise again; children are not small adults and for 12-15 year-olds with hormones racing and puberty in full swing we cannot necessarily transfer any knowledge or assessment of risks from the adult population to this group. It may be that the risks are short-term, manageable, and acceptable and so the balance of benefit/risk is okay… but the fact is we simply do not know, and finding out by immunising 100,000s of children in uncontrolled circumstances is no way to discover the truth. One cannot ignore these risks just because “they are very rare”, especially when the significant benefits may also be “very rare”.

This is a clear case of where the precautionary principle should be applied and where we should assume the worse outcomes and manage the situation accordingly. Here, we’d assume there will be long-term issues associated with vaccine-induced myocarditis, put in place a routine monitoring plan for those who have already suffered this adverse event to ensure they remain healthy and detect any issues as soon as we can, and not vaccinate anyone else in this group until we understand what, if any, long-term issues there may be. It is ironic to me that the precautionary principle has been wielded by the Government and their advisors to justify a whole host of unproven interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic (think masks, think lockdown), but it appears that when it gets in the way of a desired policy implementation it is something that can just be forgotten. As Groucho Marx once said: “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.”

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Professor David Paton has come at the same issue from a different angle and reached the same conclusion. He’s examined the argument that vaccinating healthy 12-15 year-olds will reduce the disruption to children’s education in the Spectator and concluded that it’s nonsense. He originally set out this critique in a Twitter thread and that prompted Julia Hartley-Brewer to have him on her show to flesh out the argument. You can see a clip here.

Fury as Government Green Lights Vaccines for Healthy Kids

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said in a House of Commons speech tonight that the vaccination of healthy 12-15 year-olds would go ahead from the beginning of next week – and confirmed that children, not their parents, would have the final say about whether to get jabbed. MailOnline has more.

Mr. Zahawi also reiterated the safety of the vaccine for children, saying the decision to offer the jab to 12 to 15 year-olds had followed advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and had been “unanimously approved” by the U.K.’s Chief Medical Officers.

“We will now move with the same sense of urgency we’ve had at every point in our vaccination programme,” he added.

It comes as parents, experts and teaching unions today warned of tension in schools after the U.K. signed off on plans to offer Covid jabs to healthy 12 to 15 year-olds – which will see children get the final say on whether they are vaccinated.

Around three million under-16s are due to start getting their jabs from next week after Chris Whitty endorsed the move today, claiming it would help prevent outbreaks in classrooms and further disruptions to education this winter.

Doses will be largely administered through the existing school vaccination programme and parental consent will be sought.

But children will be able to overrule their parents’ decision in the case of a conflict if they are deemed mature and competent enough, which has caused fury.

Angry parents fumed against the move to leave the decision with young children who “can’t even decide what they want for tea, never mind” a vaccine, which carry small risks of side effects such as heart inflammation.

Professor Simon Clarke, a microbiologist at the University of Reading who is in favour of jabbing children, warned that giving youngsters the final say could lead to pupils being bullied by their peers into taking the jab.

He told MailOnline: “It will cause rows I think… You may end up in a situation where a minority, it will probably be the unvaccinated, get bullied and excluded by other children.”

Earlier headteachers revealed they had already received letters from pressure groups threatening legal action if schools take part in an under-16 vaccination programme.

The teachers’ union NAHT demanded urgent reassurance medics will be responsible for concerns about consent and vaccination rather than being left to schools, which could lead to tension with parents.

Children’s rights campaign group Us for Them said it needed a “cast-iron guarantee” from the Government that all parents would get the final say on whether their child is vaccinated.

Professor Whitty revealed today that children will be able to override their parents’ decision if they pass a “competence assessment” by the medical professional charged with administering the vaccine.

Under decades-old medical law used for other routine vaccines, youngsters get the final say if they are judged to have sufficient intelligence to be able to fully understand – and therefore consent to – vaccination.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Sarah Knapton, the Science Editor of the Telegraph, points out that Chris Whitty’s recommendation was distinctly lukewarm, which is bound to create confusion among parents.

If the Government isn’t Following the Science When it Comes to Vaccinating Children, Who is it Following?

We are publishing a guest post today by Dr. Peter Hayes, a Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Sunderland, pointing out that when it comes to vaccinating healthy 12-15 year-olds the Government can no longer claim to be following the science.

“Follow The Science” has been the defining slogan of Covid policymaking for the past year and a half. However, we may now be at turning point. On September 3rd, that august and scientific body The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised not to start vaccinating otherwise healthy 12-15 year-olds. The Government, however, seems likely to set about vaccinating them anyway.

In his letter to chief medical officers, Health Secretary Sajid Javid says that the JCVI is against vaccination of 12-15 year olds because its margin of benefit against harm is “too small” and tacitly suggests that the officers come up with something to enable him to override this advice. However, Javid’s spin on the committee’s advice is misleading. It is not only the marginal benefits of the vaccine but also the unknown extent of its harms that has led the JCVI to recommend against it.

(1) The JCVI states that in advising whether or not to vaccinate it has focused on “the benefit to children and young people themselves, weighed against any potential harms from vaccination”, and that it has done this to the exclusion of other issues such as cost.

(2) It states that overall “the benefits from vaccination are marginally greater than the potential known harms” [emphasis added].