Tag: Side effects

COVID-19 Vaccination and the Death of Informed Consent

by George Santayana Informed consent is one of the cornerstones of modern medicine and the foundation of the patient/doctor relationship. The principle of informed consent is a core part of the Nuremberg Code on human research ethics and states that consent for any medical treatment must come from the patient themselves who needs to understand both the benefits and risks. Likewise, the opposite, which we might call “informed refusal”, is just as important and a patient can refuse treatment or withdraw consent at any time. The “informed’ part of informed consent can occur in a number of ways such as provision of written materials (the piece of paper you throw away when you open a packet of headache tablets) or a discussion with your doctor. Regardless, the information given to a patient needs to be accurate, balanced and cover both the benefits and risks. Consent must also be given freely and without undue influence or coercion. Of course, a clinician can express their opinion and offer advice as to what course of action a patient might take, but ultimately the decision to proceed (swallow the pill, take the test, have the operation) resides with the patient. Informed consent places the individual patient at the heart of clinical practice and given that they are the person receiving the treatment and taking any associated risks that intrinsically feels like the right thing. And so it used to be for vaccinations, where it was up to the individual whether they wished to have a specific vaccination or not. Yes, there ...

The Heresy of Heresies

by Charlotte Niemiec During the Great Plague of London in the 1600s, an increasingly panicked and ignorant Government battled to contain a disease that ripped indiscriminately through the populace and ordered the slaughter of all the city’s cats. With no understanding of the disease’s origins or how it spread, these unfortunate feline scapegoats were believed to be the vectors of disease. But while the cull – in context – can be forgiven, the consequences were catastrophic; it obliterated, in one fell swoop, the creatures whose instinct it was to keep the city’s rat numbers at bay. The rodent population boomed, along with the fleas that fed on them, giving the bacterium that caused the plauge –Yersinia pestis – a freer run than it had ever had. The tale may be anecdotal but, almost four centuries later, it serves as a fitting analogy to onlookers of the current U.K. Government as it flails around in an attempt to get a handle on a disease not far off one hundred times less deadly. Have we lost our heads? The Government has metaphorically (for now – the idea has in fact been mooted) culled the cats, abandoning logic and taking the most counterintuitive course of action available to it at almost every turn. To begin with, it shelved its ready-made pandemic plan in ...

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