Vaccine Mandates Are “Scientifically Questionable” and “Ethically Problematic”, Say Researchers

A group of medical researchers and bioethicists have written a comprehensive assessment of Covid vaccine coercion policies, encompassing passports, mandates and segregated lockdowns. They argue in no uncertain terms that these measures are “scientifically questionable” and “ethically problematic”.

While most of the points in their article will be familiar to readers of the Daily Sceptic, the article is valuable in virtue of its sheer breadth and attention to detail. I’ll try to provide a brief summary.

Kevin Bardosh and colleagues begin by noting that the publicly communicated rationale for Covid vaccine policies has shifted over time, from ‘ending the pandemic’ and ‘getting back to normal’, to reducing the burden on the healthcare system. (Such shifts do not inspire confidence that policymakers really know what they’re doing.)

The authors spend the bulk of the article discussing the harmful unintended consequences of Covid vaccine policies, drawing on insights from the behavioural sciences, law and bioethics.

They cite evidence that the coercive nature of Covid vaccine policies is likely to reduce compliance with other public health measures, including recommendations to take existing vaccines (which have much longer track records than the Covid vaccines). This owes to mechanisms of psychological reactance and loss of trust in the health authorities.

The authors argue that such effects will be compounded by the use of stigmatisation as a public health strategy, and by the dissemination of misleading or false claims on the part of health authorities (such as Anthony Fauci’s claim that, once vaccinated, “you become a dead end to the virus”).

As regards the former, the authors have compiled a list of some of the most incendiary statements made by politicians about unvaccinated people.

Emmanuel Macron admitted his aim was “pissing them off”. Justin Trudeau described them as “extremists who don’t believe in science”, adding “they’re often misogynists, also often racists”. Naftali Bennett accused them of “endangering their health, those around them and the freedom of every Israeli citizen”.

All U.K. Covid Travel Restrictions to be Scrapped This Week

All Covid restrictions on foreign travel, including passenger locator forms and tests for the unvaccinated, are to be scrapped in time for families planning to go abroad for the Easter holidays. The Telegraph has more.

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, will announce on Monday that passenger locator forms will be scrapped from 4am this Friday.

Testing for unvaccinated passengers that are required to enter the U.K. will also be dropped, ending the final restrictions on travel.

It means that holidaymakers will be able to enjoy frictionless travel entering the U.K. for the first time since the start of the pandemic in spring 2020.

At present, only fully vaccinated arrivals can enter the U.K. without the need for tests. However, they must fill in a passenger locator form within 72 hours of travel, sharing their address, phone number, passport and flight details.

The forms were launched two years ago – when arrivals had to quarantine at home – to help check if travellers were following the rules. Mr. Shapps has been pushing to scrap them in time for Easter.

Unvaccinated U.K. arrivals currently have to take a rapid pre-departure test within 48 hours of travel and a costly PCR swab by day two. 

Paul Charles, the Chief Executive of The PC Agency, a travel consultancy, said: “U.K. entry restrictions have been in place far longer than necessary. Now they are finally going, we’ll see confidence among consumers to book increase further. I now expect other countries to fall like dominoes in terms of their own border policies being removed.”

Let’s hope other countries follow suit quickly so travel can get back to normal without delay. Now if airlines can just be persuaded to drop their face mask requirements…

Worth reading in full.

Covid Travel Restrictions Expected to be Axed in Days

All remaining U.K. Covid travel restrictions could be scrapped in days under plans being considered by ministers. The Mail has more.

The deeply unpopular passenger locator forms are expected to be ditched at a scheduled committee meeting of Cabinet ministers next week. They will also consider dropping testing for unvaccinated passengers. 

The plans would bring back frictionless travel for the first time since the start of the pandemic – just in time for the busy Easter holidays next month.

The ravaged travel industry hailed the prospect of the remaining restrictions being abolished. As it stands, only fully vaccinated arrivals can enter the U.K. without the need for tests. But they must fill in a passenger locator form within 72 hours of travel, sharing their address, phone number, passport and flight details. 

The forms were launched two years ago – when arrivals had to quarantine at home – to help check if travellers were following the rules.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has been pushing to scrap them in time for Easter.

Belgium is scrapping its own form on Friday while Greece is ditching its version next week.

Unvaccinated U.K. arrivals currently have to take a rapid pre-departure test within 48 hours of travel and a costly PCR swab by day two. However, next week’s ‘Covid-O’ (Covid Operations) meeting could be postponed due to events in Ukraine, and health officials will need to be won over.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said scrapping the passenger locator form was long overdue. He told the Daily Mail: “It’s a shambles. They should ditch it, it’s completely irrelevant. Nobody collects them, nobody checks them or follows up on them. They were designed to pretend that the politicians were doing something to protect people.”

What are they waiting for? Let’s hope the meeting is not delayed and they drop them all.

Worth reading in full.

Vaccinated People Despise Those Who Refuse to Get the Jab – But the Opposite is Not True, Study Reveals

People who have had a Covid vaccine hold negative views about people who have not, but the reverse is not true, a major study has found. MailOnline has the story.

Researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark questioned some 10,000 people from 21 countries to establish their opinion. 

Publishing their findings, the research discovered anti-vaccine people are viewed negatively. However, those who have refused the jab do not think less of those who sought protection. 

According to the Times, the researchers found that vaccinated people held “stereotypic inferences that unvaccinated individuals are untrustworthy and unintelligent, making the antipathy resemble prejudice towards other deviant groups”.

Participants of the survey were shown a fictional portrait of an individual, including their age, occupation personality and vaccine status. 

The researchers asked whether they would be happy if a close relative was going to marry an [unvaccinated person]. Among those who have had their jabs, there is a 13% drop in approval. 

The researchers said: “In the short run, prejudice towards the unvaccinated may complicate pandemic management. In the long run, it may mean that societies leave the pandemic more divided than they entered.”

Worth reading in full.

I Am Unvaccinated

We’re publishing an original essay today by Cory Zue, an American software developer in South Africa, that he posted on his blog last week. This is one of the best pieces I’ve read by someone who has chosen to remain unvaccinated for entirely rational reasons – and it resonated with me because I’ve decided not to get vaccinated after having had the same argument with myself as Cory. Here is an extract from near the beginning:

For most people my vaccination status is surprising. For many, it’s incomprehensible.

How could an MIT-educated, well-meaning, rational (hopefully), Massachusetts-born, Democrat who works in public health still not have a Covid vaccine?

I’ve been asked this question many times – sometimes in good faith and sometimes less so. And each time, I’ve struggled to fully satisfy people with my response. So I thought maybe I’d try writing it down.

This essay is my attempt to explain my vaccination status as best I can. It’s a complicated answer, which touches on family, science, policy, and morality. It’s a topic that is simultaneously very personal and very broad; difficult to talk about, and yet also important – perhaps, now more than ever.

What follows is likely to anger some of you, but I hope that it makes more of you curious, or even empathetic, to my position. We’ll see if I can pull it off.

Not only does Cory pull it off, but he does so with a good deal of humour and panache. This is very much worth reading in full and if, like me, you’ve chosen not to get vaccinated, it’s worth sharing with others who find it hard to understand that decision.

You can find Cory Zue’s blog here.

President Macron Says He is Introducing Vaccine Passports to “Piss Off” the Unvaccinated

French President Emmanuel Macron has said he wants to “piss off” the unvaccinated by banning them from public venues such as restaurants, cafes and cinemas. MailOnline has more.

The cutting remark prompted howls of condemnation from opposition rivals less than four months before the next presidential election.

“The unvaccinated, I really want to piss them off. And so, we’re going to continue doing so, until the end. That’s the strategy,” Macron told Le Parisien newspaper in an interview published late on Tuesday.

France last year put in place a health pass that prevents people without a PCR test or proof of vaccination from entering restaurants, cafes and other venues. 

The Government wants to turn it into a vaccine passport that means only the vaccinated can have a health pass.

The legislation will remove the option of showing a negative test, effectively barring unvaccinated people from hospitality venues or trains.

The plans have faced fierce resistance from anti-vaccination campaigners and far-right and far-left groups, but is backed by the Government which has a majority in parliament.

In a particularly snarky interview, the French President said he aims to irritate the unvaccinated into submission, rather than round them up and prosecute them. 

“I won’t send (the unvaccinated) to prison, I won’t vaccinate by force. So we need to tell them, from Jan. 15th, you won’t be able to go to the restaurant anymore, you won’t be able to down one, won’t be able to have a coffee, go to the theatre, the cinema…”

Macron’s use of a very informal French phrase, which can be translated as “to piss them off”, prompted immediate criticism by rivals on social media.

Disgraceful, obviously. On the other hand, refreshing to have some candour for change from a politician on their real motives. It also makes much more sense than the usual reason given for vaccine passports, that they will prevent the spread of coronavirus, as evidently they do no such thing.

Worth reading in full.

Is Tony Blair the Real Idiot Here?

There follows a guest post by retired dentist Dr. Mark Shaw, who is unimpressed with former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s recent pillorying of the unvaccinated.

Tony Blair was quoted recently as saying: “If you’re not vaccinated at the moment you’re not just irresponsible, you’re an idiot.”

Before the Covid vaccine was rolled out PHE published data that showed those aged 80 years or over were seventy times more likely to die than those under 40. Earlier this year, before young adults and children were vaccinated, the JVCI said that the incidence of severe outcomes from Covid in children and young people was very low and that Covid disease in children was typically mild or asymptomatic. COVID-19 has killed fewer children than seasonal flu in a normal year according to data compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data was clear even in 2020 that if you were under 50 and in good health your risk of serious harm or death from the disease was vanishingly small.

For valid consent to be obtained for vaccination, not only would it be necessary to have a good perspective of Covid risk for that particular individual, it would also be essential to know whether naturally acquired immunity conferred as good or better protection and if remaining unvaccinated increased the risk to others. A former vaccine taskforce chief and many scientists involved in the Covid vaccine manufacture have stated that they were never designed to end transmission and this has now become clear for all to see. A recent Danish study confirms natural immunity is better.

For the above reasons it was refreshing to hear the Japanese Government declare: “Do not discriminate against the unvaccinated.”

According to the Latest ICU Data, the Unvaccinated Are Not ‘Overwhelming the NHS’

We’re publishing a guest post by our in-house doctor today looking at the latest ICNARC data. This is the weekly audit of NHS ICUs. It only covers the period up to November 14th, but suggests that unvaccinated Covid patients in ICU are not placing an unmanageable strain on the NHS, as some health professionals have claimed. On the contrary, as of November 15th, there were only 400 unvaccinated Covid patients in ICUs across the whole of NHS England and they were outnumbered by vaccinated patients.

Today the Prime Minister will be making a decision on further measures to limit social interactions by British citizens. Information leaked from SAGE appear to indicate the ‘scientific advisers’ to the Government are pushing him to reinstitute more aggressive social controls in an effort to control the virus.

As Monday and Tuesday (the 27th and the 28th) are bank holidays, there will be no release of Covid related data on the NHS website. Therefore, the public will be able to see even less information than usual about the quantifiable evidence on which their liberty is being curtailed.

On Christmas Eve, the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) released an updated weekly report containing useful new information. Readers may recall that until recently, ICNARC had not produced an audit of vaccination status in ICUs. We now have data up to November 15th and this week a more granular analysis has been published. The link to the report is here and the relevant pages are 44-48.

I urge readers to examine this report for themselves in tandem with my analysis as a guide to interpretation. There has been so much misinformation around vaccines and severe Covid on both sides of the argument that a high-quality ICNARC audit is invaluable in assessing quantifiable known facts about the situation.

Readers should note that all patients included in this audit were suffering from the Delta variant. The time period ends on November 15th, well before Omicron became established in the U.K. Therefore, the debate around whether Omicron is more or less severe than Delta is irrelevant for the purposes of this commentary.

Figure 27 on page 46 shows the changing proportions of vaccinated people in ICU units between May and November compared to vaccination status in the general U.K. population. Over this period vaccination uptake increased in the community from around 60% partially or double vaccinated in May to over 80% double vaccinated in November.

Sajid Javid Says The Unvaccinated Are Having a “Damaging Impact” On Society

In an interview with Sky News, Sajid Javid criticised the unvaccinated for “the damage they are doing to society” by not coming forward for the jab. The Health Secretary also mentioned that further Covid restrictions, including the imposition of a post-Christmas lockdown, are not off the cards, and that the Government “will do what is necessary”. Sky News has more.

When pushed on reports that ministers are drawing up plans to introduce more restrictions after Christmas, the Health Secretary told Sky News‘ Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme the Government will “do what is necessary”, but that any change must be “backed up by the data”.

He added that ministers are discussing the latest Covid data “almost on an hourly basis” with scientific advisers.

“We’ve shown in the past as Government in dealing with this pandemic that we will do what is necessary but it’s got to be backed up by the data,” the Health Secretary said when probed on any possible plans.

“We are watching the data and discussing it with our scientists and our best advisers almost on an hourly basis. And we will monitor that very carefully. We will keep the situation under review.”

Javid then reiterated that various factors, including vaccinations for Covid, mean “the situation today in terms of our defences is very different”.

He also confirmed that Parliament would be recalled if the Government believed introducing further restrictions was necessary adding that “it would have to be a decision for Parliament”…

The Health Secretary also told Sky News that 10% of the population (more than five million people) have still not taken up the offer of the vaccine, and that around nine out of 10 of those needing the most hospital care were unvaccinated.

“They must really think about the damage they are doing to society… they take up hospital beds that could have been used for someone with maybe a heart problem, or maybe someone who is waiting for elective surgery,” Javid said.

“But instead of protecting themselves and protecting the community they choose not to get vaccinated. They are really having a damaging impact and I just can’t stress enough, please do come forward and get vaccinated.”

Worth reading in full.

Unvaccinated Close Contacts Must Self-Isolate Under New Rules, Which The Double Jabbed Can Avoid If They Test Negative

Under new rules, which will be implemented by the Government this Tuesday, double vaccinated close contacts of Covid cases will not have to self-isolate if they receive a negative test – an option which isn’t open to the unvaccinated. In addition, those who are double jabbed but initially test negative will be recommended to take daily lateral flow tests for the next seven consecutive days. BBC News has the story.

Those who test positive, develop symptoms, or are unvaccinated should self-isolate for 10 days.

But people will not need to isolate if the tests remain negative and they have had at least two vaccine doses.

It means people in close contact with suspected or confirmed Omicron variant cases no longer always need to isolate.

NHS lateral flow tests – which are available in boxes of seven – are free from pharmacies or via online order.

The Government said the change in guidance “aims to reduce pressures on people’s everyday lives by replacing the requirement for Omicron contacts to isolate for 10 days”.

Anyone who has a positive result from a rapid test should take a confirmatory PCR test to verify the result, as well as continue to self-isolate.

They do not need to continue taking rapid tests during the isolation period.

If the PCR result comes back negative, contacts can leave self-isolation but should continue to take rapid lateral flow tests for the remainder of the seven days.

This change follows a significant rise in Omicron cases across the U.K. with the new variant expected to become the dominant strain by mid-December.

The latest Omicron case numbers on Sunday show 1,239 new daily cases, bringing the total number of Omicron cases in the UK to 3,137 – although the real number is estimated to be much higher.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We are taking this proportionate and more practical measure to limit the impact on people’s day-to-day lives while helping to reduce the spread of Omicron.”

The Government says this new advice will be in guidance rather than law initially, but this will be kept under review.

Worth reading in full.