For immediate release
17 December 2020
A new, open source vaccine transparency tool, TransVac, developed by the non-profit, Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) International, finds that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, currently being administered to the UK public, has a ‘transparency index’ of just 35%. The Moderna vaccine, destined for imminent release in the US, fared even worse with an index of just 30%. The tool allows the relative degree of vaccine transparency of citizen-facing information for the new generation of covid vaccines to be compared.
In April, together with colleagues at the British Society of Ecological Medicine (BSEM), the ANH published an open letter to Matt Hancock, the UK Minister for Health and Social Care, calling for vaccine transparency prior to roll-out of synthetic biology covid vaccines in what has been described as the “biggest vaccination drive in British history”.
Given it is crunch time for an increasing number of Britons, and will be soon for US citizens, Transvac was developed to help citizens understand more about the nature and availability of information required for properly informed consent. The tool uses an algorithm to determine compliance with the ten criteria outlined by the ANH and the BSEM in their vaccine transparency manifesto issued earlier this year.
While the mean index for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the UK was just 35%, the index for each of the 10 criteria varied between 0% and a maximum of 68%. That was marginally greater than the 30% mean index found for the Moderna vaccine in the USA, which is expecting an imminent green light from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The results suggest that information required by citizens on which to give their informed consent is severely limited, and more opaque than it is transparent.
ANH executive and scientific director Rob Verkerk PhD said,
“We’ve developed the Transvac tool to help people understand what they should be asking health professionals and authorities if they wish to exercise properly informed consent, which is a legal right for any medical intervention in most parts of the world. Historically, vaccine transparency has been poor, and given the synthetic biology platforms and fast-track development timetables for the new generation of covid vaccines, a high degree of transparency is more important than ever.”
Although both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines use the same mRNA platform, one of the main differences in transparency between the two vaccines is that the lipid nanoparticle (LNP) ingredients used by Moderna, unlike Pfizer, have yet to be declared publicly. Without this information, independent scientific risk assessment is not possible. Additionally, in neither case have the amounts of the LNP adjuvants or their specific physico-chemical properties been declared. It has been well established that nanoparticle delivery can greatly alter—typically increasing—the intrinsic toxicity of nanoparticles compared with the same ingredients in non-nano forms. It is therefore unsurprising that “Moderna warned that they cannot be sure their LNP’s will not have adverse effects.”
The ANH is calling on the public, independent scientists, elected representatives and health professionals to engage with the open source, interactive Transvac tool. Most of the 10 criteria are subdivided into 3 to 7 sub-components and as more information materialises, the indices will increase.
Dr Verkerk said that the ANH has been inundated by members of the public who say they are hesitant to receive covid vaccines because of a lack of information, and added:
“The public is often blamed for vaccine hesitancy. But accountability lies not with citizens but with the vaccine makers and regulators for withholding information that citizens need to make an informed choice. The Transvac tool will help citizens to know what information they should have access to if the right to informed consent is to be respected during the forthcoming mass vaccination programmes.”
For more information, please email ANH Outreach & Communications Officer, Melissa Smith, at [email protected] or telephone +44 (0)1483 362200.
Address: Alliance for Natural Health International, Old Station House, 78 Dorking Road, Chilworth, Surrey GU4 8NS, United Kingdom
NOTES TO THE EDITOR
The Transvac tool complete with interactive dashboard is available as an Excel spreadsheet download at: https://www.anhinternational.org/resources/transvac-interactive-dashboard/
Open letter to Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, 29 April 2020
Vaccine transparency manifesto, 7 May 2020
About the Alliance for Natural Health International
Mission, vision and history: https://www.anhinternational.org/who-we-are/