For too long the public has been blamed for vaccine hesitancy, that the World Health Organization rates as one of the top 10 global health threats. This is not only unfair, it incorrectly apportions blame on the public when the real driver of vaccine hesitancy is distrust through lack of transparency by vaccine makers, regulatory agencies, the World Health Organization, and others.
Flyers hot off the virtual press
Today we release two flyers as PDFs for forwarding or printing – one for a UK audience – the other an international version for use in all other countries.
The flyers are especially designed to get the debate moving to the political table, as this is as much about politics and economics as it is about health.
Given that vaccines targeting Covid-19 are under incredibly rapid and intense development and are planned for release on the public at an unprecedented rate, before adequate safety testing can be done, this is a very urgent call to action.
Do just two things that could change our futures for the better
To get traction we’re asking you to do two things with a minimum of delay. As you’ll read below, things are happening so fast, there’s no time to waste:
Share this call to action along with the flyers as widely as you can. Bear in mind that social media portals and websites are being heavily censored with content restricted when it’s issued from non-official health authorities and non-government sources if it relates to vaccines. That is regardless of the quality or nature of the content. It therefore represents a serious limitation of freedom of expression and a barrier to informed consent. This censorship means it’s particularly important to share the direct link to this information, which you can find here
Pass on the flyers and this call to action to your elected representatives so that you can make use of your democratic voice and ensure public concerns are properly heard. In most countries there are websites to help you find your elected representatives. If you don’t already know them, here are a few:
The best defence any of us have around any uncertain medical intervention which will come with benefits and risks is knowledge. That comes through the provision and use of information. With knowledge comes our ability to give properly informed consent. Efficacy studies need to have sufficient statistical power to be able to show the public that vaccination provides better and safer outcomes than allowing the disease in question to progress through the population naturally. Even with measles, these comparative data are not yet clear. Informed consent in most countries is a legal and ethical requirement for any medical treatment, and vaccination by injection represents an invasive medical treatment.
With recent vaccines like the two HPV vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix (released 2006/7), and Pandemrix for influenza A/H1N1 (‘swine flu’) (released 2009/10), it’s taken many years to discover the extent to which key information was withheld from independent researchers and the public. This information included concealing known adverse effects and failure to publicise vaccine injury. We include references to specific papers in the scientific literature that detail previous non-transparency with these vaccines in our letter to UK Health Secretary, Matt Hancock.
Getting this information out is something we can’t afford to delay.
Four important reasons for your need to act quickly – ideally this week or next – are:
Patients including the elderly and frontline healthcare workers are already being recruited for trials. Subjects, trialists and regulatory authorities need to make sure all relevant data are put in the public domain so it can be evaluated independently
The participants in these trials are acting as guinea pigs for the public. They are going in blind, with no information on the safety profile of the experimental vaccines. Vaccines for RNA viruses like SARS-CoV-2 using the kinds of technologies employed by the frontrunners have never been created before at scale. Any safety issue found in one study needs to be communicated as quickly as possible to those involved with other trials. This is an ethical imperative
Leading vaccine scientists like Dr Shino Jiang have issued warnings, saying in March 2020 in the prestigious journal Nature, “My worry is that this could mean a vaccine is administered before its efficacy and safety have been fully evaluated in animal models or clinical trials”. Governments, health authorities and vaccine developers don't appear to be listening so the public and onside politicians must make them hear
Vaccine development is happening at such a rapid rate – there is a genuine vaccine race ongoing with over 100 contenders vying to win the prize: sign off by the World Health Organization, and roll-out following deals with the largest vaccine companies in the world. There may be different vaccines released in different countries, but there’s only room for a few. These vaccine developers must know sooner rather than later that the public around the world will not accept the withholding of data and information.
If vaccine makers and governments want the public to trust their vaccines, they must understand that transparency is a necessity, not an option. Please share widely. Thank you.
>>> For more information on Covid-19, visit ANH Intl’s Covid Zone
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