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TO: Boris Johnson PM, Mark Drakeford FM, Nicola Sturgeon FM, Arlene Isabel Foster PC,

Chris Whitty CMO, Dr Frank Atherton CMO, Dr Gregor Smith CMO, Dr Michael McBridge CMO

Matt Hancock MP and Eluned Morgan MS

AND: JCVI, MHRA, Children’s Commissioners and Children’s Charities

We are writing as professionals, medics, academics, parents, grandparents, and members of the public to express our grave concerns about suggestions to extend the Covid-19 vaccination programme to children.  We believe this to be a hasty step that is uncalled for under present circumstances.

You have been clear that society can reopen once the vulnerable have been offered vaccination against Covid-19.  This has now been achieved.  All the highest risk groups have now been vaccinated and the Government’s own data confirms that 98% of over 60s have antibodies from either vaccination or infection.[1] The NHS has been protected and we are no longer in a crisis situation. Whilst the very old and very frail will, sadly, always be at risk of serious illness, our children are the future. Children’s lives have been put on hold for over a year already at great cost to their physical and mental wellbeing and education.  We must not ask them to suffer further harm for the sake of adults.

Limited Benefits v Unknown Harms, Ethics and Efficacy

Thankfully, the evidence shows that children and young people are minimally affected by Covid-19. Vaccinating children, then, is of limited direct benefit to them but for the primary purpose of protecting adults. However, medical treatment cannot be justified if it poses a risk to the individual which is greater than the harm it protects against and this approach would mark a significant departure from established principles of medical ethics. Kate Bingham of the Government Vaccine Task Force said last October, we just need to vaccinate everyone at risk….theres going to be no vaccination of people under 18.”[2]

Furthermore, many of the Covid-19 vaccines involve new technology that represents a radical departure from previous forms of the vaccine. We should be especially cautious about using new technologies on our children. Novel vaccines fast-tracked to market have in the past caused devastating harm – we draw your attention, for example, to the many children who now live with severe nervous system injuries caused by the Swine Flu vaccine which was given to children in 2009-10 before being withdrawn.[3][3.1] In another recent example, Dengvaxia, a new vaccine against Dengue Fever, was rolled out to children ahead of the full trial outcomes, and 19 children died of possible antibody-dependent enhancement before the vaccine was withdrawn.[4]

We are aware that many medical doctors and researchers have warned about a variety of potential dangers to children from Covid-19 vaccines. In particular, we refer you to the Open Letter[5] written to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) as reported in the Daily Telegraph on 18 May 2021[6], which described the plan to vaccinate children as “irresponsible, unethical and unnecessary”. We urge you to re-read that letter.

It was further reported in the press on 23rd May that some teenagers and young adults who received Covid-19 vaccines have experienced heart inflammation.[7] The aforementioned letter informs you that there have now been a number of child deaths associated with covid vaccination in the U.S., despite these vaccines only being given to children within trials and a very recent rollout to 16-17 year olds. Repeating mistakes of the past with the Covid-19 vaccines would not only be devastating for the children and families affected but would risk fuelling vaccine hesitancy for other critical childhood vaccination programmes where there is a direct benefit for the child.

Fully Informed Consent

Fully informed consent is the bedrock of medical ethics and should underpin all vaccination programmes, but by contrast, a general assumption towards vaccinating young people against Covid-19 is already being created. Examples include the statement by Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, that there will continue to be a major disruption in schools until we have vaccinated our children”[8]. Similarly, Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, said “we might, by the autumn, be able to have young people returning to schools with a vaccine available to them and as a result, some of the measures we currently have in schools, such as children wearing masks, might be able to be eased”[9]. Factually misleading and emotionally manipulative teaching material has been circulated to some schools,[10] and statements encouraging the use of peer pressure have been made by school leaders.[11]

Societal Segregation

The vaccination of children raises broader questions which go to the very heart of the society we wish for ourselves and our children. Would vaccinated children be treated differently to unvaccinated children – for example in access to facilities within schools, or indeed in relation to schooling itself as the statements above of Professor Edmunds and Mark Drakeford imply? The broader implications are disturbing.

International Equity

To deploy a significant stock of vaccines on a very low risk group in the UK when many parts of the developing world are struggling to vaccinate even high risk groups is morally fragile. It has been heavily criticised by experts[12][12b] and has been labelled a “moral catastrophe” by World Health Organization’s Executive Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.[13] However, even after vulnerable adults worldwide have been offered the vaccine, it still would be inappropriate to vaccinate healthy children.

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Not For Them

We are profoundly concerned that you are considering taking the UK down this road. As a society, we have striven over this last year to protect the vulnerable, but vulnerability comes in many forms and absolutely now includes children. We simply must not put children in unnecessary danger, nor in the situations described above. There is no need to rush to vaccinate children for Covid-19, and there may never be any need to do so. Individual children at very high risk can already receive vaccination on compassionate grounds.[14]

No Covid-19 vaccines should be approved or licensed for use in children until the current clinical trials are complete, all adult safety data is fully published and reviewed, and potentially serious long-term side effects have been conclusively ruled out. There must be an open scientific debate, including ordinary ethical standards with a routine assessment of potential conflicts of interest, as well as due process and Parliamentary scrutiny. Informed questions and criticisms should not only be welcomed but encouraged in order to prevent tragedies from occurring.

In conclusion, we join together in urging you to call a halt to the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme to children.  

This is a decision of generational significance. We do not believe you will ever regret a decision to be cautious when it comes to the health and welfare of the twelve million children of this nation.

Selected Signatories ( a small selection)

Academics and Scientists

Professor Anthony Fryer            Professor of Clinical Biochemistry, Keele University

Professor Antony Brookes            Professor of Genetics and Data Science, Leicester University

Professor David Paton               Professor of Industrial Economics, Nottingham University

Professor Matthew Ratcliffe      Professor of Philosophy (Mental Health), University of York

Professor Richard Ennos            Honorary Professional Fellow, Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh

Professor Robert Endres            Professor, Biological Physics., Imperial College, London

Professor Robert Sauer             Chair of Economics, Royal Holloway, University of London

Dr Lee Jones                             University Lecturer, Queen Mary, University of London

Dr Tanya Klymenko                   Lecturer in Biochemistry, Sheffield Hallam University

Dr David Critchley PhD              Emeritus Professor, Dept of Biochemistry, University of Leicester

Dr Branko Latinkic                     Lecturer – molecular biologist – University of Cardiff

Professor Bill Durodie                Chair of Risk and Security at University of Bath

Professor Peter Allen                 Lecturer, LSE

Professor Keith Willison            Chemical Biologist

Prof Georgina Ellison-Hughes     Professor, King’s College London

Dr Markus Wolf                        Senior Lecturer, School of Computing, University of Greenwich

Dr Peter Hewitson                     Senior Lecturer, Dept of Chemical engineering, Brunel University

Dr Oliver Robinson                    Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Greenwich

Jemma Dale                              Biomedical Scientist

Suzanne Tomkinson                  Biomedical Scientist

Jamie Jenkins                            Statistician, Former head of health analysis of the ONS

Medical Professionals

Professor John A Fairclough       Professor Emeritus Orthopaedic Surgeon

Dr Catherine Heaton                 GP

Dr Emma Brierly                        GP

Dr Fiona Underhill                     GP

Dr Gabriella Fetherston             GP

Dr Helen McArdle                     GP

Dr Helen Westwood                  GP

Dr Jillian Wilson                        GP

Dr Jonathan Eastwood               GP

Dr K Singh, MRCGP                    GP

Dr Kim Wilbraham                     GP

Dr Lisa Clewing                         GP

Dr Rachel Bristow                      GP

Dr Renée Hoenderkamp            GP

Dr Rick Freeman                       GP

Dr Ross Worthington                 GP

Dr Anne Renfrew                      GP (Retired)

Dr Claudia Wilkinson                 GP (Retired)

Dr Elizabeth Burton                   GP (Retired)

Dr Hugh Charles Pollard             GP (Retired)

Dr Katrina Young                       GP (Retired)

Dr Leo Barragry                         GP (Retired)

Dr Sandra Price                         GP (Retired)

Dr. Mary Dainton                      GP (Retired)

Dr Rosamond A K Jones             Consultant Paediatrician (retired)

Dr C.Geoffrey Maidment           Consultant Physician (retired)

Dr Christopher Paul Chilton       Consultant Urologist Emeritus

Dr Julie Maxwell                        Community Paediatrician

Dr S Allam                                 Consultant Anaesthetist

Dr T. James Royle                      Consultant general surgeon

Michael Anthony Church           Consultant Neuropsychologist (retired)

Dr Nichola Ling                         Consultant obstetrician

Dr David Conkey                       Consultant Oncologist

Dr Karen Horridge                     Consultant Paediatrician

Dr John Roche                           Consultant Psychiatrist

Dr David Bramble MD                Consultant Psychiatrist and Physician

Dr Anthony Hinton FRCS            Consultant Surgeon

Dr Lasantha Wijesinghe             Consultant surgeon

Dr Christian Duncan                  Craniofacial Surgeon

Dr Tess Lawrie                           Director, Evidence-Based Medicine

Dr Bryony Henderson                Doctor

Dr Chi Eziefula                          Doctor

Dr Anne Mc Closkey                  Doctor

Dr Helen Hawkins                      Doctor

Dr Helen Macklin                      Doctor

Dr Ian Wilson                            Doctor

Dr Natalie Caves                        Doctor

Dr Rob Duncan                          Doctor

Dr Sarah Yardley                       Doctor

Dr Tudno Watkins                     Doctor (retired)

Dr Marco Chiesa                       Doctor of Medicine

Dr Alistair Holdcroft                  Medical Doctor

Dr Gerard Hall                           Medical Doctor

Dr Vivienne Hornby                   Medical Doctor

Morgan Kleczkowska                 Former Immunologist

Dr David Green                         Intensive Care Consultant

Dr Elizabeth Evans                     Retired Doctor

Dr Margaret Ann Tottle-Smith   Retired doctor

Graham Crawley                       Retired NHS Consultant

Dr John Mason                          Doctor

Jessica Righart                          Biomedical Scientist

Dr Paul Hughes                         Retired dentist

Dr Charlotte Courtenay-Stamp   Dental Surgeon

Dr Robert Durling                      Dental Surgeon

Dr Susan Hunter                        Dental Surgeon

Dr David Gill                             Dentist

Dr Matthew Jackson                  Dentist

Dr Sylvia Krafft                          Dentist

Dr Mark Atkinson                      Retired Medicinal Chemist

Dr Susie Coughlan                     Veterinary surgeon with PhD Immunology

Dr Ruth Elliott                           Veterinary Surgeon

Dr Samantha Coe                      Veterinary Surgeon

Dr Katharine Wiltshire               Veterinary Surgeon

Dr Jennifer Aspey                      Veterinary Surgeon

Dr Rachel Mahoney                   Clinical Psychologist

Andrea Halewood                     Psychologist, Psychotherapist

Joanne Rees                              Radiographer

Julie Deamer                             Radiographer

Julia Dobson                             Radiographer

Kirsten Fletcher                        Radiographer

Dr Gary Sidley                           Retired Clinical Psychologist

Alton Ainley                              Chartered Psychologist

Darchana Patel                         Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Sita Castillo                               Child Psychologist

James Tapper                            Clinical Neuropsychologist

Dr Zenobia Storah                     Clinical Psychologist

Naomi Simcock                         Clinical Psychologist

Stefania Pethica                                    Clinical Psychologist

Dr Faye Bellanca                       Clinical Psychologist

Dr Harrie Bunker-Smith             Clinical Psychologist

Livia Pontes                              Clinical Psychologist

Sasha Lillie Lyons                      Clinical Psychologist

Camellia Kojouri                        Educational Psychologist

Coral Leather                            Midwife

Dawn Brackenridge                   Midwife

Jennifer Sparkes                        Midwife

Nikki Crawley                            Midwife

Ruth Barnes                              Midwife

Sarah McDonald                       Midwife

Angharad Snow                         Midwife

Becky Turner                            Midwife

Helen Gent                               Midwife

Helena Edwards                        Midwife

Janet Delamare                         Paediatric Nurse

Elspeth Hill                               Paediatric Nurse

Anna Phillips                             Paediatric Nurse

Sharyl James                             Respiratory Nurse Specialist

Carolyn Driver                           Retired Immunisation Specialist Nurse

Kim Bull                                    Paramedic

Damien Cominos                       Paramedic

Amy Walker                              Paramedic

Charles Spedding                      Pharmacist

Richard Clarey                           Pharmacist

Tonya Hountingwolf Billington   Pharmacist

Claire Griffiths                           Pharmacist

Rachel Airley                             Pharmacist

Shirley Dann                             Pharmacist, Consultant in Drug Development

Natasha Patel                           Pharmacologist

Katherine Price                         Neurological Psychotherapist

Education and Children’s Services Professionals

(over 700 signatures including teachers and social workers)

Mike Fairclough                        Headteacher

Barry Read                                Headteacher

Clive Price                                 Retired Primary School Headteacher and OFSTED inspector

Public Figures

Baron Moonie (Lewis)               Retired consultant in public health, and politician

Baroness Morrissey                   Financier, Peer

Eric Clapton                              Musician

Yolanda Charles MBE                Musician

Sue Cook                                  Writer Broadcaster

Pat Cash                                   Tennis Coach/ Commentator

Bev Turner                                Journalist

Matthew Le Tissier                    Football commentator

Hugh Osmond                           Director

Ian Seale                                   Actor

Julia Hartley-Brewer                  Journalist

Laura Dodsworth                      Writer

Tonia Buxton                            TV Presenter & Author

Kathy Gyngell                           Editor, The Conservative Woman

David Kurten                             Heritage Party Leader

Laurence Fox                            The Reclaim Party Leader

Emma Kenny                            Registered Psychological Therapist

Deena Payne                            Actor

Adam Brooks                            Proprietor

Mark Colbourne MBE                Olympian

Richard Tice                              Director

Bob Moran                               Journalist

Isabel Oakeshott                       Journalist

Sonia Elijah                               Journalist

Gary Chappell                           Journalist

James Guy Bembridge               Journalist

Sophie Warren Smith                Journalist

Joanna Williams                        Journalist

Jemma Moran                           Journalist