Parent Power would urge supporters and parents to put their names to a new Parliamentary petition, currently going viral, which calls for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout not to involve children until there have been more effective long-term safety trials and proper consideration of the risks vs benefits. The aims of the petition, however, are relatively limited in scope. We believe both children, and the rights of parents to give informed consent on their behalf, also require further protection when it comes to Covid vaccinations.
The petition, entitled “Do not vaccinate children against COVID-19 until Phase 3 trials are complete”, has gained to date (17th June) over 59,000 signatures and counting. 10,000 are required to gain an official Government response and 100,000 are required for the subject matter to be considered for debate in Parliament. A previous petition in opposition to Covid vaccine passports, which is still open, has gained over 352,000 signatures and was debated in Parliament on 15th March 2021.
The new petition notes that a “risk vs benefit calculation does not support giving COVID-19 vaccines, which use novel technologies and are still in Phase 3 trials, to healthy children”, and that “any rollout should not start until trials are complete and all findings are published and peer-reviewed on long-term safety data”. It goes on to note that “healthy children are at low risk from COVID-19 yet face known and unknown risks from COVID-19 vaccines”, with “rare, but serious, adverse events and deaths […] being reported to monitoring systems around the world”.
Indeed, the risk of COVID-19 to children is, in the words of American Frontline Doctors, “statistically zero”. They have drawn attention to the fact that the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in America have provided a “best estimate” of the fatality infection rate (IFR) for 0-19 year olds as being as low as 0.00003 (or a 99.997% survival rate). Even Dr. Jenny Harries, England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, has admitted that the risk of a child dying in a road traffic accident or from flu “is probably higher than their current risk from COVID”. She also notes how “children very rarely get serious disease and get hospitalised, and when children do get infection it’s usually very mild and sometimes asymptomatic, and so overall the risk to the child themselves is very very small”.
Contrast that with current UK statistics concerning reported side effects from the COVID vaccines, which are still experimental as they have not yet been officially licensed, but have rather only been given “emergency authorisation”. The most recent figures from the MHRA’s “Yellow Card” reporting system show that, from the start of the vaccine rollout on 9th December 2020 up to 9th June 2021, there have been 1,328 reported deaths following a COVID vaccination and a total of 732,790 suspected adverse reactions.
Given such statistics therefore one must surely ask—barring some virulent new strain which is significantly more dangerous to them —whether it would ever be right to vaccinate children for COVID-19 when there is virtually no perceivable benefit to be gained for the children themselves? At the same time, as with any medical intervention, there are always genuine risks, no matter how small, and the figures above only alert us to the more immediate short-term risks. No one is in a position to state for certain as yet what the real risks of longer-term side effects will be — one, two, or many more years down the line. Even the world’s leading and richest vaccine enthusiast, Bill Gates, has stated that “If you want to see if a side effect shows up two years later, that takes two years”. Surely in the case of children, who have a whole lifetime ahead of them, we would want to be as sure as possible that the vaccines are as safe as possible, over as long a period as possible?
The argument that children are a “vector of transmission” for COVID-19 is also highly questionable. And in any case, even if it was true that they were, don’t we have our social priorities the wrong way round when we expect children to take all the risks, for no benefit to themselves, for the sake of the adults? The petition goes on to note that “giving COVID-19 vaccines to healthy children to protect adults is unethical and unjustifiable. The Government has an ethical duty to act with caution and proportionality”.
It is crucial to raise our voice in defence of our children and this petition is a step in the right direction. We would, however, add the proviso that the petition could go further and question whether it is ever right to vaccinate children for a disease which poses statistically zero risk to them.
The issue is a crucial one for both parents and Parent Power, since schools are likely to be heavily involved in any vaccine rollout to children. Given that, following the Gillick ruling, children aged 13 years old do not necessarily require parental consent for medical treatment, this could be putting them at genuine risk of harm. Parents may not have had chance to provide informed consent but will be left to pick up all the pieces afterwards when things go wrong — in certain cases for a lifetime.
At Parent Power we stand on the principle that parents, not the State, are the ones that need to make such decisions on their child’s behalf, as children are vulnerable and not in a position to provide informed consent for themselves. Decisions about vaccination and other medical interventions can be amongst the most important decisions that a parent will ever make, and they need to be free to make those decisions carefully and conscientiously in the light of all the evidence available to them. They should not be coerced by the State, or vilified by the media for not following their chosen narrative. At Parent Power we stand for the right of parents to protect their children in the way that they know is best.