Two Conservative Party backbenchers shocked Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday, when they demanded to know how many people have died after having a coronavirus vaccine. Hancock, visibly flustered, had no answers.
Hancock was in the House of Commons, explaining why his government wanted to extend the covid emergency powers until October. During his speech he gave way several times to MP’s, as is the custom. I bet he wishes he hadn’t.
He gave way to William Wragg and then immediately to Christopher Chope. Here is the exchange in full, taken from transcript on the government’s website:
Mr William Wragg (Hazel Grove) (Con): My right hon. Friend mentions data on occurrences within the NHS. Does the NHS have data to suggest how many people have, sadly, died from covid in NHS hospitals three weeks after receiving their first dose of a covid vaccine?
Matt Hancock: Yes, the data on the impact of the vaccine—including side effects from the vaccine and the rare occasions when, sadly, people die after having had the vaccine—are published by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. If there are any data in this area that are not published but my hon. Friend would like to be published, he can write to me and I would be very happy to look into publishing them. Essentially, we take an attitude of being as transparent as possible, because there are side effects to the vaccine as there are to all pharmaceutical drugs and we want to be completely open and transparent about those side effects—essentially to reassure people that the risks are extremely low.
Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con): My right hon. Friend answered a question from me on this very subject by saying that the data was not available. I cannot understand why crucial data—such as the number of people who have been vaccinated for more than three weeks, who are then admitted to hospital and subsequently die—is not collected. Why is that?
Matt Hancock: This data has been collated recently; it is in the so-called SIREN study from Public Health England. I am very happy to look into exactly the data that my hon. Friends are looking for and, if we have it, to publish it. I think we have what has been asked for, but let us try to do this by correspondence to ensure that we get exactly what is being looked for. On the face of it, my hon. Friend is absolutely right; it is exactly the sort of thing that we are looking at, but I want to make sure that we get the details right.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Hancock looked stunned. He stuttered and spluttered, which doesn’t come across in the transcript. I’ve watched thousands of hours of statements from hundreds of Secretary’s of State and I have rarely witnessed anything like it.
Two Tory MP’s asked for data on how many people have died after having a vaccine. Chope said that it’s crucial we know. He couldn’t understand why Hancock’s department didn’t have the answers.
Hancock shut it down and told him to communicate with him privately.
I am in no doubt that people are dying as a result of receiving a coronavirus vaccine, but I have no idea as to the scale of it. I do not have the resources of the British press.
Hundreds of journalists witnessed that scene yesterday. Like me, many of them would have gasped. But not a single newspaper covered it this morning.
Update: Here’s the video of the exchange: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcereQc4A-U