NHS GP Dr Helen Westwood, a member of HART, has written a letter to her MP Sir Graham Brady expressing her concerns about the possible Government plans for mandatory vaccination of healthcare workers and others. She previously wrote to him at the end of April and received a reply from Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi that we published on Lockdown Sceptics offering the paper-thin reassurance that the U.K. “currently operates a system of informed consent for vaccinations”. “Why does he need to use the word ‘currently’?” she asked. “Are there plans for mandatory vaccination in future?” There were indeed, and she is not impressed – to the point of calling for Health Secretary Matt Hancock to be shown the door before he does any more damage. Here is her letter in full.
Dear Sir Graham,
I refer to my earlier correspondence dated March 2nd and April 26th regarding the concerns I have about the COVID-19 vaccination program.
I am grateful to you for raising these concerns with the Minister for COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment. Sadly Mr Zahawi seems to be either unwilling or unable to respond to my questions. Perhaps he is just delaying until the vaccine rollout has reached the whole adult population as it is due to imminently.
Mr Zahawi said in his letter to you that “the UK currently operates a system of informed consent for vaccinations”. Clearly the current proposals to make vaccinations compulsory for care home workers and possibly frontline NHS workers is completely counter to this. If a medical intervention is mandated for one group in society why not others? What about visitors to care homes? Delivery drivers? Shop workers? The list will go on and on.
I would like to draw your attention again to Article 6 of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights. It states that “any preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic medical intervention is only to be carried out with the prior, free and informed consent of the person concerned, based on adequate information. The consent should, where appropriate, be express and may be withdrawn by the person concerned at any time and for any reason without disadvantage or prejudice”. If an individual is being coerced into undergoing vaccination, through fear of losing their livelihood, then they are not giving “free and informed consent”. In effect, the person administering the vaccine in such circumstances is committing the criminal offence of Assault and Battery. We know that the pharmaceutical companies have been granted legal indemnity by the Government but what indemnity does the vaccinator have in this situation?
In my opinion to ask anyone to undergo a medical intervention for the benefit of others is profoundly unethical. Population immunity, achieved through high vaccine take-up, is a by-product rather than the primary reason for immunising an individual. This ethical problem is particularly pertinent to the arguments given for rolling the program out to children, but is also relevant to the majority of healthy working-age adults. The mortality risk from COVID-19 in this cohort is lower than that for seasonal influenza. People are being persuaded to have these vaccines to protect society at large. Why is nobody in Government paying attention to the significant morbidity and mortality being reported on the Yellow Card system in relation to the administration of the vaccines? Young healthy people are being exposed to risks, both known and unknown, in taking these vaccines yet have little to gain in terms of personal benefit. Dr Tess Lawrie wrote an open letter to MHRA Chief Executive Dr June Raine saying that “the MHRA now has more than enough evidence on the Yellow Card system to declare the COVID-19 vaccines unsafe for use in humans”. At the very least we should be pausing to review the data before coercing young care home workers into having this vaccine when the results of the phase 3 trials are not yet known or understood.
In my discussions with patients who have undergone vaccination I have come to realise that many are unaware that these vaccines do not yet have full marketing authorisation. Sadly, the vaccine trials have now been compromised by being unblinded and control arm participants being offered the active drug. Given that these vaccines are still in their experimental phase, surely point 1 of the Nuremberg code applies: the voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. How is this in any way compatible with mandatory vaccination?
According to Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister referred to Matt Hancock as “fucking hopeless”. Having heard the Health Secretary say that there is a “material difference” in the duty of care owed by the state to those who have not yet been offered the vaccine compared to those that have not taken up the offer of vaccination, I would go as far as to say he is dangerous and a menace. He is not fit for public office and needs to be removed from his post before he inflicts further harm on the people of this country. The GMC’s Good Medical Practice guidance states that Doctors must “treat patients and colleagues fairly and without discrimination“. I do not think there is an exception to this based on vaccination status. Similarly the NHS constitution says that “the NHS provides a comprehensive service, available to all” and that staff has a “duty not to discriminate against patients or staff and to adhere to…human rights legislation”. With regard to patients it says “you have the right to accept or refuse treatment that is offered to you, and not to be given any…treatment unless you have given valid consent”. Perhaps the Health Secretary ought to familiarise himself with these documents.
Having read my comments you will not be surprised to learn that I still do not intend to take this vaccine currently. I refuse to be bullied into undergoing a medical intervention against my will. It is against everything I would advocate for my patients. With record waiting lists in the NHS it would seem to me to be unwise to risk losing a proportion of the workforce by forging ahead with plans for making COVID-19 vaccination compulsory.
Dr Helen Westwood