The Truth About Pandemic Policy and Politics

For those who want to know why UK government pandemic skewed so far away from the actual science on the vaccines, face masks and risks vs benefits of lockdown, two highly significant events sum it up well.

The first was the call by Andrew Bridgen MP in the House of Commons to suspend all mRNA vaccines on the grounds of safety. He makes the case well, based on the published, peer-review science of both the vaccine-makers themselves, and cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, initially pro-mass vaccination. You can view his petition here. While I was aware of every piece of science he referred to, his speech is very well put together so is a great way to get up to date.

The next insight, again coming very much from the ‘pro’ camp, relates to the journalist and co-author of Matt Hancock’s Pandemic Diaries, Isabel Oakeshot, writing in the Spectactor, which you can read here. She describes ‘The crusade to vaccinate the entire population against a disease with a low mortality rate among all but the very elderly, is one of the most extraordinary cases of mission creep in political history.’

On 3 January 2021, Hancock, the the Health Secretary, told The Spectator that once priority groups had been jabbed (13 million doses) then ‘Cry freedom’. Then he about turned.

“Instead, the government proceeded to attempt to vaccinate everyone, including children, and there was no freedom for another seven months. Sadly, we now know some young people died as a result of adverse reactions to a jab they never needed. Meanwhile experts have linked this month’s deadly outbreak of Strep A in young children to the weakening of their immune systems because they were prevented from socialising. Who knows what other long-term health consequences of the policy may emerge?” says Oakeshot.

Hancock became the advocate for mass vaccination. “He is adamant that he never cut corners on safety, though the tone of his internal communications suggest that in his hurtling rush to win the global race for a vaccine, he personally would have been willing to take bigger risks. I believe he would have justified any casualties as sacrifices necessary for the greater good. Fortunately (in my view) his enthusiasm was constrained by medical and scientific advisers, and by the vaccine tsar Kate Bingham, who was so alarmed by his haste that at one point she warned him that he might ‘kill people’. She never thought it was necessary to jab everyone and repeatedly sought to prevent Hancock from over-ordering. Once he had far more than was needed for the initial target group of elderly and clinically vulnerable patients, he seems to have felt compelled to use it. Setting ever more ambitious vaccination rollout targets was a useful political device, creating an easily understood schedule for easing lockdown and allowing the government to play for time amid the threat of new variants. The strategy gave the Conservatives a big bounce in the polls, which only encouraged the party leadership to go further.”

Anyone who disagreed was shut down. “As early as January 2020, Hancock reveals that his special adviser was speaking to Twitter about ‘tweaking their algorithms’. Later he personally texted his old coalition colleague Nick Clegg, now a big cheese at Facebook, to enlist his help. The former Lib Dem deputy prime minister was happy to oblige.Such was the fear of ‘anti-vaxxers’ that the Cabinet Office used a team hitherto dedicated to tackling Isis propaganda to curb their influence. The zero-tolerance approach extended to dissenting doctors and academics.” The eminent scientists behind the so-called Barrington Declaration, which argued that public health efforts should focus on protecting the most vulnerable while allowing the general population to build up natural immunity to the virus, were widely vilified: Hancock genuinely considered their views a threat to public health.” she says in the Spectator.

“In late September 2020, Hancock was horrified to discover that one of the architects of the Declaration, the Oxford epidemiologist Professor Sunetra Gupta, and Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the University of Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, had been into Downing Street to see the prime minister. Anders Tegnell, who ran Sweden’s light-touch approach to the pandemic, attended the same meeting. Hancock did not want them anywhere near Johnson, labelling their views ‘absurd’.”

With each booster the evidence for benefit becomes less and the evidence of both immediate and long-term harm grows. Yet, despite this, children aged 5 and over are now being encouraged to get vaccinated. The campaign continues.