Vaccine Passports – submit your view

Following over 300,000 signatures against vaccine passports in the UK the issue was debated last week in parliament and the vast majority of MPs that expressed opinions were opposed to it. The government is now calling for ‘evidence’, or reasons for and against a covid certificate status. I’ve responded, and so can you to the government consultation.  The closing date is 29th March.

Here’s my response:

A covid-status certification scheme is based on various assumptions:

  1. That vaccinations a) reduce transmissibility; b) reduce hospitalisation and death from coronavirus infection; c) are safe; and d) are the only means to achieve less transmissability. Point (a) (b) (c) is not yet clear from the science across all age groups. Point (c), especially, is along way off with Phase 4 surveillance studies in their infancy. Concerns for different vaccines potentially inducing either worse outcomes on reinfection or stimulating new variants through viral adaptation, let alone clarity on adverse effects, are big unknowns at this time. Until vaccines are licensed medicines we should not even be considering this. Even after clearing licensing, the last ’swine flu’ vaccine Pandemrix, took years before it was established to cause narcolepsy. Litigation cases are ongoing. The idea of insisting on something that has not yet cleared these basic science questions is far too premature. We need unequivocal answers to these questions, published in peer-reviewed journals. Until a question such as ‘how many days can a vaccinated person transmit infection’ have concrete answers, it is much too premature to talk of vaccination being a criteria for a ‘vaccine passport’.
  2. That PCR tests are accurate. We need an unequivocal answer to this question, published in peer-reviewed journals. We would need a means of testing that takes minutes not days, ideally at the point of ‘entry’ eg a country or event.
  3. That there is a means to establish if a person has acquired protective immunity through infection. There is not. IgG antibody tests can be negative, while T-cell memory has occurred. T-cell memory tests being used in research are not yet commercially available, let alone established as accurate. ‘Herd’ immunity, which is a goal of mass vaccination, is normally achieved in flu strains by enough people having been infected and acquiring immunity, not vaccination. Estimates of what percentage have acquired immunity range from 14 to 50%. Until there is an accurate means to test for protective immunity this question is impossible to answer concretely. If a person has had symptomatic covid-19 infection what is their status? Do they get a certificate? I had symptomatic infection but did not test IgG positive. What is my status?
  4. There is no other means to reduce risk of transmissibility or severe infection leading to increased death risk. This is not true, although has been completely ignored by UK government, NERVTAG, NICE, SACN, PHE and DHSC. The evidence for vitamin C and D reducing risk and severity of infection, and mortality is strong and growing every month. This paper details studies up to end of November. There are six covid-specific published peer-reviewed studies since, two showing 50-80% less mortality, which is at least as good as the reduction in hospital mortality being reported in a recent vaccination study for the over 80 age group. This evidence is being completely ignored.

It is clear that unhealthy people, with comorbidities, form the vast majority of those who have died. Should healthy people, with none of these ‘risk factors’ achieve certification? They are less likely to become symptomatically infected. If asymptomatically infected, which appears to be a large proportion of those exposed to SARS CoV-2, how many days can they infect others compared to an infected vaccinated person? If someone has good vitamin D status (blood level above 75nmol/l), takes vitamin C daily and knows to take 6-8g on infection and self-isolate they MAY be less likely to transmit infection than a vaccinated person. This needs to be explored. There are no such prevention studies commissioned in the UK.

If one can PCR test why not vitamin C and D test? The former can be done with a urine stick. The latter with a pinprick blood test. The UK NHS ‘big data’ bank already have the vitamin D levels of probably over 1 million people yet have not analysed and published this data to elucidate the correlation between vitamin D status and COVID-19 infection. Why not? Last week there were over 9 million PCR tests performed. Mass testing is clearly doable. If having a vitamin D level above 75nmol/l is a requirement for entering a country due to reducing risk of infection and infecting others that would be a strong motive for people to get optimally nourished with this essential immune-supporting nutrient. Why does UK government completely ignore such means of supporting innate immunity, which is the body’s first line of defence against any virus and variant?

5. That COVID-19 is a potentially fatal infection. If COVID-19 hospital treatment were effective, matching that seen in China, where intravenous vitamin C is standard treatment, or in the FLCCC group of ICUs, posting mortality of 5-8% compared to the UK’s ICU’s current mortality average of 37%, then COVID-19 would be no more fatal than any flu. The best standard of treatment suggests that no-one without both an end-stage disease, and not over 85, need die from this infection. Why are we not following best practice guidelines in the UK?

Flu vaccine passports, surely, aren’t being considered. Flu vaccine effectiveness is highly variable year on year and does induce a percentage of serious adverse effects. Many people who choose not to have a flu vaccine do so due to debilitating adverse reactions to previous flu vaccines. People do, and should, have a right to choose without punishment by means of restrictions. It is likely that SARS-CoV2 vaccines may, like flu vaccines, have variable effectiveness depending on the variants in circulation. Next winter’s variants may render today’s vaccines substantially less effective. Therefore, SARS-CoV2 vaccines will need to evolve. Some people may choose not to have an annual SARS-CoV2 vaccine due to debilitating adverse reactions to the first. This is understandable. These people may be at more risk of harm. Should they be restricted?

UK government have repeatedly said there would be NO restrictions of any kind on those who choose not to get vaccinated. That this is not the way we do things in the UK. We protect and respect individual choice. But a covid-status certification scheme does exactly that, be it for restricting travel, employment, entry to public spaces etc. Therefore, there is a very large ethical question here, even if the above scientific questions had been answered, which they have not.

Yours sincerely,