A new legal challenge has been launched against the UK Government in an attempt to put an immediate end to the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine to children and teenagers, after a Judge refused the Claimants’ application for permission for judicial review of Covid-19 vaccination of children.
On September 28th 2021, the Administrative Court in London adjourned a case against the Government on the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine to children, instructing the Government to submit evidence to the court by October 11th 2021 justifying Covid-19 vaccination of children.
However, having considered the matter on all documents, statements and submissions filed, The Honourable Mr Justice Jay refused the Claimants’ application for permission for judicial review of government’s roll out of the vaccines to 12 to 17 year-olds.
As is standard process in this type of case, the Claimants have therefore renewed the application, the effect of which is the matter will be considered by a different Judge with benefit of oral argument from the parties’ barristers.
The reasons for the refusal are short, but the Judge effectively decided that the Claimants are simply trying to present an alternative expert view to those of the government advisors whereas they have to show the advice received or government’s decision on it was irrational.
The four Chief Medical Officers for the United Kingdom relied on a modelled predicted saving of 110,000 days of school absence between approximately 2.7 million pupils, and a supposed consequent avoidance of mental ill-health and disruption to education, as justification to overrule the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s decision to not recommend the jab was rolled-out to children.
But fundamental points not addressed in the judgment include:
a) how any rational assessment of the benefit of avoiding X days of absences from school could expressly exclude consideration of an assessment of the likely absences caused by vaccine adverse effects and/or administration of the vaccination programme itself.
b) how any rational assessment of a purported risk to mental health caused by absence resulting from Covid-19 (known to be almost always of short duration for children because of mild symptoms) could be made without any evidence as to the extent and seriousness of any such risk or of the assessment of such risk.
c) how any rational assessment of benefit versus risk (i.e. the benefit of avoiding X days school absences, as modelled, versus the risks of Vaccine adverse effects causing quantifiable X days school absences as well as of known physical harms to children as expressly recognised by the JCVI) -which is the required balancing exercise required in order to consider administration of any medical treatment – could be made by the CMOs or the Defendant without taking the risks-side of that equation into account, either at all or in any measured way, so as to arrive at a conclusion that benefit outweighed the risks; and in particular
i) how the CMOs or the Defendant could arrive at that conclusion in the absence of any new data contradicting the JCVI’s earlier assessment that the risk of harms to children were serious and with long-term unknown sequelae, notably from heart inflammation, and that more data was required;
ii) how the CMOs’ and Defendant could rationally assess the benefit they identified (avoiding X days’ school absence) as outweighing the risks (unknown future harms) identified by the JCVI, the expert body advising the government on vaccine safety and causing it to recommend against mass vaccination of healthy 12-15 year olds;
iii) why the CMOs (and the Defendant) did not assess the benefit of avoiding X days school absences in light of the CMOs’ own knowledge that the level of natural immunity in children from prior infection is about 50%, which level is substantially higher that the level used in the Warwick university modelling study on which the CMOs relied in assessing the potential benefit of the Vaccines in avoiding school absences.
iv) why the CMOs and the Defendant did not assess the benefit and risks of other solutions to the health impact of school absences, such as, for example, changing the policy of causing absence through the mass testing and isolation of healthy children, as alternatives to conducting a mass vaccination programme of healthy children (such an alternative would result in a risk to children no greater than Sars-COV-2 itself, which is a negligible risk, but would avoid all the risks of adverse effects of the Vaccines).
The effect of this policy is a factor which should reasonably be taken into account in considering why children have suffered mental ill health because of school absences imposed by it. A few days’ absence from school for children because of a head cold has not previously been regarded as a cause of mental ill health. Repeated and lengthy mass enforced absences inflicted by government policy might well be.
Further, the judgment does not identify the evidence by which the learned judge made an assessment that the Defendant has taken relevant matters into consideration and that he did so proportionately, save as to say that it is broadly in the evidence provided by the Defendant’s witness statements.
Further, where the judgment refers to ‘good evidence’ that the vaccine reduces infection and transmissibility, it does not identify the source of that good evidence (whether by reference to the Defendant’s witness statements or otherwise), nor does it indicate how the learned judge has been able to assess the evidence as ‘good’.
Nor does the judgment indicate whether or how the Defendant made any reasonable assessment of the degree to which the Vaccines reduce transmission of Sar-COV-2 when assessing the presumed benefits of vaccination. Underestimating the level of prior infection by about half renders reliance on the CMOs’ (and therefore the Defendant’s) calculation of benefit unsafe and should be enough to disturb the reasonableness of their reliance on that calculation of benefit.
Add to that an unreasonable assessment of effect of the Vaccines on transmission, for example because that assessment relies on measures of effectiveness against Alpha not Delta, (which is accepted to be by far the predominant variant in the UK) ought to put the matter beyond question: the estimate of benefit in avoiding X days of school absences is intrinsically unreliable and there is therefore no real benefit on any basis for a mass vaccination programme of healthy 12-15 year olds.
The learned judge has effectively given the benefit of no doubt to the Defendant’s witnesses, apparently assuming that what they say can be taken at face value as statements of the facts that were relied on. However, this ignores the serious and substantial issues raised in the Claimants’ Reply Submissions pointing to demonstrable inaccuracies in that evidence, as well as evidence and submissions brought to the Court’s attention that the Defendant has failed to take account of material pieces of evidence.
The Defendant’s position, and the qualifications of those people advising him, are not sufficient reason to favour their evidence in such way, certainly not in the face of the failure to disclose key reports relied upon in their decision making and credible evidence presented by the Claimants which may prove their assertions to be wrong.
The Claimants have asked for the next hearing to be at earliest opportunity having regard to the nature of the decision being challenged and the fundamental concern raised within the claim that the safety of many children is at risk, as appears to be being reflected by a concerning number of reports of sudden and unusual onset of serious illness and clotting events following vaccination.
Data published by the Office for National Statistics also shows that deaths among children have increased by 62% against teh five-year-average since Chris Whitty overruled the JCVI and advised the Government to roll-out the Pfizer vaccine to children. Worryingly, the data also shows that there has been an 83% rise in deaths of male children.
We will provide a further update on the request for a new hearing once it has been confirmed.
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