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Feature Medicine and the Media

Why did a German newspaper insist the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine was inefficacious for older people—without evidence?

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: (Published 12 February 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n414

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Rapid Response:

Re: What value the evidence from child trials?

Dear Editor

I am in absolute agreement with Janet Menage [1] but the other side of the coin is that if the trial was against saline placebo it would not be double blinded [2], so either way it might be hard to validate. I am also curious how we would judge the trial to be effective given that children are mostly not susceptible to the disease - and is there not a risk that the “placebo” will make the children more vulnerable to the disease? Nor am I sure what the benefit to the child is. I wonder if those proposing the trial have a better idea?

[1] Janet Menage, ‘Re: What value the evidence from child trials?’, 18 February 2021,

[2] John Stone, ‘ Is it possible to conduct a double-blind placebo vaccine study in humans?’, 28 December 2020,

Competing interests:, an on-line daily journal, concerns itself with the potential environmental sources for the proliferation of autism, neurological impairment, immune dysfunction and chronic disease. I receive no payment as UK Editor. I also moderate comments for the on-line journal ‘The Defender’ for which I am paid.

18 February 2021
John Stone
UK Editor
London N22