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Analysis Covid Inquiry

Understanding and neutralising covid-19 misinformation and disinformation

BMJ 2022; 379 doi: (Published 22 November 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;379:e070331

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Rapid Response:

Re: Understanding and neutralising covid-19 misinformation and disinformation

Dear Editor,

I was shocked to read Dr Wang's article, which seems to be calling for censorship and an end to scientific discourse. As the lead author of a series of letters to the MHRA, the JCVI, the CMOs and the GMC regarding covid-19 vaccines for children, I was particularly disturbed to find that the authors class all this as ‘misinformation’. The colleagues who have signed these letters come from all specialities and all corners of the UK.

I have emailed Dr Wang to enquire whether she has read any of our publications. The latest letter to the last Prime Minster [1] provides links to all the previous letters, dating back to May 2021 prior to the conditional marketing authorisation for children, with numerous references from high impact journals. It would be very helpful if the authors could look through these and provide details of any statements they disagree with. Certainly, the last thing I would wish would be to put any child at risk with incorrect interpretation of scientific information.

It is very clear from minutes of the JCVI meetings in summer 2021 [2][3] that some of their members shared our concerns, particularly about the lack of follow-up information on adolescents with post-vaccine myocarditis. Shamez Ladhani from UKHSA has also expressed doubts.[4] The Director of the Danish National Board of Health recently went on record to say that if he had known last year what he knows now, he would not have recommended vaccinating children.[5]

Incidentally, as far as I know, I am the only link between UsForThem and HART. I worked with UsForThem as a grandparent volunteer during the initial school closures prior to being invited to join HART in my capacity as a retired consultant paediatrician. Hardly a conspiracy. Perhaps their researcher and journalist could have made a simple phone call or email to clarify this, rather than relying on the ByLine Times for evidence. Also using the label 'anti-vax' to shut down discussion is not in the best interests of the open scientific debate normally championed in the pages of the BMJ. Having spent my entire career recommending vaccination to all my patients, I find the label particularly misleading.

It is good to see that the BMJ is still prepared to publish questions raised around the potential risks of mRNA vaccines or indeed the wisdom of rolling out a drug to millions of healthy children world-wide before completing basic safety investigations.

[5] (translated from Danish)

Competing interests: Convenor of the Children's Covid Vaccines Advisory Council. This group of over a hundred experienced health professionals and academics came together in 2021, to collate evidence on the risks and benefits of covid-19 vaccines for healthy children. We have no funding, working entirely in our own time. Our opinions do not necessarily represent those of our employing institutions.

28 November 2022
Dr Rosamond AK Jones
retired Consultant Paediatrician
Health Advisory & Recovery Team