A group of 30 MPs, peers, doctors and scientists – including MPs Miriam Cates, Graham Stringer and Sir Desmond Swayne and scientists Professor Allyson Pollock, Professor David Livermore and Professor Anthony Brookes – have written again to the JCVI calling for the Covid vaccination programme in healthy under-16s to be paused pending further studies, arguing that the evidence the benefits outweigh the risks is lacking.
The group first wrote to the Government vaccine advisory committee in early January to raise their concerns and received a reply on January 20th from Professor Wei Shen Lim, COVID-19 Chair of the JCVI. He disputed the relevance of the recent study showing that myocarditis risk following vaccination in young males is higher than previously thought, and argued the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of Omicron as a milder and vaccine-evading variant are not necessarily decisive as further variants may emerge. He also stated that the JCVI’s advice regarding the primary course of vaccination did not predetermine its advice regarding further ‘booster’ doses – apparently not being concerned about logical coherence, in that recommending boosters when a primary course is not recommended would defy sense.
The authors found this response very inadequate and have now set out in a reply why the JCVI must take seriously the evidence on risk and lack of benefit for this age group. Their letter is published in full below, beneath the letter from Prof. Lim to which they are replying.