Kent Barker replies to the Comment in 7th April issue of HIP by Paul Barlow.

The debate over vaccines and vaccination is already dangerously polarised and, sadly, Paul Barlow’s comment piece ‘Why Vaccination Matters’ in edition 149 of HIP does little or nothing to bridge that gap.

He is right about one thing when he says: “Vaccination relies on trust and the knowledge that benefits outweigh risks.” But neither his article, nor indeed government action, does anything to increase that trust and knowledge. Mr Barlow blandly states: “While all vaccination procedures show side effects in a minority, these are outweighed by the benefits.” But how can you possibly make that statement or, indeed, make any informed judgement unless you know the statistics? And the problem is we just do not know how many people have an adverse reaction to any given vaccine, or how serious that reaction might be.

What we DO know is that the government has paid out more than £74 million to more than 900 people in vaccine damage compensation since 1978. However, the injuries have to be extremely serious, resulting in a ‘60% disability’. Only a tiny proportion of claims are successful – about 1 in 70. And most of the population is excluded – the scheme is only for people under eighteen and over two years old – even though the government says infants ‘should’ have received a minimum of 22 shots of 9 different vaccines by their second birthday. Furthermore, even the Daily Telegraph reported back in 2006 that “eighteen babies and toddlers have died following childhood vaccinations in just four years,” and this was the ‘safe’ MMR vaccine.

Even vaccine sceptics might agree that the eradication of Smallpox was largely down to vaccination, but Mr Barlow’s contention that Polio numbers are, today, ‘negligible’ is debatable and recent outbreaks of Polio in at least four African countries have been directly linked to viruses originating in the vaccines themselves rather than in the ‘wild’.

Undoubtedly everyone would welcome a safe, fully tested, vaccine to be available to combat Covid-19. But be careful what you wish for. With the growing movement to make vaccination mandatory, and Microsoft’s Bill Gates advocating ‘digital certificates’ to show who has been tested and vaccinated for coronavirus, anyone concerned about basic freedoms and civil liberties needs to remain extremely wary about just what exactly is happening.

Oh, and one more thing, Mr Barlow, please stop using the term ‘anti-vaxxer’ as a pejorative. There are millions who are not against vaccines but who are concerned about the information we are being given and the, frankly extraordinary, propaganda war being waged in support of, in some instances, completely unnecessary and potentially dangerous mass vaccination programmes. If that makes me an anti-vaxxer, then I think it makes you a VDD – a Vaccine Damager Denier.

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