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‘Zero Covid’ group accuses Vaccine authority of being ‘anti-vax’ over concerns regarding jabs for children in UK 

A British group of scientists who are still clinging to the idea of “Zero Covid” accused the British vaccine authority of being “anti-vax” because the panel considered letting children develop herd immunity to Covid-19 as the virus poses a “very low risk” to them. 

The Daily Mail reports that “newly-published minutes from JCVI meetings show that the group first looked at whether letting 12 to 15-year-olds catch Covid naturally was better than vaccinating them on May 13. It looked at a range of reasons against vaccinating people in the age group, which included the argument that natural infection might be better and less risky.”

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation – who advise the government on all vaccination matters – advised against immunising healthy children and young teenagers in September, citing concerns regarding heart inflammation.

The JCVI said at the time that they were advising the British government that they were not recommending the widespread vaccination of healthy 12 to 15-year-olds against Covid-19. They said that  “the margin of benefit is considered too small to support universal vaccination of healthy 12- to 15-year-olds at this time”.

The experts also said some of their caution was required because of the “admittedly small ” risk of a rare heart inflammation arising in that age group after receiving Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.  It said it preferred to wait for more information about reports of myocarditis in young people following vaccination in the United States.

JCVI member, Professor Adam Finn, told Sky News at the time that ‘the latest data from paediatric cardiologists in the US shows that there are concerns about the long-term side effects of COVID-19 vaccine for children’.

Now, after minutes from JCVI meetings have been released, the vaccine experts have been described as “anti-vax” by those who want the lockdown to continue. Known as “Zero Covid” advocates, the scientists who formed a group entitled Independent Sage, hit out at the JCVI discussions after the minutes were released.

Those minutes showed the vaccine experts discussing whether allowing the virus to circulate naturally “could give youngsters strong immunity and also protect adults — without the risk of side effects from vaccines,” the Daily Mail said.

In response, Dr Kit Yates, a mathematical biologist at the University of Bath and Independent Sage member, quoted excerpts from the JCVI minutes in a lengthy Twitter thread, writing: ‘Anti-vax or JCVI?’

But Professor Robert Dingwall, a former JCVI member who participated in the discussions, told MailOnline today that it was ‘absurd’ to describe the panel as anti-vax.

He told MailOnline: ‘The JCVI is an eminent group of vaccine scientists, some of the best vaccine scientists in the country, so of course they are pro-vaccination.

‘But they are sensitive to risks, and they recognise all vaccines come with small risks. So the default position is we don’t want to give to anyone any vaccine until we’ve weighed up all the risks and benefits.

‘The JCVI has been keeping the nation safe for 60 years by applying that same reasoning with all vaccines.’

The JCVI is made up of 20 top virologists, epidemiologists, public health experts and behavioural scientists, including Oxford University’s Sir Andrew Pollard, who helped develop the AstraZeneca jab.

Meanwhile, experts warned that the UK should not ‘blindly’ follow the US in vaccinating healthy five-year-olds

Arguments to vaccinate children as young as five against Covid are ‘scientifically weak’, British experts told MailOnline after the US moved closer to jabbing infants.

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