Miri AF

Massive missives and more

GUEST POST FROM JOANNE ALLMAN: OPEN LETTER TO ALL LABOUR MPs ON CRIMINALISING "ANTI-VACCINE" VIEWS

For the attention of all Labour MPs


I am very concerned about reports in the media over the weekend that shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens and shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth have written to the government calling for financial and criminal penalties for social media companies that fail to censor posts promoting ‘anti-vaccination content’.


I would like to know who the Labour Party believes should determine what kind of content qualifies as ‘anti-vaccination’, and what criteria would be used to identify such content. The threat of financial and criminal penalties may well induce social media companies to err on the side of expunging any criticism of the vaccine. Surely this could have very dangerous consequences?


Do you believe any of the following types of content should be censored?


  1. Post stating that the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines, which will use completely new, experimental technology, and that no mRNA vaccines have ever been approved for use in humans.
  2. Post stating that the COVID-19 vaccines have been rushed, and that vaccine development usually takes up to ten years, compared with a few months for these vaccines.
  3. Post stating that the last time a vaccine for a supposed pandemic (swine flu) was 'fast-tracked' (aka rushed), it caused lifelong brain damage in hundreds of people, mostly children.
  4. Post stating that COVID-19 vaccines carry a risk of ‘antibody dependent enhancement’, which means that recipients may develop more severe disease than if they hadn’t been vaccinated, as was the case with the dengue vaccine which was linked to the deaths of hundreds of children in the Philippines in 2019.
  5. Post stating that the MHRA is currently advertising a contract worth £1.5 million for "an Artificial Intelligence software tool to process the expected high volume of Covid-19 vaccine Adverse Drug Reactions".
  6. Post stating that the vaccine is likely to be unlicensed, in line with the government's recent amendment to the Human Medicine Regulations.
  7. Post stating that the manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies will have immunity from prosecution if things go wrong.
  8. Post stating that the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program in the USA has awarded over $4 billion in compensation since its inception.
  9. Articles by medical doctors and researchers raising concerns about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  10. Articles sharing the experiences of people who have suffered vaccine injury.

If you believe any such content should be censored, can you explain why? If you believe it shouldn’t be censored, would you be confident that social media companies would not delete it anyway, in order to be sure of avoiding potential criminal or financial penalties?


The government response to COVID-19 has already resulted in the removal of our freedoms of association, movement and assembly. I am horrified that the Labour Party is now calling for restrictions on one of our most fundamental human rights, the freedom of expression. Public health considerations are no justification for placing limits on discussion and debate. The fact that the health of millions is at stake is a reason for greater scrutiny, not less.


There should be no sacred cows in health care. All medical interventions, including vaccines, carry risks, and it is vitally important that people are made fully aware of the risks, as well as the benefits, of this new vaccine. Is this possible in a climate where debate is closed down, dissent is muzzled and differences of opinion are silenced?


Ultimately, censorship of safety concerns relating to the new vaccine could potentially contravene not only our freedom of expression, but also that most basic of human rights, the right to bodily autonomy. With regard to medical procedures such as vaccination, there can be no bodily autonomy without fully informed consent. Censorship of frank and open public discussion of safety issues may mean that recipients of the vaccine base their consent on partial, inadequate information, in breach of Article Six of UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights:


“Any preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic medical intervention is only to be carried out with the prior, free and informed consent of the person concerned, based on adequate information…” (my emphasis)


I hope that the Labour Party will reconsider and retract its exhortation to the government to impose yet more repressive restrictions on our fundamental freedoms.


Yours faithfully,


Joanne Allman


-------------------


Follow Joanne on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/canutes_lesson