Written January 19, 2022 by a "very concerned citizen and mother of a school-aged child in Nova Scotia"
Hon. Michelle Thompson, Minister of Health and Wellness;
Hon. Jeannine Lagassé, Deputy Minister of Health and Wellness;
Dr. Shelley Deeks, Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Chair of NACI;
Hon. Allan MacMaster, Deputy Premier of Nova Scotia;
Hon. Becky Druhan, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development
Dear Dr. Strang, Premier Houston,
I am writing to respond to your November 30th letter to me and other parents of school-aged children in Nova Scotia urging us to vaccinate our children against Covid-19, and to your January 13th letter reminding us to vaccinate our children if eligible, as well as encouraging booster shots. I would like to preface my reply by noting the secrecy that surrounds the development, approval and roll-out of the Pfizer vaccine.
Pfizer’s and the FDA’s Attempted Secrecy:
I would like to draw your attention to a significant and extremely informative presentation 500 Canadian doctors, scientists and healthcare professionals put together. It demonstrates Pfizer’s lack of integrity when conducting the clinical trials and presenting the data. The FDA did not want to release the data it relied on to give ‘Emergency Use Authorization’ to the Pfizer vaccine, and license ‘Cominarty’ (the marketed brand name for the Pfizer vaccine) when a Freedom of Information Act Request was made in the U.S. by lawyer Aaron Siri, representing a group of medical professionals, scientists and journalists. In fact, the FDA asked to have until the year 2076 to release the data. US Judge Mark Pittman ordered 55,000 pages per month to be released starting immediately from the time of judgement. Here is the link to the presentation as well as a link to their fact checking of the fact checkers.
Pfizer is Shielded From Liability if the Vaccine Injures a Child
In your letter sent via email through the Executive Directors of Nova Scotia’s Regional Centres for Education, you urge us all to vaccinate our children ages 5-11 with the Covid-19 vaccine, which was given ‘emergency use authorization’ by the American FDA on October 29, 2021 and ‘interim order authorization’ (Canada’s equivalent) by Health Canada shortly thereafter. Officially the FDA and Health Canada have approved ‘Cominarty’, the marketed brand name for Pfizer. However, these vaccines are not yet available, and all Pfizer vaccines being administered are still under the ‘interim order authorization,’ making them legally distinct from Cominarty. This is important because Pfizer is shielded from liability if a child is injured after vaccination under ‘interim order authorization’. The government has advertised these vaccines as ‘fully approved’, however, only ‘Cominarty’, which has not yet been produced, was approved. This information is clearly stated on Pfizer’s own website - leaving out the liability part of course. There is an article which investigates the reason why these products would be legally distinct, which you might be aware of, Dr. Strang, Premier Houston, however many parents will not be. This gives parents a false sense of security. The pharmaceutical company is not liable for any adverse events children might experience because the emergency ‘interim order authorization’ shields them from this liability. As a mother, this information does not instill confidence when I consider whether or not to vaccinate my child with this novel gene therapy based vaccine (Pfizer’s own description). This is information that you should make clear to the public when you write them a letter encouraging them to vaccinate their children.
Vaccine is Outdated and Not Effective
Your letter states that this vaccine is ‘safe and effective’ and that ‘everyone should take steps to protect themselves, others and reduce the spread of the virus’. In response to these statements, I have a few questions and concerns for you, which other parents might be interested to hear as well.
First of all, Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer said in an interview with ‘Yahoo Finance’ on January 10, 2022 that ‘two vaccine doses offer very limited protection, if any’ against infection or transmission of the Omicron variant, and that they are working on a new vaccine to address this new variant, due out in March. In fact, not only does it not stop transmission or infection, recent early data from Denmark, Iceland and Ontario shows the vaccine has NEGATIVE efficacy against the Omicron variant, suggesting one is more likely to get infected if fully vaccinated. In Iceland, one of the most vaccinated populations in the world, as of January 5, 2021, there has been a 608% increase in the infection rate among the double-vaccinated compared to a 139% increase among the unvaccinated. Why should we vaccinate our children with a vaccine that no longer works to stop infection and transmission - from the mouth of the vaccine maker himself?
If Public Health and the government continue to tout the vaccine as the only antidote to the Covid-19 pandemic, it looks like we will be taking these vaccines indefinitely. This seems to be Prime Minister Trudeau’s strategy, having spent billions of tax-payer dollars on boosters and vaccine passports for a vaccine that is now outdated.
The Government has Failed to Give Prevention and Treatment Advice
What about treatment, so the population doesn’t have to be kept in a constant state of fear? Multiple jurisdictions around the world have adopted proven early treatments against Covid-19 to prevent people from getting so sick that they require hospitalization, including Japan, Mexico, Bangladesh, Venezuela, and parts of India. I will leave the wide range of early treatments that our government will not promote for another letter.
Knowing that other jurisdictions are providing early treatment, I have wondered why Public Health has not yet offered advice about how to prevent infection therapeutically (apart from under-tested vaccines, masks and social distancing) or how to treat oneself, if infected, to avoid hospitalization. An ‘added layer of protection’ would surely be to recommend that everyone do regular exercise, get outside for sunlight and fresh air, eat healthy whole foods (obesity is widely known as one of the main co-morbidities for a severe outcome if infected with SARS CoV-2. Sadly, almost 80% of hospitalized Covid-19 patients in the US were obese), and to boost your immune system with vitamin D, vitamin C and zinc. Countless studies show their benefits to your immune system’s ability to fight respiratory viruses successfully. There is a clear link between deficiency in vitamin D and many of those who were hospitalized or died from Covid-19. Could this not be ‘an added layer of protection’ that Public Health could recommend for children, and even adults?
Children with Natural Immunity Will Not Benefit from Vaccination
Many children have natural immunity to Covid-19, so do not need to be vaccinated against the virus. 146 studies show that naturally acquired immunity, including asymptomatic infection, is longer lasting, broader and more robust than vaccine-induced immunity. Studies have shown that people who have had a previous Covid infection who subsequently receive a Covid vaccine are more likely to experience adverse events. Have you told parents this? Are you checking each child’s antibodies before vaccinating them to ensure their risk of adverse events isn’t higher?
Vaccine Safety Unknown
Dr. Strang and Premier Houston, you have said repeatedly that the vaccine is ‘safe and effective’ for children, despite the fact that Pfizer and Canada’s National Advisory Council for Immunization (NACI) have admitted the long-term risks of the vaccine for children are unknown.
Given that this mRNA vaccine was produced within one year, initially only tested on adults, and that if infected with the virus, the vast majority of children either experienced no symptoms or mild symptoms, I was surprised that your letter did not provide additional information to parents about why our children need to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and what evidence there is to show that it is ‘safe and effective’ for our children. Typically vaccines are tested for a minimum of 3 to 4 years before being declared ‘safe and effective’, so it is reasonable that parents would expect more information when the only Pfizer vaccine clinical trial that was conducted on children ages 5-11 lasted for 2 months before population roll out. The phase 3 clinical trials are ongoing. If we vaccinate our children now, we should be informed by Public Health that we are entering them in an experimental clinical trial.
This 2 month long clinical trial, before population roll-out, included only 1518 children receiving the vaccine versus 750 receiving a placebo. NACI points out that if there is an adverse event that occurs less frequently than 1 in 1000 children, this trial would not have detected it. Adverse events that have been well-documented in adults include: stroke, heart attack, myocarditis, pericarditis, Bell’s Palsy, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, the list goes on - all of which have occurred in children ages 12-17 too. In fact, a 12-year-old girl in the 12-15 year old clinical trial, Maddie De Garay, was hospitalized within 24 hours post-vaccination and is now wheelchair-bound and eats through a feeding tube. We don’t know enough yet to say how frequently serious adverse events will occur in children ages 5-11.
We know that healthy teenagers who have received the Moderna vaccine have a 1:5000 chance of developing myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle- the heart tissue cannot re-generate itself which leads to reduced capacity of the heart as a child matures, particularly worrying for aspiring athletes), 1:10,000 for the Pfizer vaccine. In fact, Health Canada has withdrawn its recommendation that teenagers and young adults receive the Moderna vaccine due to the very high risk of getting myocarditis, especially in males. A more recent study shows that US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) estimates of myo-pericarditis in young males is underestimated by a large margin. The use of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine was halted in Canada (as it was in numerous other countries) after it was discovered that 1:58,000 people over the age of 80 suffered from thrombosis due to the vaccine.
Many more adverse events are occurring in adults and are emerging in children as more children are being vaccinated. One only needs to look it up in the American Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) - the only system which allows doctors and families to directly report adverse events as they occur as opposed to the Canadian system, whereby Public Health ‘gate-keeps’ doctors’ reports of adverse events before they are deemed an adverse event and reported to the public. There is also a delay in reporting due to this system’s drawn out process, which does not allow parents to assess the risk of vaccination in real time. This is a new vaccine and the side effects which are emerging as we speak should be able to be monitored virtually immediately, not reported weeks or months later when parents are trying to make decisions today, as you urge. Details of the 15 serious and 88 non-serious adverse events Canadian children ages 5-11 have experienced are not available on Canada’s reporting system, CAEFISS. A list of possible side effects for children include: seizures, gait disturbance, appendicitis, myocarditis, pericarditis, temporary blindness and deafness etc.
During an 8 hour FDA meeting in October 2021, during which scientists and doctors met to discuss whether or not they should give emergency use authorization of this vaccine for children, with numerous expert speakers raised concerns and questioned the need to vaccinate low-risk children taking into account the potential safety risks. Dr. Rubin of the New England Journal for Medicine responded that ‘we will never know how safe the vaccine is for kids if we don’t start giving it. That’s just how it goes’. How is this an acceptable standard for ensuring that our children are being vaccinated using a safe vaccine? He clearly acknowledges that we do not know if the vaccine is safe for our children. As a mother, this is an unacceptable standard of safety - essentially no standard of safety for a population roll-out to young healthy children. Do you think parents should accept this casual approach to rolling out an experimental vaccine only authorized for emergency use/interim order with which to vaccinate their children against a virus that poses virtually no threat to them?
The Covid-19 vaccine is not comparable to other vaccines that children routinely take. Unlike the MMR, flu, and polio shots, which expose a person to the virus itself in a killed or attenuated form, the mRNA vaccine exposes a person to an artificially-made genetic messenger that enters the cells and directs them to make part of the virus (the spike protein), triggering specific antibodies to exclusively and narrowly target that specific protein. This is a novel technique that has not been in use in humans for sufficient time to assess its long-term safety.
NACI Full Report on the Vaccine for Kids is Not a Ringing Endorsement
In your letter, you include a link to NACI’s summary of their full report on the Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. The full report provides much more information than what is contained in your letter, which parents would likely be interested to know before consenting. NACI states: ‘Given the short-term uncertainties surrounding paediatric vaccination at this time, children and their parents or guardians should be supported and respected in their decisions regarding COVID-19 vaccinations for the child, whatever decisions they make, and should not be stigmatized for accepting, or not accepting, the vaccination offer.’ This is not exactly a ringing endorsement that EVERY child should be given this Covid-19 vaccine. NACI has not given a ‘strong recommendation’ that children be given this vaccine, like they have for other vaccines.
NACI only gives a discretionary recommendation, meaning that the the vaccine ‘may be’ not ‘should be’ offered due to ‘uncertainty in the evidence of advantages and disadvantages’. ‘A discretionary recommendation may be offered for some populations/individuals in some circumstances. Alternative approaches may be reasonable.’ This is certainly not the way you, Dr. Strang, have represented NACI’s recommendation to Nova Scotian parents.
Covid-19 is Not Dangerous to the Vast Majority of Children
In their full report NACI states that healthy Canadian children are at a statistical risk of zero of experiencing severe disease from Covid-19. Omicron is milder than the previous variants on which this data is based. In a recent CTV interview, Dr. Martha Fulford of the McMaster Children’s Hospital, Infectious Disease Specialist, confirms that omicron is mild in every jurisdiction - where vaccination rates are both high and low, as well that children do not readily spread the virus. Many children experience mild symptoms (runny nose, sore throat) or no symptoms at all. The average healthy child’s innate immune system is extremely effective at fighting this virus. If our children’s natural immune systems are able to produce antibodies against the virus, most resulting in either no symptoms or only cold-like symptoms, why does every child need this vaccine? What protection does it offer them that their natural immune systems cannot provide? The data shows there is barely any added protection.
Less than 0.3% of Canadian children infected with SARS-CoV-2 were hospitalized, but most had serious co-morbidities such as severe neurological disease, cancer, or lung disease. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has quietly reported that only one-third of paediatric hospitalizations were due to Covid-related illness. The other two-thirds went to the hospital for an unrelated issue and happened to test positive for Covid during routine screening.
Only 0.002% of children who have tested positive for Covid have died in Canada, but all likely had severe or multiple co-morbidities. The PHAC will not publish these children’s underlying medical conditions for ‘privacy’ reasons, but it stands to reason that if these children were completely healthy previous to their infection, this would be made very clear to the public. The recent tragic deaths of 2 children in Ontario, who had tested positive for Covid, do not have a confirmed cause of death. All the media knows is that they were Covid-related deaths because they had tested positive for the virus.
Unethical to Vaccinate Children to Protect Adults
Outbreaks in long-term care homes now make the news almost daily in Nova Scotia. These are places where most residents and staff are not only fully vaccinated, but have also taken a booster at Public Health’s urgent request. Fully vaccinated adults now comprise the majority of current positive Covid-19 cases in Ontario. As of January 13, 2022, 1326 are unvaccinated and 7,753 are fully vaccinated or have had a booster. There are also more fully vaccinated people in hospital and in the ICU than unvaccinated. I use this data as Nova Scotia is not providing data on vaccine status for current positive covid-19 cases or ICU admissions when reporting to the public, only cumulative cases since March before many people were vaccinated. This data clearly shows that this vaccine does not stop infection or transmission of SARS-Co-V 2. This is often cited as a good reason to vaccinate our children - to ‘stop the spread’. What is the benefit of recommending children take a vaccine that will not prevent them from transmitting the virus if infected?
Even if the vaccine stopped infection and transmission, it would be unethical and not justifiable (as stated in the NACI report) to use healthy children as shields to protect the elderly or more vulnerable from Covid-19.
The UK, Germany, France Will Not Recommend this Vaccine for Healthy Children
The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation (JCVI) will not recommend the Covid vaccine for healthy children ages 5-11, unless they are in a ‘high risk’ category with serious underlying medical conditions. In fact, one of the JCVI's medical experts reminds us that children are less infectious than adults and their risk from covid-19 is vanishingly low, so we should not vaccinate them.
Germany’s Immunization advisory panel (STIKO) also only recommends that children 5-11 who have serious underlying medical conditions receive this vaccine. They will not recommend it for healthy children. The same is true for France.
Absolute vs Relative Risk Reduction
In the Pfizer clinical trial, the placebo group - those who did not receive the vaccine - had no instances of severe disease. 16 of 750 (2.1%) children who were in the placebo group and 3 of 1518 (0.19%) in the vaccinated group had confirmed symptomatic cases of Covid-19. The report provides the ‘relative risk reduction’ of infection (90%) rather than the absolute risk reduction, which is only 1.9%. The relative risk reduction is the difference between the 2.1% infection rate of the placebo group and 0.19% infection rate of the vaccinated group. The absolute risk reduction, which tells you what your overall risk reduction is of infection, is only 1.9%.
By vaccinating children, their absolute risk of infection is only reduced by 1.9%. ‘Omitting absolute risk reductions in public health and clinical reports of vaccine efficacy ignores unfavourable outcomes and misleads the public’s impression and scientific understanding of a treatment’s efficacy and benefits.’ This is what the the FDA’s “Evidence-based User Guide” for communicating risks and benefits says, “Provide absolute risks, not just relative risks. Patients are unduly influenced when risk information is presented using a relative risk approach; this can result in sub-optimal decisions. Thus, an absolute risk format should be used.” To reiterate, Pfizer’s vaccine after 2 months was shown to reduce a child’s absolute risk of infection by 1.9%. Is this small benefit to children worth the known and unknown risks of the vaccine?
Lack of Informed Consent
In the interest of informed consent, I have decided to write you this open letter so that other parents might be given an opportunity to consider the full picture of what you are urging us all to do. Informed consent - a fundamental medical principle - requires that people be informed of the risks and benefits of taking a medical treatment without any threat of reprisal or coercion. Your government has clearly ignored this bio-ethical principle by deciding that children ages 12-17 are not permitted to, for example, play sports or participate in music without taking this vaccine - a shocking example of coercion of teenagers and their parents who desperately want their children’s lives to return to normal. When a decision is made through state coercion, the consent is not legitimate or informed as it is not made freely.
Dr. Strang, Premier Houston, given that it is widely known that Covid-19 is less of a threat to children than influenza or RSV, that we do not know any long term risks of taking the vaccine, do know there is risk of serious adverse events from taking the vaccine, and that this vaccine does not stop transmission or infection of the virus, why are you urging parents to vaccinate their young healthy children? What is the clinical benefit to these healthy children?
I would urge you as well as any other parent considering inoculating their child with the first or second dose of this vaccine, to listen to CCCA's analysis of Pfizer’s vaccine clinical trial safety data so that they are truly informed before consenting on behalf of their child to receiving this novel vaccine. I would hope, Dr. Strang and Premier Houston, that after reading my letter and watching the CCCA's presentation that you would think again about recommending every healthy Nova Scotian child receive this vaccine. Questions now need to be asked and answers demanded. Blind obedience to an ever-changing narrative in the name of ‘public health’ does little to reassure parents of the utility of a vaccine that is, at best, marginally beneficial to some (but not all) children and is, at worst, dangerous for some and currently obsolete.
Very concerned citizen and mother of a school-aged child in Nova Scotia