Experts defend Covid-19 vaccines as MP Bridgen stripped of whip

Scientific experts have defended Covid-19 vaccines after MP Andrew Bridgen appeared to compare their impact with the Holocaust.

North West Leicestershire MP Mr Bridgen had the Tory whip removed over a tweet saying a consultant cardiologist had described the mass vaccination effort as “the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust”.

He said “the ‘vaccines’ are causing serious harms” and called for their use to be suspended until an independent inquiry is held.

But Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, who helped develop the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, and Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, both said the benefits outweighed the risks.

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Sir Andrew said: “It is essential, as part of the scientific process, that hypotheses on vaccine safety and efficacy are tested rigorously in clinical trials, and the data subjected to challenge by investigators and independent experts, and undergoes painstakingly detailed regulatory review, to ensure that we always base vaccine policy decisions on the very best scientific evidence and its interpretation.

“The emergence of new data or evidence is welcome in science to ensure that conclusions can be reviewed and revised as necessary so that the most effective and cost-effective use of vaccines continues.

“Ideological beliefs in favour or against vaccination are not science and have no role to play in making the best policy.”

Prof Finn said: “Both denying the existence of vaccine side-effects and exaggerating them are very unhelpful to the public, to public health and to maintaining trust in medicine and science.

“Serious injury due to vaccination definitely does occur but, mercifully, it is very rare while the benefits are near universal.”

He added: “It is fair to say that both expert and public opinion demands that the individual benefit must greatly outweigh any risk or theoretical risk for a vaccine to be recommended.

“Having been closely involved in such risk-benefit assessments of Covid vaccines for the UK over the last three years, I can say with confidence that this approach has been consistently taken throughout and that policy decisions have followed such evidence-based recommendations.”

Prof Sir Kent Woods, emeritus professor of therapeutics at the University of Leicester and a former chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency,  said there was “overwhelming evidence” that the benefits of Covid vaccines for the population as a whole outweigh potential harms.

He said: “The MMR-autism fiasco demonstrated clearly that groundless assertion of vaccine hazards can cause real harm.”