A senior Tory MP has been criticised for claiming COVID vaccines are unsafe
Andrew Bridgen called for the complete cessation of the vaccine rollout - citing a 'conspiracy of silence' over their safety
Senior doctors have rejected his claims with one branding them "irresponsible"
Read Bridgen's remarks below and what senior figures has said about them
Senior doctors have criticised Tory MP Andrew Bridgen after he claimed COVID vaccines are "not safe" and the government should stop using them "immediately".
Vaccines have brought lockdowns to an end around the world, with experts hailing their speedy development for saving millions of lives following the outbreak of the pandemic.
However, Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, said on Wednesday that research published in recent months by cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra had demonstrated the benefits of mRNA COVID vaccines - such as the Pfizer jab - were "close to non-existent".
Experts have rebutted the claims, with Professor Kent Woods, a former chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) - the body responsible for ensuring that medicines are acceptably safe - branding them "irresponsible".
Speaking to MPs in the house of Commons, Bridgen made a series of claims about the vaccine.
He said a re-analysis of Pfizer and Moderna’s own randomised controlled trials using the mRNA technology - published in the journal Vaccine - revealed a rate of serious adverse events of one in 800 individuals vaccinated.
He said: "These findings are a smoking gun suggesting the vaccine should likely never have been approved in the first place."
He added there had been half a million "yellow card" reports - the system for people to report suspected side effects to medicines and vaccines - related to the jab, which he described as an unprecedented number and more than all the yellow card reports of the past 40 years combined.
He went on to quote a report by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that showed one in 200 had an adverse event that resulted in hospitalisation, and symptoms that lasted longer than 90 days.
This claim has been branded "misleading" by fact-checkers.
He said: "As the data clearly shows to anyone who wants to look at it, the mRNA vaccines are not safe, not effective and not necessary. I implore the government to halt their use immediately."
In his speech, Bridgen said the public had been coerced into supporting the jab by "conspiracy of silence", which he appeared to aim at regulatory bodies such as the MHRA, the media, the pharmaceutical industry, doctors, academic institutions and medical journals.
Bridgen's comments have drawn a stinging rebuke from experts approached by Yahoo News UK.
Prof Woods, now Emeritus Professor of Therapeutics at the University of Leicester, warned Bridgen's unsubstantiated claims could cause "damage".
"The repeated claim of Dr Malhotra that his research has been peer-reviewed has to be challenged," he said, pointing out the research was published in the Journal of Insulin Resistance, a journal with no known expertise in the peer review of vaccines safety research.
He added that vaccines "prevented around 20 million excess deaths in their first year of use".
“To propose that the mRNA vaccines should be taken out of use, in the face of their manifest public health importance, is irresponsible," Prof Woods added.
"It is also irresponsible to assert that there is any clear evidence of vaccine-related harms that have been concealed by a conspiracy of industry, regulators and academics.
"The MMR/autism fiasco has shown what public health damage an unsubstantiated vaccine scare can do.”
The British Society for Immunology told Yahoo News UK there is a "huge amount of evidence" that shows COVID vaccines are safe.
“Unfortunately, much of the recent online discussions around mRNA COVID-19 vaccines do not thoroughly analyse all the available evidence."
It added: “There is now a huge amount of evidence from multiple studies which shows that COVID-19 vaccines, including the mRNA vaccines, are the safest and most effective way to prevent serious illness and death from COVID-19, and the benefits by far outweigh the risks in the vast majority of people.”
And an anonymous expert in pharmacoepidemiology told Yahoo News UK: “The “Vaccine” paper on the analysis of the RCTs is a distortion and there have been rejoinders to it. The paper by Malhotra has also had responses – to say there are none is not true.
"The use of yellow card data to estimate rates of occurrence of adverse events is nonsensical."
Responding to Bridgen in the Commons, Maria Caulfield, mental health and women's minister, rejected his remarks.
"I strongly disagree with my hon. Friend, not only in the content of his speech, but in the way he derided doctors, scientists and nurses," she said.
She also pointed out that the yellow card system does not reliably indicate the number of adverse reactions caused by vaccines. Responding to the significant number of reports, she added that the system had recently gone online, which means "anyone can submit any suspected adverse drug reaction".
She added: "I completely debunk the conspiracy theories about a whole group of people benefiting financially from the roll-out of the vaccine."