The Cabinet Office has offered Julia Hartley-Brewer a public apology after mandarins unlawfully described her as a “known vaccine sceptic” in official government documents. The apology follows legal action which revealed the government’s “Rapid Response Unit” had spread the misinformation in a report on “vaccine hesitancy”. Hartley-Brewer’s ““No. No. No. NO!!!!” tweet in response to a Telegraph story on childhood Covid vaccinations was deemed sufficient evidence of her supposed scepticism. Despite being vaccinated herself…
Brewer released a statement last night:
“I am shocked that the British government spent time during a pandemic monitoring, attempting to censor and smearing a journalist who was simply trying to do her job by asking the right questions and challenging the prevailing orthodoxy. I was not a “known vaccine sceptic”, as my on air and online comments clearly prove.
“A government unit that was supposed to challenge foreign governments disseminating lies online was used against British journalists and MPs expressing reasonable concerns about Covid policies. And now we have proof that this same unit was actually responsible for lying about me.
“I am particularly concerned by the fact that the British government shared this false information about me with a US government counter-terrorism unit set up to tackle Russian, Chinese and Iranian propaganda. This is very sinister.”
The Cabinet Office’s not-so secret report was shared with at least 64 UK Whitehall officials, as well as US counter-terror staff. An apology two years later is the least Julia could expect…
Sajid confirming fourth jabs for the over-75s and vulnerable from the spring, following JCVI advice:
“Thanks to our COVID-19 vaccination rollout, we are already the freest country in Europe. It has saved countless lives, reduced pressure on the NHS and is allowing us to learn to live with the virus.
Today I have accepted the advice from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to offer, from spring, an additional COVID-19 booster jab to people aged 75 years and over, residents in care homes for older adults, and people aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed. All four parts of the UK intend to follow the JCVI’s advice.
Following the JCVI’s advice, I have asked the NHS to prepare to offer those eligible a vaccine from around six months after their last dose and they will set out further details in due course.
We know immunity to COVID-19 begins to wane over time. That’s why we’re offering a spring booster to those people at higher risk of serious COVID-19 to make sure they maintain a high level of protection. It’s important that everyone gets their top-up jabs as soon as they’re eligible.
The JCVI will keep under review whether the booster programme should be extended to further at-risk groups.
This is a national mission – the vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones and I urge everybody to get your jabs as soon as you can. For anyone who is yet to get a booster, come forward to Get Boosted Now.”
This follows last week’s confirmation that children over 5 will also be offered jabs as the country exits the most acute phase of the pandemic. All part of the Living with Covid plan set to be announced in full later today…
Sajid Javid has confirmed the NHS will make a “non urgent” offer of a Covid jab to all 5-11 year olds:
“I have accepted the advice from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to make a non-urgent offer of COVID-19 vaccines to all children aged five to 11 in England.
The NHS is already offering vaccines to at-risk children and those who live with immunosuppressed people in this age group.
The JCVI advice follows a thorough review by our independent medicines regulator, the MHRA, which approved Pfizer’s paediatric vaccine as safe and effective for children aged five to 11.
Children without underlying health conditions are at low risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and the priority remains for the NHS to offer vaccines and boosters to adults and vulnerable young people, as well as to catch-up with other childhood immunisation programmes.
The NHS will prepare to extend this non-urgent offer to all children during April so parents can, if they want, take up the offer to increase protection against potential future waves of COVID-19 as we learn to live with this virus.”
Top Oxford scientist Professor Sir John Bell has slammed politicians who “damaged the reputation” of the AstraZeneca vaccine and accused them of “probably kill[ing] hundreds of thousands of people“. No prizes for guessing who he’s talking about.
Speaking on the BBC’s “AstraZeneca: A Vaccine for the World?” which airs tomorrow, Bell lays into leaders across Europe – including France, Germany and Spain – for spreading misinformation about the vaccine’s efficacy:
“They have damaged the reputation of the vaccine in a way that echoes around the rest of the world… I think bad behaviour from scientists and from politicians has probably killed hundreds of thousands of people, and that they cannot be proud of.”
Macron spent the first half of 2021 completely undermining the AstraZeneca jab – baselessly calling it “quasi-ineffective in the over 65s” – purely out of spite. At the peak of the Alpha wave, 61% of French nationals distrusted the vaccine, and a damning report later inevitably laid the blame on Macron’s doorstep. Germany and Spain also delayed the jab over a minuscule number of blood clots. Surprise surprise, it now looks like that same jab spared Britain the worst of the Omicron wave…
The booster rollout has dominated the past week. In the last 24 hours, we’ve had a Sunday morning media round by Nadhim Zahawi, a vaccine broadcast statement by Boris, and a Monday morning media round by Sajid Javid. Yet one person has been conspicuously absent: the vaccines minister herself.
Guido can’t see a time Maggie Throup’s done any media since her disastrous Question Time appearance on the 2 December, during which the audience laughed at her. Social media is no better. The last time Throup said anything on vaccines:
She hasn’t posted on Instagram since 2019. Most unbelievably, she hasn’t spoken in the Commons since 30 November. What exactly is she doing?
Compared to the powerhouse that was Nadhim Zahawi, Throup has been totally invisible since her appointment. This morning Sajid was asked who is running the vaccine rollout, and replied that while Throup is doing a “really important job”, he is “personally running” the jab programme:
It begs the question why didn’t the PM just make that decision at the reshuffle, and save the taxpayer Throup’s £22,475 Ministerial salary…
The JCVI has announced that booster jabs will become available for all 18-39 year olds who received their second jab at least three months ago. The rollout will still prioritise age and underlying conditions. 12-15 year olds will also be eligible for their second jab at least three months after their first…