Doctors in Unite statement on Covid-19 vaccines

“Doctors in Unite are supportive of vaccination as part of a broader strategy to end the COVID 19 pandemic. In general we believe that any risks from the vaccines will be outweighed by the benefits.

However, it is difficult to say this categorically when the trial data and protocols have not been made available. We call for these to be published in full. Complete transparency should be a given and is vital in the current climate of mistrust.

We note that under usual circumstances Phase 3 trial participants are intensively followed up for six months followed by a lower level of surveillance for up to two years. We appreciate that these are unprecedented times but at the time of writing vaccines are being rolled out for mass administration within four months of the commencement of phase 3 trials with little opportunity to document medium or long term effects.

If debilitating side-effects emerge, there should be full compensation for anyone affected – including loss of pay, care and any other needs – for as long as necessary and without having to fight lengthy battles

Johnson and his government’s handling of the pandemic has been one of shocking mismanagement bordering on criminal negligence. They have lurched from one bad decision to another, have handed contracts worth billions of pounds to their friends without proper scrutiny and failed to listen to the experts. This has led to an understandable deep level of distrust amongst the public and a worrying reluctance among some sections of the community to agree to be vaccinated. This is concerning, as the very people who are at most risk of poor outcomes from COVID 19 are those who are least likely to come forward for vaccination.

We believe that until more is known about the efficacy of the vaccine in suppressing COVID 19 that vaccination can only be part of a broader strategy to combat the virus.

Robust, community based Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support, organised through local Public Health and Primary Care is still essential, though sadly lacking. Messaging about staying safe with frequent hand washing, mask wearing and social distancing must continue and proper attention must be paid to ventilation and indoor airborne spread.”

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