Letter to MHRA is filled with false Covid-19 claims

10 May 2021
What was claimed

The NHS was not “overwhelmed” during Covid-19.

Our verdict

This is somewhat subjective but there is lots of evidence indicating NHS trusts were under severe pressure during the peaks of Covid-19.

What was claimed

All Covid-19 vaccines are experimental.

Our verdict

We have repeatedly shown that Covid-19 vaccines are not experimental; they have been through sufficient safety and efficacy trials.

What was claimed

South Africa has not vaccinated its elderly due to a lack of data.

Our verdict

There is no evidence to suggest this is the case, at least with regard to data about the vaccines. South Africa is due to start vaccinating the elderly this month.

What was claimed

People who die within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test have Covid put on their death certificate automatically.

Our verdict

False. Medical professionals filling out death certificates are not required to note a Covid-19 test result if they don’t think it was relevant to the cause of death.

What was claimed

Lockdown and the tier systems are deadlier than Covid-19.

Our verdict

There is no evidence to suggest this is true. Official estimates suggest that the lockdown in the spring of 2020 saved many thousands of lives.

A post on Facebook shows a transcript of a letter sent to Dr June Raine CBE, CEO of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This was first posted on 16 February but has been regularly circulated since and shared more than 700 times. 

There are many misleading claims in this post, some of which are similar to other claims we have recently fact-checked. 

We don’t aim to fact check all of them, but here are some of the key claims and why they are misleading.

“...lies, deceit and mimetic programmed propaganda about our NHS being overwhelmed”

Whether hospitals were “overwhelmed” during the Covid-19 pandemic is a subjective judgement but, many hospitals have declared critical incidents during the Covid-19 crisis, experienced severe bed pressures, seen staff absence increase through stress and sickness, suffered staff deaths from Covid-19 and had to turn patients away

Total hospital capacity was reduced during the NHS’s response to Covid-19. It was prioritised for Covid-19 patients, cancer care and urgent elective procedures. Details of these arrangements are available via the NHS England website.

“The fact is all Covid vaccines are EXPERIMENTAL and have not undergone the usual time frames (Phase I through to Phase IV) and independent testing protocols and as a result have broken the Nuremberg Code of 1947.”

As we have repeatedly said, Covid-19 vaccines are not experimental and have passed required clinical trials.

The Nuremberg code says that a subject’s voluntary consent is essential in medical experiments, but the Covid-19 vaccines are not experimental. 

In any case, a patient’s consent is required to administer vaccines, including the Covid vaccines. This is outlined in Public Health England’s 2020 Green Book on immunisation.

Although there are exceptions where informed consent cannot be provided, or the patient is too young to do so, vaccination always requires consent of some sort.

The reference to phase four trials is odd. Phase four studies are surveillance studies which always happen after a vaccine has been rolled out to the public—so of course a new vaccine is not going to have passed any phase four studies. That doesn’t make it experimental.

“Dr Raine, could you please kindly provide me with the data, which explains why we in the UK have allowed our elderly (70+) to be vaccinated? How come other countries including S. Africa have ‘chosen’ not to, due to a “…lack of data”

There is no evidence that South Africa delayed vaccination of its 70+ or elderly population due to a lack of data about vaccines. 

Epidemiologists suggested difficulty gathering statistics on the spread of Covid-19 may have delayed vaccine rollout in countries across Africa, but that’s not to say vaccinations have been delayed due to concerns with vaccines.

South Africa started its vaccination programme with healthcare workers and has recently started registering the elderly for vaccinations starting this month.

South Africa did pause the rollout of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to assess the risk of blood clots following a single dose shot, but its health regulator later recommended its resumption.

“if you die within 28 days of having had a ‘positive’ rt-PCR test, on your death certificate it will state “Covid”, even if you were run over by a bus or shot in the head (without any post-mortems!) and yet if a person dies within 28 days of having had the Bill & Melinda Gates’ Vaccine or Oxford AstraZeneca’s, you do not state, “Died of vaccine poisoning”, or “Vaccine related death”, etc.”

It’s false to claim that every person who dies within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test has Covid put on their death certificate. Death certificates are filled out by medical professionals who may take Covid-19 test results into account, but are not required to include Covid as a cause of death if it isn’t relevant to the death of someone who has tested positive. 

There is a measure of deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test result, but this does not come from death certificate data. 

We have debunked the idea that there is a double standard in the way that deaths within 28 days of a positive result and 28 days following vaccination is reported.

While the measure of deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test result will capture some people who died of something unrelated to Covid-19, it will also not include those who died of Covid-19 but weren’t tested, or those who died more than 28 days after the test. The 28 day cut-off was introduced to increase the accuracy determining Covid-19 as a cause of death. 

The number of people dying within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test is similar to the number of people with Covid-19 on their death certificate, suggesting it is a good proxy for the number of genuine Covid-19 deaths. 

By contrast, while some deaths may have been linked to the vaccine, especially the 49 blood clot deaths following an AstraZeneca vaccine, many deaths are likely to have occurred within 28 days of a vaccination simply due to the fact that many millions of vaccines have been administered to the elderly.  

“Far more people will die due to the lockdowns and ‘tears’ (sic) system, and Covid Vaccines than from a ‘flu bug’ labelled as Covid-19/SARS-CoV-2.”

There is very little evidence to suggest that the introduction of lockdown or a tier system is deadlier than exposing the public to Covid-19 without such a system.

As we have said before, a detailed government estimate suggests that locking down in the spring did save many thousands of lives, compared with doing nothing, largely because it prevented the health service being overwhelmed.

As for vaccines, there have been over 1,000 reports of death following vaccination in the UK, but there’s no certainty that any of them were linked to vaccination. 

Of these, 49 were caused by blood clots, which the MHRA has said is possibly linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because the Covid-19 vaccines are not experimental and Covid is not automatically written on the death certificates of people who die within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test.

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