by Dr Eric MENAT
As a preamble, I would like to remind you that I have no conflict of interest and that I am not “anti-vaccine”.
On the contrary, the day we have a vaccine that has proven its safety and effectiveness in preventing fragile people from becoming ill and thus enabling us to curb the epidemic, I will be the first to prescribe it. In the meantime, I would like to share with you my scientific and ethical thoughts on the plans to vaccinate children against Covid-19, because in my opinion, we have entered a downward spiral that could end very badly for the youngest.
I would like to recall the principles of vaccination, as they have been laid down for years:
A vaccine, like any treatment, must have more benefits than risks.
A vaccine, like any treatment, must have more benefits than risks. It must protect the subject from a potentially serious disease which would not admit any curative treatment. We cannot imagine vaccinating against colds, for example (unless we want to do business).
It must also make it possible to reduce the spread of the epidemic. This is what we call altruistic vaccination: we vaccinate everyone to protect the weakest.
This brings us back to the first point: the vaccine must be well tolerated, because it is going to be injected into “everyone”, even those who are less likely to be ill or to develop a serious form of the disease.
The vaccine must therefore have a favourable benefit-risk balance for EACH person.
What do we know about Covid-19 in children?
France has exceeded 100,000 official deaths from Covid. These figures are often disputed, as it was sometimes concluded too quickly that it was Covid that killed, when the patient was already bedridden or had serious illnesses. For example, people at the end of their lives in nursing homes or terminally ill cancer patients caught this coronavirus, which probably hastened their death, even though it was inevitable in the weeks that followed. Did they really die of Covid? That is debatable.
I invite you to watch Pierre Chaillot’s speech on this subject on 20 May 2021 as part of the Independent Scientific Council’s Thursdays:
However, I will base myself solely on official figures and reports so that I am not accused of bias. We have access to a French database called “Geodes“. On this site, we find two types of data on mortality. The declarations from health institutions and the data from death certificates (Inserm).
Curiously, the figures are not equivalent, but we know the imprecision and slowness of the French administration, which is very late in its digitalisation.
Here are the figures that can be found:
According to the data from the death certificates on Géodes there are currently “only” 48,417 deaths declared between March 2020 (week 12) and week 19 of 2021.
Among these deaths, there are 54 deaths for people between 0 and 29 years old! That is 0.1% of deaths (or 1 per thousand if you prefer). For the record, this age group represents 35% of the population.
According to data from health facilities reporting confirmed cases of COVID-19 in SI-VIC, 81,692 deaths were reported as being linked to Covid-19 between 18 March 2020 and 18 May 2021.
Of these deaths, there are:
– 0 to 9 years = 4 deaths
– 10 to 19 years = 9 deaths
– Between 20 and 29 years = 75 deaths
That is 88 deaths between the ages of 0 and 29, or, again, 0.1% of deaths.
But in reality the figures are even lower when more in-depth studies are carried out.
The SAPRIS-SERO study carried out serological tests on volunteers from various existing cohorts. It showed that in May-June 2020, young French adults were much more often infected than their elders.
From these figures they assessed the risk of mortality for ALL infected people, not just those who had been declared as such. Here are their results in pictures from their website.
The risk of dying between the ages of 20 and 30 if infected with Covid is 1 in 10,000 (0.01%). They offered a “funny” comparison, that is 10 times less likely to die from a “base jump” (parachute jump from a cliff or building).
And you can see from the above figures that deaths before the age of 20 are even rarer.
All deaths are sad and none should be “neglected”, but when we go into the details, the vast majority of these deaths in young subjects occurred in people with often serious polypathologies, congenital anomalies or genetic diseases that were already threatening their vital prognosis.
Clearly, a young person under 20 years of age in good health or without progressive disease has almost no risk of dying from Covid or even of developing a severe form. And this risk is not much higher between the ages of 20 and 30!
Are you beginning to understand that the benefit of vaccination in people under 30 is practically zero? No one in this age group will be saved by vaccination, because there is no one to save!
Moreover, it’s not me who says this, it’s the figures, but also the COSV or Conseil d’Orientation de la Stratégie Vaccinale (Vaccine Strategy Advisory Board), chaired by Professor Alain FISHER, often nicknamed “Mr French Vaccine”. This is the highest authority that is supposed to bring together the highest experts in our country. We can therefore trust them! In their report of May 11, 2021 we can read:
“Although little affected by symptomatic forms of Covid-19, children and adolescents transmit the virus and participate in the epidemic dynamics”.
They therefore confirm the above figures and what I said: young people have no risk of developing a serious form of Covid, unless they are very fragile and fortunately very rare.
But I must also point out that to date it has not been proven that children participate in the epidemic dynamic. On the contrary, most studies show the opposite, as you can read in detail in two very complete articles published on the Reinfocovid website . You will find all the necessary references there.
We can therefore start asking ourselves the question: should we really vaccinate 35% of the population for 0.1% of deaths which, moreover, only concerns people who are often already very ill or very fragile? Is this really ETHICAL?
The excuse of altruistic vaccination
Yes, but our COSV explains that it is not to protect THEM that we must vaccinate, but to protect OTHERS. In the same report, we read:
“Thus, it seems necessary to consider vaccinating children and adolescents to reduce viral circulation in the population, and to protect them from a risk, admittedly small, but which deserves attention. ”
Everyone will judge the hypocrisy of this position in the light of the mortality figures quoted above.
Note that in terms of hypocrisy, the prize undoubtedly goes to Professor Arnaud Fontanet, a member of the official scientific council, who recently told us on TV that young people should be vaccinated to help them regain their mental health!
According to him, vaccines have become the new antidepressants or psychotropic drugs for our population? Is this really the only way to take care of our youth? And where are the studies that allow him to assert that it will be effective and without risk?
To come back to COSV, they give us the calculations that allowed them to arrive at their conclusion without appeal. You will excuse me for the somewhat technical and barbaric terms, but I do not want to modify their words to remain impartial in my analysis:
“To reach an effective R <1 with a virus of R0=4 (variant B.1.1.7 currently in the majority on the French territory), it would be necessary to reach an immunity in the total population of more than 75% (including children), which corresponds to 50.25 million people on a population of 67 million. With a vaccine coverage rate estimated at 80%, ensuring 90% protection, this represents approximately 48 million protected vaccinated people, to which must be added the unvaccinated people, but protected by natural immunity (approximately 3M by estimating the proportion of the population naturally immunised at 22.7%), i.e. a total of 51 million people. ”
In summary, they consider that 80% herd immunity is needed to eradicate the disease (obviously this is a totally gratuitous assumption as there are no reliable studies on this subject). To achieve this, 70% of the population (48 million) would have to be vaccinated. The remaining 10% would be those who have immunity because they have had the disease.
I reassure you that even for me, these figures seem bizarre and a little far from the reality on the ground.
And I’m not the only one to think so, because in an article dated 28 May 2021, Professor Dominique Baudon of the Val-de-Grâce asserts, with mathematical and sociological studies to back it up: “Collective immunity in Covid 19 will not be achieved“!
But the COSV continues:
“Thus, considering the vaccination of children and placing ourselves in relatively optimistic conditions (80% vaccine adherence and 90% protection against the disease), we would just barely reach the herd immunity necessary to significantly reduce viral circulation. Without children under 16 years of age, under the same assumptions, the number of protected vaccinated persons would be about 40 million, 44 million including naturally immunized persons. There would therefore be a shortfall of nearly 7 million people compared to the target of 51 million. Even more so if the adult vaccination rate were lower, the shortfall would be even greater. Thus, even under optimistic conditions, the number of people to be reached requires consideration of child immunization. ”
Clearly, if the under-30s represent 35% of the population, it is mandatory to vaccinate them to achieve this 80% herd immunity rate.
You will note that our experts fear that not all adults will play the game and so they are quietly considering “compulsory” vaccination of children to compensate for the lack of civic-mindedness of some adults. Again, what are we to make of this from an ethical point of view?
It’s a bit like vaccinating the elderly in nursing homes, who have supposedly given their informed consent! Who are we kidding? Especially when the unvaccinated are deprived of going out and are threatened to be isolated in their room.
Will our unvaccinated children be deprived of the canteen and the playground at the beginning of the school year? Or excluded from school altogether?
80% for immunity? The fanciful calculations of epidemiology
Furthermore, I would like to remind you that the theory of 80% collective immunity to eradicate a disease is pure utopia.
In Mongolia, for example, a 98% vaccination rate against measles was achieved. The following year, the country suffered a very large wave of measles. Why did this happen? Because viruses mutate!
Worse, the more you vaccinate, the more they mutate! And as Professor Raoult clearly says, we’ve known this for 30 years, it’s not a surprise! So when our experts talk about vaccinating 70% of the population, which vaccine do they intend to use? Which will be effective against what?
Because you have understood that these superb calculations – presented by the greatest French experts, members of the COSV who must decide on the government’s health policy – are totally theoretical and very far from real life.
Because in real life, we already know that:
– Vaccinated people still get the disease. Listen to Professor Raoult’s latest videos on this subject;
– Current vaccines are not effective against certain variants. What good will it do to vaccinate 70% of the population when we are confronted with the new variants that are already on our territory (Brazilian, South African, Indian) and those that are sure to appear in the coming months? For the record, the Indian variant is already present in 44 countries, including France!
If you think I’m exaggerating, here are some extracts from official positions.
For example, the Ministry of Health plans to make the Moderna vaccine available to doctors in towns and cities from 24 May, except in the departments most affected by the South African or Brazilian variants! Why is this? Because they know that this vaccine would be ineffective in these departments because of these variants.
There is also concern in Great Britain, for the same reasons, where more than 30% of the population has already received 2 doses of the vaccine (compared to 13% in France). Here is what can be read in an article published on 18/05 in the “JIM”:
“Knowledge about the Indian variant is still patchy and uncertain. According to the latest studies, it could be 50% more contagious than the British variant (already 50% more contagious than the “original” strain), but also potentially more deadly… According to a study published on Monday, Pfizer and Moderna’s messenger RNA vaccines would retain their effectiveness against this new strain, but these are only in vitro studies that have not yet been confirmed in humans. No data are yet available on AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which is widely used in the UK. This vaccine does not appear to be effective against the South African variant, with which the Indian variant shares mutations. ”
Clearly, it makes sense that vaccines designed from the original virus, which appeared in late 2019, would have little or no effect against variants that appeared 18 months later. And what about the end of 2021?
The JIM article clearly states that the AstraZeneca vaccine is not effective against the South African variant, which already represents 5% of infections in France!
Moreover, since 26 May, the government has instituted compulsory isolation for all people coming from the UK. It’s strange though, as the UK is cited as having one of the most vaccinated populations. So normally they should be safe and not a danger to us. And yet they are isolated like plague victims. Proof of the immense confidence our government has in vaccines!
Above all, we understand from these elements that our experts are in total confusion about the effectiveness of current vaccines on the new variants.
Brigitte Autran, a member of COSV, commented: “These vaccines are certainly less effective in preventing infection and moderate forms of the disease, but the data are not clear with regard to severe forms. ”
In other words, we know absolutely NOTHING about the usefulness of the current vaccines in protecting against severe forms of the disease and even less about reducing the epidemic.
But given the number of vaccinated people who are currently showing symptoms of Covid, there are strong doubts about the value of current vaccination in containing the spread of new variants.
Today, companies are producing new vaccines that take into account the mutated S protein corresponding to the South African variant and the first clinical trials have been launched. In the long term, we can imagine that we will have to change vaccines or combine the different products in a single vaccine, as for influenza. ”
Clearly, the current vaccines will probably not be effective against the variants that we will have to face next winter and attempts are already being made to design new vaccines.
Except that for the moment we are vaccinating against the old variants. With this type of health policy, don’t we risk being permanently one train behind and having to re-vaccinate every six months for nothing?
So should we vaccinate young people with the current vaccines? Not to protect them, that’s for sure! For an “altruistic” vaccination perhaps. Yes, but on ONE CONDITION: that the vaccine is totally safe and does not risk causing side effects in these children who, moreover, risk absolutely nothing in the event of infection by SARS Cov2, apart from a heavy cold or a small flu.
Vaccine side effects in the spotlight
Once again, any vaccination depends above all on one essential criterion: the benefit-risk balance.
We have seen that the benefit of vaccination for people under 30 years of age is totally NIL. We have seen that current vaccines will not necessarily protect the population from new variants.
We also know, thanks to the scientific file provided by the laboratories, that vaccination does not eliminate the contagiousness of the vaccinated persons.
And we know that children are very bad propagators of the disease. Vaccinated or not, they will not be the vectors of the next Covid-21 epidemic. Read the excellent article written by eminent specialists and made available on the Reinfocovid website.
One may therefore wonder whether the use of current vaccines really allows for “altruistic vaccination”, as suggested by our experts on TV shows. But if we add to this the side effects of vaccines, we begin to wonder if the benefit-risk balance is really positive for the youngest?
The question of side effects is a delicate one, because to date there is almost no evidence of imputability. This means that we have not yet been able to prove definitively that all the side effects reported by patients or doctors are really related to the vaccine. It is likely that this will never be proven because of the pharmacovigilance criteria and the huge reporting deficit.
However, it is accepted by most experts that vaccines can cause thrombosis and that some people can die from it.
This was the case of a 24-year-old man in Nantes and a 38-year-old woman in Toulouse. Both died of a thrombo-haemorrhagic accident, suddenly, after the vaccine and the link between cause and effect is recognised. But these two dramatic cases are far from being the only ones.
In the WHO database, which collates all events following vaccination, there are about 1 million reports of side effects. When we know that it is estimated that only 1 to 10% of these undesirable effects are really reported, we have every right to be concerned.
Fortunately, many of these events are quite mild or transient. But there are still nearly 8,000 deaths, as well as many serious side effects, such as loss of hearing or sight!
However, I must reassure those who have been vaccinated. In 90% of cases, the vaccine seems to be well tolerated. However, I believe that prolonged monitoring after the vaccination is essential. Prolonged means several weeks or even several months, because we are beginning to see recurrences of cancer which seem to be more frequent in vaccinated people. Here again, in-depth studies will be necessary, but do not underestimate the appearance of unusual symptoms after vaccination.
In the Belgian database, which is much more transparent than the French one, there are 0.3% of side effects with the Pfizer vaccine and 0.6% with Moderna and AstraZeneca. This is still quite low, but it is likely that this figure will have to be multiplied by 10 or more because of misreporting in practice.
If the vaccine is effective and reduces severe forms and mortality, some will justify these risks of side effects as a “necessary evil” and fortunately rare, to save many lives. This is an argument that can be heard, provided that vaccination is never compulsory. Indeed, this vaccination remains a gamble on the future. The bet that it will allow me to avoid a serious form of the disease and the bet that I will not have an even more serious side effect!
But what about people under the age of 30, who are not at risk of severe forms?
A very questionable ethical choice
You have therefore understood that vaccination of the youngest is not proposed to protect them, but to protect the most vulnerable people.
First of all, before choosing this “altruistic” vaccination, we should be sure that the vaccine we are being injected with will really protect our fragile loved ones. However, we have understood that :
– The vaccine does not prevent you from being contagious (this is why the mask is always compulsory).
– The vaccine is little or not effective on the variants. Moreover, many vaccinated people are currently catching Covid in EHPAD.
– The vaccine favours mutations and could therefore, paradoxically, increase and prolong the epidemic.
But on a more ethical level, we should ask ourselves whether, in order to potentially protect some very old people, we are not putting other much younger people at risk because of the side effects of the vaccines.
According to electronic death certification data, the average age of Covid victims is 82, and half of the dead are over 85. The average life expectancy in France is 85 years for women and 79 years for men (who account for 58% of Covid deaths). This means that the Covid epidemic has not changed the life expectancy of the French and that this virus kills less than “life” itself.
So, I would like to ask you a delicate ethical and philosophical question, but one that is essential in my eyes: “Are you prepared to take the risk of a serious side effect, or even the death of a young person, even a child, to save the life of someone over 85? “.
I am aware of the difficulty of this question, but it is at the heart of the debate for me. Vaccinating the under-30s means accepting to sacrifice a certain number of them, when they had no risk of dying or suffering seriously from the disease, in order to try to save our oldest ones very hypothetically.
This is exactly what happened to these two young people in Nantes and Toulouse. They died as a result of the vaccine, even though they were not at risk in the case of Covid. In this case, how can we justify and accept their death? Do the grandparents or the elderly in the EHPAD want their grandchildren to take these risks in the hope of not dying from Covid?
Especially since, if the vaccine is effective, it should be enough to vaccinate the most fragile to avoid death, without making the youngest take unnecessary risks.
And what if the current vaccines are ineffective against the variants, if they do not protect the young or the old during the next epidemic linked to a new variant? In that case, all the “unlucky” people who died because of the vaccine will have died for nothing!
Even if our President has explained to us that we are at war, it is not acceptable to sacrifice our young generation like this! The time is over when we were entitled to a 5% loss like in the army!
Died for nothing?
The vaccination of young people is a scientific nonsense and an insult to ethics and our humanism, especially with the current vaccines.
But what is the National Consultative Ethics Committee doing? How can it not take a position on this essential question for our society and the future of our youth? It so happens that its president is Professor DELFRAISSY, who is also the president of the scientific council. Does this explain this?
Even the COSV is aware of this, since in its report they raise the question of “the acceptability of vaccinating children in a context of low individual benefit”. This does not prevent them from recommending a massive vaccination of children over 12 years of age at the beginning of the school year in September.
We must all mobilise to prevent this project from being carried out, because otherwise I fear the worst for our young generation
I must remind you that, according to the current figures, the younger the people vaccinated, the more frequent the side effects appear. In fact, it was when we started vaccinating carers under the age of 50 that an alert appeared about the side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine!
What will happen to those under 20? Will we have to write on their graves: “DEAD FOR NOTHING”?
This article is an update of an article first published on 23 May 2021 on the AIMSIB website under the title “Sacrifier des enfants pour rien ça se payera un jour“.