The flu vaccine is an intervention that claims to reduce the spread and severity of influenza ("the flu") in the general population, especially in vulnerable groups.
For some years, an annual flu vaccine has been made available for free on the NHS to groups considered to be more at risk from the complications of the flu (which doesn't generally cause serious complications for otherwise healthy people), including children aged 2-11. The form the children's flu vaccine typically takes is a nasal spray, rather than an injection, and for most children who receive it, this spray is administered at school.
Various campaigning groups have raised concerns with this approach, observing that there are several safety issues and adverse events associated with the flu spray itself, and that schools are not a suitable environment for applying risky medical procedures to children - especially as the flu nasal spray is known to "shed", thereby can cause the illness it claims to prevent. In Hong Kong in 2021, fully 81% of the cases of flu in children were caused by the flu spray.
At Informed Consent Matters, we support these groups' concerns regarding safety, and we also do not believe that schools, as non-clinical environments, are appropriate venues for children to receive potentially dangerous medical treatments. We believe that medical treatments should only be applied in medical environments that are able to observe the highest standards of clinical excellence, and that this is especially important where children are concerned, who may suffer serious adverse reactions to vaccination that schools are not equipped to handle..
As such, Informed Consent Matters strongly opposes the new initiative announced this month (July 2023) to extend the flu vaccine in schools programme to include secondary school pupils as well. The Department of Health has announced it plans to offer the flu nasal spray to every secondary school pupil in the UK (more than 3 million additional recipients), starting September the 1st when the autumn school term commences.
This initiative has been imposed on secondary schools without consultation with parents or caregivers, and without adequate risk assessments being carried out, regarding both the risks to children who receive this product, and the risks to others around them via shedding.
Hence, parents have not been able to give their informed consent for these products being administered at schools, as even if they opt out of their own child receiving the flu vaccine, they cannot be sure their child will not be adversely affected by others receiving it.
It is also highly unlikely schools will observe their ethical duties as per the Montgomery ruling to inform parents of all "material risks" (which includes risks considered rare) of the vaccine before seeking their consent.
This is why Informed Consent Matters believes that it is imperative that, if a family chooses to administer a vaccine to a child, this is done in a secure clinical environment, where all risks have been fully disclosed in advance, and that the family is also advised of the risks of "shedding", and that it may be best to keep their newly vaccinated child away from others - especially those with health vulnerabilities - until the shedding phase has passed.
Informed Consent Matters is gravely concerned that the impending extended administration of this risky drug to 3 million more children, in poorly controlled settings highly vulnerable to shedding and spreading, could prove catastrophic. We are aware of the distinct possibility that such an endeavour could prompt another wave of illness in the general population, and that government officials could respond to this situation by recklessly reintroducing such failed "infection control" measures as mask-wearing and lockdown (both of which all the real-world evidence have determined don't work to reduce disease spread, but do dramatically degrade public physical, economic, and mental health).
Please join us in our campaign to raise awareness of the risks of the flu nasal spray in schools, both to children and to other vulnerable groups they may "shed" it to, and help us to reinforce the message that medical treatments belong in medical settings, not in schools - and that, for most children, the risks of a flu nasal spray far outweigh any risks involved should they contract the flu, which - in the overwhelming majority of cases - fully resolves itself without medical treatment and with no lasting consequences.
In addition, Informed Consent Matters does not support the idea that children should be vaccinated to "protect others". If an adult is worried about their health and believes vaccination will protect them, they should seek vaccination for themselves, rather than asking the next generation to shoulder the burden on their behalf. Medical products (which always carry risk) should only be administered for the direct and demonstrable benefit of the person receiving them, not for the theoretical benefit to someone else.
The nation's children are not human shields, schools are not hospitals, and, as such, Informed Consent Matters says no to flu vaccines in schools, and will be campaigning vigorously on this issue throughout the summer months and beyond. Please consider supporting our work via donation or through a purchase from our shop.
Thank you for your support in protecting the future and wellbeing of the country's most precious resource: the children.