Australia Opinion

Vaccine Threats to the Universal Right to Consent

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Health Minister Greg Hunt, and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coastworth have made statements that appear to contradict the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights.
  • 128
    Shares

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Health Minister Greg Hunt, and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth have made statements that appear to contradict the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights.

The 2005 statement declares in relation to medical treatment that: “consent… may be withdrawn by the person concerned at any time and for any reason without disadvantage or prejudice.”[1]

This is not the view of Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth, who said: “There will be a strong public view that those who choose not to get vaccinated there needs to be some sort of incentive stick, perhaps through current objectives (like) no jab, no pay.

“I know that’s a very reasonable interpretation of the what the PM had to say today,” he added after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on radio 2GB on 19 August 2020 that the unproven vaccine would be “as mandatory as possible.”

Dr Coatsworth has floated further restrictions, beyond ‘no jab, no pay’, which will be discussed and decided upon, including banning Australians from restaurants, public transport and re-entering the country after international flights.

Mr Morrison has back-tracked on his “mandatory” call, but still said on radio 3AW, “There will be encouragement and measures to get as high a rate as accepting as usual.”

On the same day, Health Minister Greg Hunt has said he “would not rule out” the proposal that vaccination is a forced requirement when entering Australia, and remarked that it would “seem strange” if border control allowed in anyone who was not vaccinated.

While the PM’s spokesperson Professor Paul Kelly said that there will initially be a voluntary call, Mr Morrison said, “I don’t think offering jelly beans is the way to do that [for adults] as you do with kids but we’ll take those issues as they present and consider what steps are necessary at that time.”

“We’ll seek its most widespread application, as we do with all important vaccines,” he said.

Oxford University’s Rebecca Ashfield has admitted that for the group’s vaccine, “we’re likely to need yearly boosters, similar to annual flu jabs.”

The Morrison Government appears to want to compel Australians to enter a nation-wide experiment, and to disadvantage anyone who does not have a serious medical condition.

Fetal-Derived Concerns Dismissed

A joint statement by three senior Australian church leaders, an Anglican, a Catholic and a Greek Orthodox archbishop, pointed out that the AstraZeneca vaccine has been developed using the HEK-293 cell line, derived from a healthy Dutch baby girl electively killed in the womb in 1972.

The three clergy, Anthony Fisher, Dr. Glenn Davies and Makarios Griniezakis, put several questions to the Prime Minister:

“Given that many other [vaccine] trials are being conducted that do not involve the use of morally compromised human cell lines, we write to seek your assurance:

(1) that the use of the Astrazeneca/Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine will in no sense be mandatory;

(2) that no-one will be pressured to prescribe, dispense or consent to the use upon themselves or their dependents of the vaccine against their conscientious religious or moral beliefs or disadvantaged for failing to do so; and

(3) that the government will ensure that an ethically uncontroversial alternative vaccine be made available in Australia if it is achieved.”

The response from the second-most senior medical official Nick Coatsworth was to say that the girl was “ethically aborted”. He did not further clarify what “mandatory” meant.

“I’m aware of those concerns being raised this morning that the particular cell line that was produced for the vaccine was from an ethically aborted human fetus. That is the concern that was raised by the archbishop (Anthony Fisher),” Dr Coatsworth said.

“This is a very professional, highly powered research unit at Oxford University, one of the world’s leading universities. So I think we can have every faith that the way that they have manufactured the vaccine has been against the highest of ethical standards internationally.”

At this time, Nick Coatsworth appears to have ignored their sincere request for an ethically derived vaccine.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister has stated that the University of Queensland vaccine (based on a potent oil-in-water emulsion adjuvant MF59), may provide an ethical alternative. The Morrison government has given $5 million to the UQ-CSL vaccine candidate, but it has not made a formal agreement with the group.

“The government is investing in research and technology that we hope will produce a range of vaccines that will be suitable for as many Australians as possible,” the spokesman told AAP.

“Many vaccines in development do not contain these cell lines, including the UQ vaccine candidate which the government is already supporting with $5 million.

“The government will always follow the medical advice and will be encouraging as widespread use of the vaccine or vaccines as is possible.”

The three archbishops are still waiting for a formal response from Scott Morrison regarding their concerns. It is not yet clear whether the government will formally mandate more than one vaccine.

Expert Warns of Side-Effects

The president of Australian Medical Association, Dr. Omar Khorshid, has issued a public warning of unproven mandatory shots causing unknown side effects.

He said making the vaccine compulsory “sends the wrong message to the community.”

“We have to acknowledge it is a rushed approval process and even if the phase three trials on this Oxford vaccine go really well, it’s still not absolutely proven that it is safe, not as proven as is normally the case,” Khorsid said.

“That does increase the risk that there might be rare side effects … that we just don’t know about,” he added.

Dr Khorshid expects that the vaccine will be initially approved for adults, because, “We do know that children’s responses to vaccines are different to adult responses and the long-term risks for a child are much greater than they are for an elderly person,” he said.

“If there is some kind of immune response or strange issue then the potential for harm is much greater in children.”

Monash University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences Professor Colin Pouton is also convinced that it is important to give people “the right to opt-out of a vaccine program”, but he suggested that there ought to be a quicker return to “normal life for those holding certification that they have been vaccinated.”

No Vaccine Injury Program in Australia

As Australians may be compelled by penalties (such as a loss of family tax benefits), medical experts are alarmed that Australia is one of the few industrialised countries that does not have a vaccine injury compensation scheme.

According to the WHO, no-fault schemes exist in 25 other countries, including the USA and Britain. The USA program has paid out over $4.4 billion (with funds from a vaccine tax) since its inception, while also shielding manufacturers from any direct liability for injury[2].

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Kidd said that he did not know if Australia’s vaccine agreement of intent with Astra Zeneca includes indemnification from vaccine injuries.

AMA President Dr Korshid supports calls from Australian vaccine experts for the federal government to establish a no-fault vaccine injury compensation scheme before rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine.

“If society is asking everyone to get vaccinated to protect each other, we have a collective responsibility to look after the very rare and unfortunate individuals who are harmed by vaccines,” Dr Korshid said.

Midwifery Professor Julie Leask and Ass. Prof. Nick Wood, both of University of Sydney, have argued that it is “essential” that Australia has “a well-funded and established injury compensation scheme – that would be solid and prudential morally.”

Reuters has reported that AstraZeneca has sought exemption from vaccine injury liability with most of the countries with which it has supply agreements.

“This is a unique situation where we as a company simply cannot take the risk if in … four years the vaccine is showing side effects… In the contracts we have in place, we are asking for indemnification,” Ruud Dobber, a member of Astra’s senior executive team, told Reuters.

A petition to Federal Parliament to “Prevent restrictions on those who refuse a Covid-19 vaccination” has attracted over 5700 signatures and will close on 23 September 2020.


[1] Article 6 of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, on ‘Consent’, was adopted by the United Nations Education, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO) on 19 October 2005. Some important sections:

1. Any preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic medical intervention is only to be carried out with the prior, free and informed consent of the person concerned, based on adequate information. The consent should, where appropriate, be express and may be withdrawn by the person concerned at any time and for any reason without disadvantage or prejudice.

2. Scientific research should only be carried out with the prior, free, express and informed consent of the person concerned. The information should be adequate, provided in a comprehensible form and should include modalities for withdrawal of consent. Consent may be withdrawn by the person concerned at any time and for any reason without any disadvantage or prejudice. Exceptions to this principle should be made only in accordance with ethical and legal standards adopted by States, consistent with the principles and provisions set out in this Declaration, in particular in Article 27, and international human rights law.

3. In appropriate cases of research carried out on a group of persons or a community, additional agreement of the legal representatives of the group or community concerned may be sought. In no case should a collective community agreement or the consent of a community leader or other authority substitute for an individual’s informed consent.

[2] The United States Congress approved the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 following a rush of lawsuits over DPT vaccines (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) that convinced many drugmakers that it wasn’t profitable to make vaccines, and very few were interested.

In 1986, parents were recommended to inject their children with 12 shots for eight diseases (25 antigens/doses), and three decades later, the order has passed 54 shots for 18 diseases (70 antigens/doses). A compliant 78-year-old American could receive 130 doses of vaccines in their lifetime.

The NCVI Act states that “No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable in a civil action for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death associated with the administration of a vaccine after October 1, 1988, if the injury or death resulted from side effects that were unavoidable even though the vaccine was properly prepared and was accompanied by proper directions and warnings.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that federal law shields vaccine makers from product-liability lawsuits in state court seeking damages for a child’s injuries or death from a vaccine’s side effects.


  • 128
    Shares