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What's Missing In The Media's Coverage Of The AstraZeneca Lawsuit
Excluded context and the key players involved...
It hasn’t been an enjoyable week for AstraZeneca (AZ).
On Wednesday, The Telegraph published an update on the legal action two victims of vaccine-induced immune thrombocytopenia and thrombosis (VITT) have launched against the U.K. pharmaceutical giant.
One of the victims, father-of-two Jamie Scott, is seeking over a million in damages under the Consumer Protection Act of 1987. While the other, widower of mother-of-two Alpa, is seeking £5 million.
Jamie suffered permanent injuries post-injection in April 2021 because of a blood clot on the brain. When in hospital, doctors called his wife, Kate, three times to come and say her goodbyes. He now cannot work and provide for his family.
Alpa suffered an identical adverse event. Except she was not so fortunate. Over a week post-injection in March 2021, she experienced stroke-like symptoms, including slurred speech and facial drooping. A month later, she died. Her family informed the press that she got vaccinated to “protect her family”.
The lawsuit centres on two interlinked arguments. First, they say the company’s claims over their product’s efficacy were “vastly overstated”. And second, that product was actually “defective” as it was not as safe as the company said it was.
A major part of the first argument concerns relative risk reduction (RRR) versus absolute risk reduction (ARR). Pre-rollout, AZ issued press releases stating their product was between 62% and 90% effective against at preventing symptomatic Covid. However, that did not provide any clear sign of overall risk reduction.
The Canadian Covid Care Alliance, an international panel of pregnancy, birthing, and breastfeeding experts, outlined in 2021 that AZ’s RRR claim only provided an indication of how effective it was in those infected in the placebo group and the vaccinated group during the trial. It ignored all those who didn’t get infected with Covid. Thus, the overall Covid infection risk was not contextualised in that 62% to 90% efficacy claim. In reality, absolute risk reduction was just over 1%.
Here is a short video explainer The Canadian Covid Care Alliance published on their Rumble channel back in 2021:
The foundation of the victims’ second argument rests on the prevalence of adverse events experienced by recipients.
AZ’s Covid vaccine stands as the most frequent vaccine the British government has compensated victims for since its approval for emergency supply in December 2020. Data obtained via Freedom of Information request (FOI) reveal that out of 148 payments so far made out to victims, or victims of the bereaved, 144 have gone to AZ recipients.
In 2021, there were 186,393 “serious reports” of adverse reactions logged in the U.K.’s adverse reaction database Yellow Card. A significant portion of these involved blood clots and cardiac-related injuries:
The Telegraph downplayed such dangers in their reporting, with the outlet’s Chief Reporter Robert Mendick stating:
“Independent studies show the AstraZeneca vaccine was incredibly effective in tackling the pandemic, saving more than six million lives globally in the first year of the rollout.
Last year, the World Health Organisation said the vaccine was ‘safe and effective for all individuals aged 18 and above’ and that the adverse effect that has prompted the legal action was ‘very rare’”.
However, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) admitted lacking a process for assessing Covid vaccine adverse event causes.
In August 2022, former British civil servant Nick Hunt discovered via FOI requests that not only does MHRA not have a procedure for following up Yellow Card reports (the vaccine adverse event self-report system) but they routinely fail to obtain critical information needed to appropriately investigate deaths and serious side-effects. Information absent from their records includes age of the subject, his or her medical records, time between administration and death or injury, vaccine batch data, etc.
So claims that the AZ vaccine has only killed 81 people and injured hundreds more, as MHRA admits, could well be as inaccurate as when then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock said during a government meeting in late 2020:
“The data so far on this (AZ) vaccine suggests that there will be no adverse reactions, and so no liability”.
The lawyers representing Jamie and Alpa’s widow have not disclosed exactly what data they intend to use in their case. But another major component might rest on AZ’s clinical trials.
In August, The Health Advisory and Recovery Team (HART) re-analysed the company's trial data and found that they excluded infections in the "vaccinated group" if they recorded them within the first 2 weeks post-injection. Additionally, the company failed to reduce infection rates in Stage 1 trials involving Rhesus monkeys, replaced the traditional saline placebo with a meningococcal vaccine, and limited their monitoring of certain types of adverse events to only 28 days.
Here’s a simplified breakdown of HART’s findings:
The Players Involved in AZ’s Development, Approval, and Rollout:
Awareness of blood clot issues emerged in January 2021. Days after MHRA approved the AZ vaccine. Dr. Stephen Wright, a front-line health worker who had been offered the jab in the first wave of the rollout, died 10 days after receiving it.
Two months later, in March, the Danish government, along with the Austrian, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Italian governments, all temporarily halted the rollout of AZ’s product following increased reports of negative side effects relating to blood clots.
It was then, when Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Innovation at the Department of Health and Social Care, Lord James Bethell, texted close pal Matt Hancock:
“[AZ] are now really frazzled. Briefings from all corners, first DC [Washington], now Bx [Brussels]. They’re worried that they might be thrown under the bus by FCDO [Foreign Office]. They accept that their comms are a bit clunky, and they misjudged some things like clinical trials data and manufacturing, partly because they’ve not done a vaccine before. But they’re feeling at the end of their tether. Need a big hug: you are our national champion…”
This is the same Bethell, who, months ago, during a debate in the House of Lords, urged his fellow members to add a provision in the Online Safety Bill to pressure social media companies to help hinder the proliferation of “health misinformation”.
His proposal involved measures to restrict the monetisation of content by citizen journalists and experts, such as those from the Health Advisory and Recovery Team (HART), who were working to expose and correct what is now recognised as misinformation related to vaccine transmission and infection efficacy. He said:
“We should also be considering whether back-end payment mechanisms, including payment intermediaries, donation collection services and storefront support, should be used to monetise health misinformation and enable bad actors. During the pandemic, the platforms endorsed the principle that no company should be profiting from Covid-19 vaccine misinformation, for instance. It is vital that this is considered as part of the platforms’ response to health misinformation. We should have transparency about whether platforms such as PayPal and Google are accepting donations, membership or merchandise payments from known misinformation businesses.”
Naturally, Matt Hancock endorsed the idea.
Another figure pivotal to the AZ rollout is Dame June Raine. Raine, as head of MHRA, has been subject to an enormous amount of criticism.
In April 2021, Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, a pro-vaccine psychologist at the University of Bristol, who studied the rollout of Covid vaccines, said:
“The MHRA was slow in responding to the emergence of a specific constellation of symptoms associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine and slow to communicate what they were finding – and I am not the only one who thinks so.”
From Dr Wright’s passing, it took Raine three months to alter guidance. She blamed the delay on an insensitive surveillance system that did not pick up on the safety signal. On April 7th 2021, the UK ceased offering the AZ vaccine to under 30s. Another month on, MHRA extended that to include under 40s.
Note Raine authorised the product even though clinical trials were not due to be completed until February 2023.
During a talk at Oxford University last year, she talked about how MHRA had transformed into an “enabler” rather than traditional “watchdog” under her leadership. MHRA is now a government body, according to Raine, that “helps keep people alive” rather than “stops government from killing people”.
Speaking to The Telegraph last month, Canadian-British immunologist and geneticist Sir John Bell characterised Hancock as AZ’s greatest champion.
Leaked Whatsapp messages revealed that when Hancock knew of AZ’s blood clot dangers and MHRA’s intention to alter advice in 2021, he raised the issued with Boris Johnson’s Chief of Staff, characterising MHRA’s move as a “threat”.
Prior to this, an anonymous Downing street source unmasked how Hancock was particularly concerned with media optics. Among several revelations, the source told The Telegraph that Hancock wanted to rush announcements and became annoyed when vaccine responsibility shifted to another department, which Hancock labelled a “land grab”.
Like Bethell, Hancock is a vocal critic of “vaccine misinformation”. Curiously, in 2019, Hancock publicly lauded Instagram and Pinterest for suppressing vaccine-sceptical content, which included posts about vaccine injuries. On May 24th 2023, he supplemented his criticism with a sarcastic video on his TikTok profile mocking “anti-vaxxers”. This was while excess death levels continued to spike and news broke of further vaccine injuries at various inquests across the country.
AZ, in partnership with the University of Oxford announced a “landmark agreement” for the development of a Covid vaccine in April 2020. But development had already begun in mid-January due to a coincidental meet in a shared taxi between Oxford Vaccine group head Andrew Pollard and a modeller who worked for the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.
We are told because of this encounter the Jenner Institute, the organisation Oxford University and AZ collaborated with, started pumping millions into Covid vaccine development before the risks associated with Covid were clear.
Pollard actively collaborates with the Gates Foundation. In 2020, the University of Oxford, Pollard's employer, secured $11 million from the foundation for vaccine development research. In the past decade, the university has received $208 million in grants.
The other key figure central to AZ’s incredibly fast development and emergency approval is lead vaccine researcher Sarah Gilbert.
Gilbert has received widespread acclaim and recognition for her contributions to the development of AZ’s vaccine. Her achievements have been celebrated through various honors, including a damehood, a standing ovation at Wimbledon, and a Barbie doll created in her image.
In a BBC interview in December 2020, Gilbert expressed strong confidence in the early approval of the AZ vaccine, predicting a high likelihood of its rollout by the year's end. This optimism was mirrored in the ambitions of AZ and Vaccitech, a company Gilbert co-founded to commercialise vaccines developed by the Jenner Institute. Their goal was to position their Covid vaccine as a leading choice for the developing world. Initially, their efforts were lauded by media and governmental bodies as altruistic, especially considering their commitment to offering the vaccine at significantly lower prices compared to those of Pfizer and Moderna.
In reality, this turned out to be nothing but a facade of charity as Gilbert and co later “decided” they would take profits. She would stand to profit in the millions as she kept an estimated 10 per cent stake in Vaccitech. And she wouldn’t be the only one to profit as Vaccitech’s main investors included the likes of former top Deutsche Bank executives, the UK government and Silicon Valley behemoth Google.
Google, which owns YouTube, would go on to censor content that cast a negative light on the Covid vaccines, highlighted Covid’s low fatality risk and provided information on effective, cheap treatments like Ivermectin.
What Will Come of the Lawsuit?
Unique to the victims’ case is the use of the Consumer Protection Act. The aim is to circumvent indemnity the UK government gave to AZ. The victims have said they want justice, which one would assume includes achieving an admission of guilt. But it would not be surprising if it was a shakedown of sorts.
The outcome entirely rests on the wishes, as it should, of the victims. It could well turn out that the government steps in to quash the lawsuit with a generous settlement. The longer this drags on for them, the more likely the public will learn of the government’s financial conflict of interest and the curious circumstances surrounding the product’s development and approval - not to mention the rushed safety trials.
Scott-Moncrieff & Associates, who is representing Jamie and Alpa’s Widow Anish, reportedly has another 78 claimants waiting in the wings.
Both victims are in need of financial support to help with legal expenses. If you can and want to contribute, I’d suggest contacting Scott-Moncrieff & Associates.
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