The Blame Game & Child Vax: VAER
Part III looks at VAER Dumpster dives were an anti-vax tactic pre- pandemic
In the UK, teenagers returned to school for the start of term in September unvaccinated after the UK’s immunisation body JCVI held off on the decision to offer vaccination to the majority of 12-15 year olds. The decision was passed to Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitey to make.
Concerns with the evidence base the JCVI relied on were covered in The Blame Game Part II.
Independent polling during the summer had estimated 90% of parents supported having their child vaccinated, but since then hesitancy has increased. One of the main factors contributing to this are concerns about myocarditis. This had briefly been mentioned by a few members of the JCVI but it was an article in the Telegraph promoting a US pre-print that ramped up the fear of myocarditis with what appeared to be alarming statistics.
The article was written by Camilla Turner, the #HARTleaks reveal Ros Jones saying Turning had been brilliant for Us For Them, working with them since May 2020.
In April 2021 members of Us For Them, HART, UK Medical Freedom Alliance, Lawyers for Liberty, with individuals like Anna Brees and various journalists decided they were going to do all they could to prevent children being offered the vaccine. The small group would work through multiple organisations, including several legal challenges demonstrating the interconnected nature of these groups. There was no intention to wait until more data was available.
By August the Safer to Wait campaign had been launched, followed by the Children’s Covid Vaccine Advisory Council, both groups were founded by Ros Jones.
Camilla Turner’s Telegraph article was published shortly after the pre-print study was released online and appears to have been the first coverage of the study by a mainstream news outlet.
The study had been rejected from three journals before its authors posted it on the pre-print server. Serious concerns were raised about the study for its misuse of VAER data to draw a correlation.
A more detailed analysis of the study by an expert in the relevant field is in the thread below.
The study was withdrawn in October but by then it was too late. The VAER dumpster dive’s dodgy statistics had been splashed across the media as Chris Whitey approved the roll out of vaccination for 12-15 year olds. Even paediatricians from the Royal College of Paediatric Care and Health had the poor judgement to promote the study.
Russel Viner, immediate past president of the RCPCH was brought in to advise the UK Government’s scientific advisory group SAGE after producing a systematic review in April 2020 that concluded that children played a negligible role in transmission. Each time just before a decision was about to be made regarding offering vaccines to younger age groups he would produce an article and appear in media arguing against the vaccination.
The release of the study and the disproportionate amount of attention given in papers, broadcast and social media could not have occurred at a worse time. Shortly afterwards Chris Whitey approved the vaccine roll out for 12-15 year olds, and those opposed to the decision continuously quoted the VAER study as though it was fact, this included many journalists.
The VAER Dumpster Divers
The lead name on the questionable VAER study was Tracy Hoeg. In the US Hoeg built a reputation as an expert on covid in schools based on a rapidly released paper criticising the CDC that was promoted by Republican politician Mitch McConnell’s Republican Leader site, however questions have been raised regarding what research had actually been conducted for the paper.
Hoeg was also found to be misrepresenting her credentials, claiming to be affiliated with prestigious UC Davis School of Medicine.
Hoeg has appeared at events as an epidemiologist at UC Davis to argue against measures to reduce infection in schools. The AFT is a US teaching union, members of the union also raised complaints about Jay Bhattacharya after he defended the Great Barrington Declarations strategy to allow children to be infected by saying that not that many teachers would die, estimating a death rate of 2 per 1,000 for teachers in their 40’s.
After other academics couldn’t find mention of Hoeg on UC Davis’s website the university was contacted regarding Hoeg’s position.
“Dr Tracy Hoeg is not with UC Davis”, but Hoeg states she is on the myocarditis paper. Was this done to add more weight to the paper’s claims?
Questions have also been raised regarding Hoeg presenting herself as an epidemiologist.
At the time Josh Stevenson was a member of the organisation Rational Ground, although his name has now been removed from the Team section of the website. Previously Rational Ground had been accused of using anti-vax messaging, but much of the website also has been removed, migrating over to a substack. What is left is mainly focused on removing measures from schools and promoting the Great Barrington Declaration.
Another Rational Ground member is Todd Kenyon who is also in Pandata.
Pandata members include the GBD authors, former Trump advisers Scott Atlas and Paul Alexander, Republican politician Scott Jensen, Patrick Fagan former head psychologist of Cambridge Analytica, Stacey Rubin of AIER, Peter McCullough and Rodger Hodkinson and anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists like Michael Yeadon and Sucharitt Bhakdi.
Full details on Pandata here
Pandata & HART
The #HARTleaks show the level of coordination between Pandata and HART.
In April 2021 they were going through unverified data taken from VAERS, trying to get the data to fit the message they wanted. When they struggled to get a high enough number for vaccine deaths to suit their purpose, they chose to “couch their words”.
By May they were dredging unverified VAERS to produce data for under 18s. There is a reason HART members don’t try to have their work published in respected peer reviewed journals.
Meanwhile Patrick Fagan formally of Cambridge Analytica was using his behavioural science expertise to provide advice on how to discourage teenagers from being vaccinated.
Ros Jones says she knows vaccines will kill more children than covid, she also points out she doesn’t have any hard data to back up this assumption. This is how HART operate, its inverse to science, they work out the result they want and then mangle the data until it appears to fit their views.
HART members even discussed how to make the language in the resources they were putting together for various groups as emotive as possible.
These conversations about VAERS dumpster dives will have been around the same time as Hoeg will have been failing to get her own VAERS based paper into a journal. A few weeks before Hoeg’s pre-print was released HART published their own report on myocarditis which which was promoted by Lucy Johnson, the Daily Express’ Health Editor.
That the health editor of a major UK newspaper isn’t just promoting disinformation groups but is helping to plan meetings between then and MPs and other journalists demonstrates again the role the media have played in encouraging anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists.
Ellen (Townsend) mentioned in the chat as another organiser has been working with Us For Them and was a HART member, she is now in Collateral Global.
A recap on the plan in May 2021.
The lawyers were preparing legal challenges before a decision had been made on vaccinating children. While planning injunctions against the vaccine roll out, they also aimed to create an atmosphere so inhospitable and threatening for individual school leaders that schools wouldn’t be able to be used as “jab centres” as HART describe them. They also sought to extend the hesitancy they had created over covid to other vaccines.
The Lawyers for Liberty letter was promoted by Lucy Johnson. Once again there was the claim children were going to be vaccinated without parents being informed. This hasn’t happened but its about creating fear and anger, remember they are being advised by Fagan of Cambridge Analytica.
A few days later the Daily Express promoted the Lawyers for Liberty letter.
This led to the letter being picked up by other news outlets, which allowed it to reach a much wider guidance. It didn’t matter if the letter received criticism from sources like the BBC, this was about enraging the anti-vax base.
School leaders received multiple letters from various organisations including Us For Them, UK Medical Freedom Alliance, Lawyers for Liberty, Workers Union of England, which might appear to be a huge groundswell of public opinion when in reality these letters have all come from the same small group of people.
Lawyers for Liberty set up an automated email form to make it easier to bombard school leaders. Most letters schools received were not from parents with children at their schools.
At this time the leader of Lawyers for Liberty changed to Anna de Buisseret.
Here is Anna de Buisseret with conspiracy theorist Kate Shemirani who infamously called for the hanging of nurses at a protest in Trafalgar Square in August 2020.
The exaggeration of myocarditis proved a rallying call to militant anti-vaxxers, leading to an increase in threatening and abusive behaviour as mobs gathered outside school gates in the UK. September and October 2021 saw a period of many schools feeling almost like they were under siege, it was a massive safeguarding issue with hostile strangers trying to break into school buildings whilst the students were in. Anti-vaxxers were going up to school fences at lunch times to either hand out leaflets or shout abuse at the pupils. Two schools even had to be evacuated after hoax bomb threats were made.
The publicity of the Hoeg study in the UK damaged confidence in the vaccine, and fears of myocarditis have seen been extended towards adults in regards to boosters. As large sections of the UK media decided not to explain VAERS data is unverified, they have continued to quote other VAERS dumpster dives, adding to people’s doubt. The journalists choosing to continue quoting such data either do not understand what they are reporting or are deliberately undermining the vaccine.
This continues in mainstream papers, on TalkRadio, GB News and elsewhere. Many of the “journalists” involved are directly working with these interconnected groups so its no surprise to see them jump to each other’s defence after the Counter Disinformation Project’s recent report on Us For Them has led to a wave of abusive and threatening behaviour. The question must be asked how such accounts keep their blue tick status on Twitter, and why do the editors of programmes and papers think these are the best people to provide the public with commentary on politics and the news.
They are encouraging the conspiracy theorists, using the same language, do they recognise the consequences? In the US the energy of the anti-vax movement merged into Stop the Steal and resulted in insurrection on 6 January.