The UK vaccine watchdog is facing calls from scientists and its own members for more transparency on recommendations to vaccinate children against COVID-19.
The Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization (JCVI) has been criticized for failing to publish the detailed minutes, modeling and analysis behind its decision to recommend vaccination for all ages in the UK over 16 but 12 to 15. Not aged people.
A JCVI insider told Granthshala It was “regrettable” that the public was still waiting for written evidence, while Professor Christina Pagel, Director of the Clinical Operational Research Unit at University College London, said the limited data made it “impossible to understand” how the committee did had concluded that it could not support child vaccination.
“They don’t give you enough estimates or allow you to understand how they came to their decision,” she said. “Or how does it relate to the fact that we’ve seen so many hospitalizations this summer among unvaccinated children.”
Other modeling and minutes of key summer meetings during which COVID vaccine advice was prepared and provided to the government have also not been published by JCVI. The last COVID-specific meeting from which the minutes are available to the public was held on February 16.
The committee’s code of practice states that it aims to issue minutes, statements and papers within six weeks of the meeting.
The JCVI source said “significant concerns” about “our apparent lack of transparency and timeliness relating to the committee’s minutes” had been raised internally throughout the summer.
“The committee is not at all favorable in the eyes of the media and public due to lack of written evidence and discussion/conclusion,” the member said.
Experts agree that access to the minutes, modeling and internal analysis will help counter any lingering ambiguity around the JCVI’s recommendations – particularly with regard to advice on child immunization – but also clarify That’s why the committee took a different and slower approach to other vaccine watchdogs.
The UK was months behind the likes of France, the US and Israel in approving the vaccination of young children, as the government waited for the JCVI to advise it. It finally concluded last month that the “margin of profit is considered too small to support” the postponement of vaccination by 12 to 15 years and Britain’s chief medical officers, who approved the policy.
As part of its review in Immunization of Children, the JCVI published an analysis exploring the benefits of vaccination against covid against the risk of developing an inflammation of the heart known as myocarditis.
But Prof Pagel said the written evidence and calculations behind this analysis were missing, making it “difficult to work out how they came to the view that vaccines offered only modest benefits when we knew it was much more than that.” is more”.
“There is a delay in vaccinating children in the UK and there is a lot of hesitation about it,” he said. “People cite JCVI and the fact that they said it is not really beneficial. So we need to understand how JCVI came to this conclusion, because it is different from other countries.
“The whole process is designed and really harmful,” Prof Pagel said, “with some children and their parents not sure whether to consent to vaccination as a result.
Dr Stephen Griffin, a virologist at the University of Leeds, said the “ambiguity” that has arisen in recent weeks is “being used as a weapon by people who oppose the vaccine”.
Government analysis obtained by Granthshala show that the UK population is the most willing to receive a COVID booster in Europe, but far more cautious about vaccinating children.
“Why is this a case? It doesn’t help that the JCVI hasn’t been more transparent about its data, or that it’s uniform in decision-making,” said Susan Mitchie, professor of health psychology at University College London.
“Openness is really important in science. In order to have public confidence in the policy decisions that are being made, they have a right to be told what the basis of those decisions are. If that’s not shared, it’s undermines trust.
“There are a large number of uncertainties surrounding Covid and will continue to be so. But where there are uncertainties or differences, it is even more important that everyone is open about the basis behind their thinking.”
Prior to April, when the minutes of the February 16 meeting were released, the JCVI regularly provided documents and evidence to support its recommendations. Publishing its priority list for COVID-19 vaccination in December, the committee continued the modeling and discussion around the policy.
But as more demands have been placed on the committee over the past year, it has become difficult for the members and staff to stay on top of administrative duties, the JCVI liaison said.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /