PAUSE, REFLECT & CLARIFY on Singapore COVID-19 Vacc Exercise for Students under 18 yrs
PAUSE, REFLECT & CLARIFY on Singapore COVID-19 Vacc Exercise for Students under 18 yrs
PETITION CLOSED AFTER 1,080 signors in less than 2 days.
We feel we have made a difference to support fellow parents in speaking out our real concerns.
Please see UPDATES (section below) for our reasons post 18 Jun email/Parent Gateway update from schools. Find us at https://t.me/SGConcernedParents
We refer to the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) announcement dated 31 May 2021 regarding the administration of COVID-19 vaccine for children in Singapore, and the Annex providing information on the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccination exercise is marketed as a voluntary exercise where parents were told that they need to register their children if they wish for their child to be vaccinated.
On 15 June 2021, schools seem to have alerted parents that students who have not booked their appointments may join the school facilitated exercise where kids will be bussed to the vaccination centres. Meanwhile on the same day, schools with P6 students posted on the Parent Gateway, a school-home partnership portal, that MOE will be block booking COVID-19 vaccination slots “for eligible P6 children who had turned 12 on 6 Jul 2021 or earlier in Term 3” (which is scheduled to end 3 Sep 2021). The school “will bus these students to an MOE Vaccination Centre between 6-9 July for the 1st dose, followed by the 2nd dose sometime in August.” This poorly worded notice further addressed that this bussing policy is specified only for those who have NOT booked appointments via the National Appointment System (NAS).
Even though the vaccination drive is supposedly voluntary, there is NO means to elect for a parental non-consent option online or on attached forms; save to NOT Respond entirely to the first self-booking sms link and subsequent bussing offer.
On top of that, some schools require return of a blank consent form (for the first self-booking exercise). Does silence not already indicate non-consent? Why are non-consenting parents and their children as young as 12 being forced to “explain” their freely made position in terms of the return of a blank form? Was it that hard to make space for one “non-consent” option?
This subsequent cajoling of these parents through block booking does not sit well with us ethically. Is this latest policy move to initiate bussing of children who have NOT made appointments (thus, already associated with NO parental consent in the first self-registration phase) not conflict with the spirit of the voluntary exercise?
Given the poorly worded notice, there may also be regulatory challenges to this new bussing policy. The Pzifer-BioNtech COVID-19 Vaccine under Pandemic Special Access Route (Singapore HSA) and Emergency Access Authorisation (US FDA) approvals are for children 12 years or older. Will this imply that the authorities intend to plant 1st dose in July for P6 children who have not yet turned 12 and go the extent of 2nd completion dose in August even for P6 children who may not have turned 12 by end of Term 3, i.e. 3 Sep 2021? Do clarify.
We now voice these concerns as there are parents who are in the same ANXIOUS predicament. Please note our families do not have anti-vax stance. A majority of adults in our families have taken the COVID-19 vaccines.
However, we hold legitimate concerns that there exist medical and moral risks to vaccinate our children. We believe that the references below are currently the best articulation from non-consenting concerned parents.
We are concerned that these parents and their children who have not reached age of presumed consent (under 18 years) are being unethically pressured out of their own opinion. We are also concerned that even younger children are next in line. In our view, the government and/or school administrators, with the most recent messaging, have gone a step too far in applying their behavioural nudges.
Our concerns are referenced as follows:
- Our concerns with the present COVID-19 vaccination exercise mirror many of those articulated in the speculative 2021 paper titled “Worse Than the Disease? Reviewing Some Possible Unintended Consequences of the mRNA Vaccines Against COVID-19” published in the International Journal of Vaccine Theory, Practice, and Research. The intended biological response to these vaccines, including production of the spike protein itself, and their potential relationship to a wide range of both acute and long-term induced pathologies, such as blood disorders, neurodegenerative diseases and autoimmune diseases was discussed in relevance to prion-protein-related amino acid sequences within the spike protein.
- In particular, we note with concern the presence of “fragmented species” of RNA in the injection solution of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. These fragments arise from errors in the manufacturing process. This was disclosed publicly in the European Medicines Agency Public Assessment Report on the Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine (EMA). To quote from page 35 of the EMA Report: “These [fragmented RNA] forms are poorly characterised, and the limited data provided for protein expression do not fully address the uncertainties relating to the risk of translating proteins/peptides other than the intended spike protein”.
- Indeed, as asserted by the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine Factsheet issued by the US FDA (revised 19 May 2021), there exists the risk of "additional adverse reactions, some of which may be serious, [that] may become apparent with more widespread use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine”. A further risk warning adds that “Serious and unexpected side effects may occur. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is still being studied in clinical trials”.
- We also note the 09 June 2021 report by the French National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE). The CCNE Report raises pressing intergenerational ethical concerns regarding the French Government’s decision to vaccinate adolescents. These concerns arise, inter alia, from the fact that infected adolescents often have less severe forms of COVID-19 which may skew their personal risk-benefit assessment against vaccination.
- The 05 June 2021 essay by Oxford scholars titled “Pfizer jab approved for children, but first other people need to be vaccinated” reminds that this risk-benefit trade-off is dependent on how likely individuals are to become seriously ill from the infection, how effective the vaccine is, and the risks of vaccination. It assesses that the “duty of easy rescue” in achieving herd immunity applies only if an intervention is low risk so it would not be morally fair to impose that duty on children who face extended residual uncertainty of experimental vaccine safety profile against potentially inconclusive outcomes when virus variants can evade antibody protection.
- Moreover, as the CCNE Report argues, the present scientific experience does not allow for ensuring the full safety of these new vaccines in adolescents in the long term. This is especially pertinent since our children statistically have long lives ahead of them. The Oxford essay further concludes that COVID vaccines may overall not be in children’s best interests and COVID vaccination campaigns in high income countries should not include children in the foreseeable future.
- We believe that many of the concerns and the deleterious repercussions on the pediatric population articulated in the above citations can be applied to the present vaccination exercise initiated by the Singapore Government.
Thus, given the forgoing medical and moral risks together with our latest observations on the National COVID-19 Vaccination Exercise for Students, we parents and grandparents are compelled to call for relevant authorities to PAUSE, REFLECT and CLARIFY so we can trust that the government's ongoing policy actions have been well thought out and in the best interests of our precious children.
Concerned Parents and Grandparents from SINGAPORE
- Seneff, S., & Nigh, G. (2021). Worse Than the Disease? Reviewing Some Possible Unintended Consequences of the mRNA Vaccines Against COVID-19. International Journal of Vaccine Theory, Practice, and Research, 2(1), 38–79. Retrieved from
https://ijvtpr.com/index.php/IJVTPR/article/view/23 (Original work published 10 May 2021)
- EMA Public Assessment Report on Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine. Accessed 16 June 2021.
- Factsheet for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine (Vaccination Providers) (revised 19 May 2021)
- CCNE Opinion: Ethical issues relating to vaccination against Covid-19 of children and adolescents (Response to the referral from the Minister of Solidarity and Health) (French) (Paris 9 June 2021) Accessed 15 June 2021.
- Pfizer jab approved for children, but first other people need to be vaccinated. Dominic Wilkinson, Jonathan Pugh, Julian Savulescu (University of Oxford, 5 June 2021) Accessed 15 June 2021
- File photo of a healthcare worker preparing a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Singapore. (File photo: Jeremy Long) , CNA