Urgent Plea by Doctors to India’s PM: “Halt Roll-Out of COVID-19 Vaccines Now”

(Colin Todhunter, OffGuardian) Indian Doctors for Truth (IDT) have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressing the importance of an urgent need to stop the overzealous universal vaccination drive against COVID-19.

Twenty doctors have signed the letter and highlight numerous scientific data about immunity achieved by the Indian population among both adults and children in light of the latest sero-survey done by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi along with the World Health Organization.

Based on the evidence, IDT urges the PM to immediately stop the drive for vaccination of the entire population and limit it to voluntary vaccination of only those above 60 years and/or people with severe degree of comorbidity.

The letter itself runs to five pages but the signatories enclosed 21 pages of references and evidence in support of their claims. What is presented below is a summary of some of the key points made in the five-page letter. The full letter and list of signatories can be read on the Awaken India Movement website.

The doctors argue that the first principle of medicine is to do no harm and to benefit patients. They point out that the vaccination drive is doing more harm than any good for the people of India and present the PM with scientific facts about SARS-CoV-2 related immunity and vaccination.

Those who have recovered from COVID-19 develop robust and long-lasting immunity against SARS-CoV-2, even after mild or asymptomatic infections. The chances of reinfection among these people, including from the emerging variants of the same virus, are extremely rare or non-existent. The WHO in its interim guidance released on 2 July 2021 has also recognised the fact of acquired immunity in all those who have had previous infection with SARS-CoV-2.

There is no evidence to show that those who have recovered from the infection will get any additional benefit from vaccination.

The epidemiology of COVID-19 in India is very different from other countries and varies much within the country itself: there are differences between urban and rural communities and between socioeconomic strata. There is therefore a need for policies that address prevention of COVID-19, including the policy on vaccination, which account for the situation in India.

According to available reports, the percentage of the population infected in the US, UK and similar countries is at 1-23%. In India, recent sero-surveys at Delhi and Mumbai have reported a positivity of 50-70%, indicating that a significant proportion of Indians have already been infected and will therefore not need the vaccine.

A number of reports have been published stressing that India has already achieved herd immunity. Mathematical models have explained what percentage of a population is required to be infected and varies for different populations: the disease-induced herd immunity level can be as low as 43%.

The case fatality rate (CFR) is usually reported by the government: the number of deaths per 100 confirmed cases as detected by antigen or rt-PCR test. But as renowned epidemiologist Dr John Ioannidis shows, the proper way of counting death rate in diseases with a CFR less than five is infection mortality rate.

Therefore, considering the fact of high level of infections in India, near herd immunity and very low levels of infection fatality rates, vaccinating the entire population will not serve any purpose. Moreover, given the negligible risk to children from COVID-19, trial of the vaccines for them or even consideration of approval is highly unethical.

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