Neil Oliver: I'm convinced I’m living through a waking Covid nightmare that never ends and keeps getting worse

Follow the science – except when it doesn’t get you what you want when you should ignore the science.

Published Last updated

Am I only the person spending every hour all but convinced I’m living through a waking nightmare that never ends and keeps getting worse?

Am I the only one? I think not.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation ruled that healthy 12-15-year-olds should not – let me repeat that for emphasis, should not – get Covid injections.

They went on record saying the benefit to those children’s health did not outweigh the risks of side effects. The JCVI stressed, I should add, that they had only assessed medical data. They did not balance medical concerns with wider societal concerns such as schooling, which is not their speciality.

For me, it is cut and dried and ought to have been the end of the matter. Follow the science, they’ve told us, all along. But, after weeks of political pressure brought to bear upon an independent advisory body, its members arguably did all they could by recommending against the injections.

The JCVI recommended seeking further advice and Health secretary Sajid Javid has now asked chief medical officer Chris Whitty to get a second opinion. Presumably, I suspect, that translates as, “Find me anyone with a PhD and a white coat who’ll go on record saying jabbing kids is the best way to go.”

Sajid Javid has asked Whitty to consider “non-health benefits” like avoiding disruption to education. Let me once again repeat for emphasis, The Health secretary – the HEALTH secretary – wants to big up NON-health benefits.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson has said offering the medical procedure – initially given rapid authorisation thanks to a “rolling review” process, coupled with the emergency political powers the government is getting ready to award itself for another six months – would be “deeply reassuring” for parents.

Is that right, Gavin, “deeply reassuring”?

Let me, at least, say – “Not to this parent.”

But let’s rewind a little bit - “non-health benefits”.

We are talking here about 12-15-year-old children. Unformed, still growing children with their whole lives ahead of them. I have said, and many others – though frankly not nearly enough others – have said we have no data about the long-term consequences of these injections.

In July the JCVI acknowledged that there was a risk of heart inflammation for youngsters given the Pfizer and Moderna jabs. Covid can make children ill, I keep hearing from those with the needles in their hands.

Between March 2020 and February 2021 official figures show 6,338 hospital admissions for covid in England, were for people under 18. Fewer than 300 needed intensive care. Of the 25 under 18s who died from covid, almost all had underlying health problems. And still the politicians and their so-called experts are bloody mindedly setting up to jab children anyway.

Follow the science. Remember that empty, hollow line. Follow the science – open brackets, except when it doesn’t get you what you want, when you should ignore the science, close brackets.

The JCVI hadn’t even made their recommendation before the government had recruited thousands of jabbers anyway – and had the schools allocate space for the vaccination of their charges. What is pathetically plain to me – pathetic in the extreme – is that our government feels left behind by the enthusiasm already demonstrated by other nations for getting needles into as many young arms as possible.

Everyone else is getting to jab children, so why can’t we, they say to each other. Among much tried and tested advice my wife and I dole out to our kids when they complain about being stopped from doing something that “everyone else is doing,” is that good old line “just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t make it right. If everyone was jumping off a cliff, would you do that too?”

Every day I am awash with emotions – despair, anger, anxiety, disbelief. Increasingly part of the mix is betrayal. I struggle to believe I spent nearly 54 years trusting all manner of figures. I had little time for politicians as a species – showbiz for ugly people, and all that – but I grudgingly accepted they were people keen to serve the public and who had, crucially, my best interests at heart.

I don’t think that anymore. Not. At. All.

Much more than I trusted governments, I trusted doctors. All doctors. I’m sorry to say it, but I don’t trust all doctors any more either.

I feel betrayed by the media – which is ironic, given that I work in the media – but sometimes you have to be inside the tent to see what’s really going on in there.

The mass of the mass media – here in Great Britain and around the world – seems to me to have been whipping up fear and gaslighting dissenters from the get go. I struggle to find news I can trust. Government propaganda though? That appears to me, to be everywhere. I don’t trust the headlines. I don’t trust the billboards. I don’t trust the public information broadcasts on tv and radio.

For relief from the nightmare – however brief – I remind myself that Covid poses little risk to the vast majority of people. It’s as simple as that and no one in a white coat can possibly deny it.

I predict that when enough time has passed and other generations look back on these months, they will use this awful story to teach their children about hubris. Along came a virus. Politicians wanted to be seen to be beating it. Some scientists told those politicians they knew how it could be done. Except it seems plain to me if to no one else that they didn’t know how and now the politicians seem to me to be playing politics with children’s lives.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I think they want to make a wall of children so the grown-ups can cower behind it. Where is the morality in such a move?

Here’s the thing: Let’s say, for argument, that children faced an identical risk from Covid and from the vaccine. If a child catches Covid and dies, that is random chance and tragic, and very, very bad luck. But no one has done anything to them. If one child – just one child – is vaccinated and dies of side effects, then that death is the result of a medical intervention. Very different. Very, very different.

I say too that for the longest time, in my opinion at least, this hasn’t been about a virus, and public health.

Too many politicians are living the dream – awarding themselves more and more power, more and more control over our lives. For those who, by nature, enjoy telling other people what to do, this pandemic has been a boom time.

Speaking for myself, I have no inclination whatever to tell others what to do with their lives.

I am, however, by nature, inclined to have real big problems with any elected official who feels empowered to tell me what to do with mine, far less with my kids.