Overnight, several of PANDA’s Scientific Advisory Board members resigned on the assumption that PANDA is against vaccines. The spirit of the times is such that academics are under significant pressure to disassociate themselves from organisations that are perceived to contradict the prevailing narrative of large institutions.
PANDA’s actual position on vaccines remains unchanged since published on 22 January 2021 in a document titled, “You Asked, We Answered”:
What is PANDA’s position on COVID-19 vaccines?
PANDA supports the use of safe and efficacious vaccines as part of a focused protection strategy. Transparency of all efficacy and safety data for vaccines is crucial for informed consent and bodily autonomy must be respected at all times. Mandatory vaccines have no place in a free society.
Who should get the vaccine?
While anyone can get infected, there is more than a thousand-fold difference in mortality between older and younger people. When vaccines are in short supply, older high-risk individuals should be prioritized to reduce both hospitalizations and mortality. To minimize the risk that older people get infected, it is also important to offer the vaccine to nursing home and hospital staff. As for any medical intervention, individuals should always consult with their physician to weigh potential benefits and harms. A given individual’s risk tolerance and choices about taking a vaccine will vary, person to person.”
The above statements were reviewed by our Scientific Advisory Board members and are consistent with many of their public statements.
In response to a widespread push for vaccine passports, PANDA has also made the following points:
- COVID-19 presents a high risk of severe illness and death to the elderly with multiple comorbidities and a negligible risk to the majority of the population. It is unethical to push for mass vaccination of people at low risk from COVID-19, including children, young people and those who have already recovered from it. The latter already have broader immunity than the vaccine provides.
- Vaccines are only indicated when the intervention clearly represents a greater benefit than risk. Those at high risk of serious complications or death from COVID-19 should be offered a safe and efficacious vaccine as part of a focused protection strategy.
- The use of coercion or social pressure in vaccination programs disregards informed consent and bodily integrity. This poor public health policy will undermine trust in vaccine programs. Mandatory vaccines and vaccine passports have no place in a free society.
PANDA’s position on scientific engagement remains one of endorsing a process of open science. The invasion of the academy by a culture that stifles debate is deeply antithetical to the growth of knowledge and progress. We are committed to upholding freedom of speech and opposing censorship.
PANDA has never been “anti-vaxx”. PANDA remains aligned with the perspectives of our former Scientific Advisory Board members as they pertain to lockdowns, focused protection strategies and the role of vaccination within focused protection strategies. PANDA will continue to promote their views. PANDA now counts hundreds of members, including scientists, who will continue to produce the quality analysis lauded by the members of the Scientific Advisory Board. The role of the Scientific Advisory Board will be subsumed into the organisation.