WHO’s Endorsement and Lack of Parental Consent Under ScrutinyThank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
In a recent development, concerns regarding the safety and ethical implications of the Malaria Vaccine, implemented as part of routine immunization in the Republic of Cameroon, have surfaced, raising urgent questions in Nigeria. The discussions surrounding the potential adoption of routine malaria vaccination in other African countries, including Nigeria, have prompted a call for a precautionary approach to ensure safety and adherence to ethical standards, especially concerning parental informed consent.
The RTS,S malaria vaccine, developed by GlaxoSmithKline and funded by the Gates Foundation through the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, underwent extensive clinical studies in the early 2000s. While initial trials indicated a reduction in clinical malaria among children and infants, recent data reveals a decline in vaccine efficacy over time.
Safety and Risks:
Recent clinical trial data has linked the malaria vaccine to increased risks, including an elevated risk of clinical malaria after four years, a tenfold increased risk of cerebral meningitis, an increased risk of cerebral malaria, and a higher risk of death, particularly among female children.
WHO’s Endorsement and Vaccine Safety:
The World Health Organization (WHO) endorsed RTS,S based on the initial two years of a four-year pilot study. This has raised concerns about the transparency of WHO regarding vaccine safety. Notably, the risks of cerebral malaria and female mortality became more apparent after the booster dose at 20 months. Some investigators suggest that WHO, by shortening the follow-up to two years, focused on the period with maximum benefits against malaria and minimized harms, especially in terms of female mortality.
Concerns About Parental Consent:
A significant concern is the potential violation of the right to informed consent, as outlined in a 2014 WHO policy document. The “implied consent process” has raised questions about whether parents are adequately informed and have provided explicit consent for their children’s vaccination.
Call to Action:
Expressing deep concern, Nigerian citizens and stakeholders are urging the National Assembly to address these pressing concerns. The focus is particularly on WHO’s experimentation on African children without proper informed parental consent, posing potential threats to children’s health and fundamental human rights guaranteed under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In a statement, Academician Prince Dr. Philip C. Njemanze MD (Hons), Chairman of the Global Prolife Alliance (GPA) for the Council on National Policies, emphasized the need for a thorough investigation and adherence to ethical standards in vaccine implementation.
As these concerns gain attention, the public awaits the response from authorities to ensure the health and rights of the people of Nigeria. The issue highlights the delicate balance between public health initiatives and the ethical considerations surrounding vaccine safety and informed consent.
Copies of the concerns have been sent to various prominent figures, including HE President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, HE Vice President Senator Kashim Shettima, and heads of international organizations.
1. Ally Olotu et al., “Four-Year Efficacy of RTS,S/AS01E and Its Interaction with Malaria Exposure,” New England Journal of Medicine, March 21, 2013.
2. Peter Aaby et al., “WHO’s rollout of malaria vaccine in Africa: can safety questions be answered after only 24 months?” BMJ, January 24, 2020.
3. Jeremy R. Hammond, “Fact Check: WHO Scientist Caught Lying to Public about Vaccine Safety,” Foreign Policy Journal, February 11, 2020.
4. World Health Organization, “Considerations regarding consent in vaccinating children and adolescents between 6 and 17 years old,” WHO.int, 2014.
5. Peter Doshi, “WHO’s malaria vaccine study represents a ‘serious breach of international ethical standards,'” The BMJ, February 26, 2020.
6. Jeremy R. Hammond, “How Public Vaccine Policy Violates Our Right to Informed Consent,” Foreign Policy Journal, April 27, 2019.