UK’s chief scientific adviser has £600k shareholding in firm contracted to develop vaccines
“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.”― Laurence J. Peter.
Government Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance reportedly holds a bonus of tens of thousands of shares in a pharma giant contracted to make the UK’s Covid-19 vaccine for the government.
This more than just a conflict of interest row, its a matter of trust.
We all understand disaster capitalist will profit from a disaster just like Aesop’s scorpion that’s the nature of the beast but when its or own chief scientific adviser set to make a fortune we must all pause for thought.
Vallance, who also chairs the government’s expert advisory panel on vaccines, appears to have retained over 43,000 shares in GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) – a UK-based multinational pharmaceutical company – worth £600,000, The Telegraph reported.
The shareholding appears to be the legacy of his previous job as the head of research and development at the very same company. Over his tenure from 2012 to 2018, Vallance accumulated a total of 404,201 GSK shares worth a whopping £6.1 million in his hands, according to The Telegraph.
However, he sold more than £5 million worth of shares after being appointed to the government. GSK, meanwhile, has entered the global race to provide the world with a vaccine against coronavirus – alongside some 20 other drug manufacturers and research centers. The endeavor might prove quite lucrative, should the company succeed.
The pharma giant working together with another drug manufacturer – Sanofi – has already struck deals with the UK and the US governments to supply them with a Covid-19 vaccine in case its efforts are fruitful. The contract would see GSK providing as many as 60 million doses to the UK and 100 million doses to the US. Washington already reportedly paid the two companies £1.65 million to accelerate their efforts.
Vaccines have helped mankind to tackle the dire threat of infectious disease for more than a hundred years. They have become key tools of public health and scientists are charged with developing them as quickly as possible to combat the emergence of new diseases such as Zika, SARS, Ebola and Coronavirus. But why are growing numbers of parents all over the world now questioning the wisdom of having their children vaccinated?
Why can’t we trust the multinational corporations that increasingly dominate vaccine development and production?
Feeding the flames the food of conspiracist
Nobody on this site is suggesting this coronavirus pandemic is a hoax of any degree but it should be pointed out and in-depth how conspiracy theories always build and the confusing messages from this Tory government is helping to fan the flames.
No matter how coincidental this all sounds, even in all innocents Sir Patrick Vallance apparent monetary gain does not garner trust from an already uneasy public. A public that is questioning everything about the virus, from its origins to the horrifying projected death tolls.
The UK, indeed the world, has seen huge demonstration from this growing unconvinced group of Coronavirus sceptics, 5G conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers.
All are openly questioning the official statements about the virus, questions have ranged from the need to wear masks to restrictions on our liberties, 5g is not the only conspiracy that has entered this area from the extreme.
No matter how far fetched it seems QAnon is gathering momentum, QAnon is a wide-ranging, unfounded conspiracy theory that says that President Trump is waging a secret war against elite Satan-worshipping paedophiles in government, business and the media.
QAnon believers have speculated that this fight will lead to a day of reckoning where prominent people such as former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be arrested and executed.
Thousands of protesters from across the UK gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square to protest against coronavirus restrictions and reject mass vaccinations.
Guardian journalist asked demonstraters their reason for being there. Amina said she did not trust vaccines, and shared a number of examples of vaccines used in the developing world that she said caused widespread damage. “If you want to profit off the back of my health, then it’s not my health that’s important to you,” she said.
Elisha Edwardes, 36, said she was at the protest “to support the movement for freedom”. “The more I’ve been educated, the less fearful I am,” she said. “If anything I feel more in control. I’m here to create awareness and I feel that the mass majority of people have been deceived. And I think it’s easier to deceive people than convince them they’ve been deceived.
“A lot of the scenarios we’re seeing now don’t make sense and people are not questioning it. The lockdown has affected more people than the virus itself.”
The demonstration mirrored an event in Berlin on Saturday, which drew 38,000 coronavirus sceptics before being dispersed by police in the early afternoon.
Before it began on Saturday morning, the protest in the German capital had been the source of much legal and political contestation.
In Germany, Some 38,000 people took to the streets, the protesters gained support from Robert F Kennedy Jr. The anti-vaccination campaigner, also the son of assassinated US Democratic presidential hopeful Robert F Kennedy and nephew of assassinated US President John F Kennedy, is at the demonstrations in Berlin.
Mr Kennedy told the crowd at the Victory Column that his uncle had famously addressed Berlin in 1963 to counter totalitarianism and that “today Berlin is again the front against totalitarianism”, warning of a surveillance state and the power of 5G phone networks.
The authorities cannot be trusted and that’s a fact.
10 Years Ago WHO Faked A Pandemic
But why would so many people in what certainly appears to be a worldwide pandemic not trust the government and the WHO?
In 2010 the chief flu scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO) found himself defending his agency against criticism that the H1N1 swine flu pandemic was “fake,” that its threat to human health was hyped, and that WHO’s policies were influenced by vaccine manufacturers who benefited from the pandemic virus.
WHO’s chief accuser was Wolfgang Wodarg, a German physician and former member of the German Parliament for the Social Democratic Party, who has called the pandemic a “fake”—because the virus isn’t very different from existing strains—and who has suggested that big pharma coaxed WHO into declaring a pandemic so that it could produce and sell the vaccine. “WHO in cooperation with some big pharmaceutical companies and their re-defined pandemics and lowered the alarm-threshold,” Wodarg says in a statement on his Web site.
Wodarg—whose resume says he studied medicine in Berlin and Hamburg and was trained in epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University—is also a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and on 18 December 2010 he and other members of that group’s Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee signed a motion that bluntly stated:
“In order to promote their patented drugs and vaccines against flu, pharmaceutical companies have influenced scientists and official agencies, responsible for public health standards, to alarm governments worldwide. They have made them squander tight health care resources for inefficient vaccine strategies and needlessly exposed millions of healthy people to the risk of unknown side-effects of insufficiently tested vaccines.”
The Council of Europe is a 47-member organisation, unrelated to the European Union, The Council of Europe focuses on promoting human rights and democracy across the continent. Where the European Union is a 27 member economic and trade organisation.
Faked Pandemics – a threat for health
WHO, vaccine officials defend their actions
Fukuda countered that the response to a novel influenza virus quickly sweeping the globe required unprecedented global cooperation from a broad range of groups, including pharmaceutical companies.
He said it’s impossible to predict how severe a pandemic will be in the initial months, pointing out that the 1918 pandemic started with mild waves of illnesses, then turned deadly. He added that the WHO updated its pandemic planning documents in 1999, 2005, and 2009 based on the input of experts from around the world. He said the agency finished its most recent revision in February 2009 and published it last April, along with the latest pandemic definitions.
Even within the agency, the director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Epidemiology in Munster, Germany, Dr Ulrich Kiel, has essentially labelled the pandemic a hoax. “We are witnessing a gigantic misallocation of resources [$18 billion so far] in terms of public health,” he said.
They’re right. This wasn’t merely overcautiousness or simple misjudgment. The pandemic declaration and all the Klaxon-ringing since reflect sheer dishonesty motivated not by medical concerns but political ones.
Unquestionably, swine flu has proved to be vastly milder than ordinary seasonal flu. It kills at a third to a tenth the rate, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. Data from other countries like France and Japan indicate it’s far tamer than that.
Indeed, judging by what we’ve seen in New Zealand and Australia (where the epidemics have ended), and by what we’re seeing elsewhere in the world, we’ll have considerably fewer flu deaths this season than normal. That’s because swine flu muscles aside seasonal flu, acting as a sort of inoculation against the far deadlier strain.
Did the WHO have any indicators of this mildness when it declared the pandemic in June?
Absolutely, as I wrote at the time. We were then fully 11 weeks into the outbreak and swine flu had only killed 144 people worldwide–the same number who die of seasonal flu worldwide every few hours. (An estimated 250,000 to 500,000 per year by the WHO’s own numbers.) The mildest pandemics of the 20th century killed at least a million people.
Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.
The Government Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, making a bob or two on the back of COVID can only add to the conspiracies. This will make the governments work a lot harder they need to build trust and assure people more facts and explanations need to be broadcast when people are not informed the fires of discontent are feed.
The one thing no one doubts about this pandemic is the fact that under the umbrella and name of COVID we have seen the biggest transfer of public wealth to private hands since the vandals sacked Rome.
Since it received the government contracts, GSK’s share price rose by some two percent. Vallance has meanwhile been busy ensuring that the UK would get enough vaccine doses if GSK is successful and contributing to the vaccine development efforts.
Earlier this week, he said that the first doses could be ready as early as by the end of this year, warning, however, that the first half of 2021 would be a more realistic prospect.The revelations sparked suspicions of a potential conflict of interest.
However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock denied the possibility of this. “No, there are rules around these kinds of things and I’m sure that Sir Patrick has been fully advised by them,” he told LBC Radio. “If you know Sir Patrick Vallance as I do, any suggestion that he is doing anything other than his level best to try and tackle this virus is wrong,” he added.
A government spokesman confirmed that Vallance holds a deferred share bonus that would mature in April 2021 without revealing its exact value. The spokesman also said that “appropriate steps were taken to manage the government chief scientific adviser’s (GCSA) interests in line with advice provided at the time.”
He added that the chief scientific adviser also has “no input” into the commercial decisions on vaccine procurement, which are taken by the government following a “robust” approval regime.
The developments come as the UK braces for a second wave of coronavirus. The number of new cases is on the rise once again and some places in the UK witness it increasing at a pace not seen since the peak of the epidemic in spring.
More than 6,100 people were confirmed to have contracted the disease overnight and Hancock said that up to 10,000 people might get ill a day. The situation prompted London to introduce a new set of restrictions, which according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson might stay in place for up to six months.
Some companies, including the British-Swedish AstraZeneca are meanwhile seeking emergency approval for their vaccines from the relevant regulators.