Paediatrician's Letter Questioning COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Was Sent to Disinformation Unit

Paediatrician's Letter Questioning COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Was Sent to Disinformation Unit
A person using a computer in an undated file photo. (Dominic Lipinski/PA Media)
Owen Evans

A paediatrician who co-wrote a letter questioning the messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine for children before its rollout was reported to the government disinformation unit.

In January, Westminster confirmed that it had monitored lockdown critics including Conservative MPs and journalists on social media platforms via its disinformation units after documents were obtained by the civil liberties group Big Brother Watch.

Dr. Ros Jones, a Retired Consultant Paediatrician who is part of HART, found that she had received unwarranted attention from the government.

HART is a group that was set up with doctors, academics, scientists, and more to share concerns about policy and guidance recommendations relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

'Turning to Children as Fast as We Can'

In May 2021, Jones sent an open letter titled "Safety and Ethical Concerns Surrounding COVID-19 Vaccination in Children" to the UK's top scientists in charge of the pandemic response.

It was sent to June Raine, CEO of the MHRA (Medicines & Healthcare Devices Regulatory Authority), Wei Shen Lim, chairman of the JCVI COVID-19 vaccines committee, Chris Whitty chief medical officer, and Patrick Vallance, who was at the time chief scientific officer.

The letter was co-signed by many scientists including Karol Sikora, one of the UK's leading experts in cancer, and renowned oncologist and vaccine researcher Angus Dalgleish.

The Epoch Times has not been able to ascertain if all the scientists who co-signed the letter have been monitored also.

Undated photo of Ros Jones. (Courtesy of Ros Jones)
Undated photo of Ros Jones. (Courtesy of Ros Jones)

The letter said at the time that they "have been deeply disturbed to hear several government and SAGE representatives calling in the media for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to be “turning to children as fast as we can.”

It noted that there had "been disturbing language used by teaching union leaders, implying that coercion of children to accept the COVID-19 vaccines through peer pressure in schools was to be encouraged, despite the fact that coercion to accept a medical treatment is against UK and International Laws and Declarations."

It noted at the time that in October 2020, the head of the government Vaccine Task Force, Kate Bingham said, “We just need to vaccinate everyone at risk. There’s going to be no vaccination of people under 18. It’s an adult-only vaccine, for people over 50, focusing on health workers and care home workers and the vulnerable.”

The NHS has started to roll out the COVID-19 jab to school children aged 12 to 15 in September 2021.
For its “Ministry of Truth” report (pdf), Big Brother Watch submitted numerous freedom of information requests and cooperated with people in public life who submitted requests to demand copies of their data held by government disinformation units.

Jones submitted requests for copies of her data held by government disinformation units, which The Epoch Times has seen.

Past reports have focused on public life figures that have been surveilled via material taken from social media platforms.

In Jones' case, it was the letter, not any data relating to her social media, that was forwarded to the Counter Disinformation Unit (CDU).

'Information Environment'

The CDU was part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS), which leads the UK government’s operational response to “domestic disinformation threats online.” In February 2023 it moved to the Department of Science, Innovation & Technology.

During the pandemic, the government used different units including the CDU, the Rapid Response Unit, and the Government Information Cell. Each had roles in “tackling harmful narratives online,” and monitoring and flagging “disinformation” content to social media companies. The Rapid Response Unit was disbanded in August 2022.

The CDU is focused "on helping the government understand online disinformation narratives and understand attempts to artificially manipulate the information environment."

The British Army’s information warfare machine, the 77th, which has conducted operations against both the Taliban and al-Qaeda, collated tweets from British citizens about COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic, passing them to the Cabinet Office, though it is understood that this ended by late 2021.

'Mislabelling of Misinformation'

"Can someone show us where the disinformation was?" Jones told The Epoch Times.

She said she didn't realise they were being surveilled at the time.

"I presume it came from Chris Whitty's office as that was the only person at the Department of Health and Social Care that we had written to, so I can't see where else it could have come from," she said.

The Epoch Times has not been able to verify if Whitty sent the letter. The Epoch Times contacted Whitty for a response.

Jones said that she has not had any answers from the government, despite asking multiple times how their letter was passed to the CDU and why it had been.

"It's been a total eye-opener," she said.

Jones said that before COVID-19 she had spent her entire working career assuming that authorities did their due diligence and weren't being "politically interfered with," but now she believes that there is an influence from the pharmaceutical industry on academia, regulators, and the media.

Headmaster Mike Fairclough also found out this year that he had his social media posts monitored by the government disinformation unit for questioning the effects of lockdown and masking on children as well as the mRNA vaccine rollout.

"It's chilling with regards to censorship of free speech and the mislabelling of misinformation as that letter was factually accurate and in the public interest," Fairclough told The Epoch Times in response to Jones' surveillance.

A government spokesman previously told The Epoch Times that these units used publicly available data, including material shared on social media platforms, to assess UK “disinformation trends and narratives.”

He said that  “online disinformation is a serious threat to the UK, which is why during the pandemic we brought together expertise from across government to monitor disinformation about COVID.

“These units used publicly available data, including material shared on social media platforms, to assess UK disinformation trends and narratives.

“They did not target individuals or take any action that could impact anyone’s ability to discuss and debate issues freely,” he added.

A Department of Science, Innovation & Technology spokesperson did not respond to The Epoch Times' specific questions but referred to a recent fact sheet that was produced about the CDU.
Owen Evans is a UK-based journalist covering a wide range of national stories, with a particular interest in civil liberties and free speech.