Dr Steve James: I’d sacrifice my job over vaccine mandates
The NHS consultant who challenged Sajid Javid explains all to Freddie Sayers
Steve James is a critical care consultant at King’s College Hospital in London. When Health Secretary Sajid Javid visited last Friday, he asked the NHS staff about what they thought of the forthcoming mandates that will make Covid vaccination a condition of deployment for NHS staff. Dr James spoke out, saying why he was against the mandate and why he hadn’t taken the vaccine himself.
It made headlines across the UK media, in particular coming from a Cambridge-educated NHS frontline doctor. Dr James came in to the UnHerd studio to explain his position in more detail to Freddie Sayers.
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While he does not think of himself as ‘anti-vax’ (he dislikes the label), he argues that there’s nothing wrong with individuals preferring not to take vaccines if they so choose. Nevertheless, he accepts that vaccines have had an important effect on Covid hospitalisation rates. “Undoubtedly the vaccines have made a big difference,” he says.
But he objects to the simplistic messaging around vaccination, saying that because Covid is so much more dangerous to older people and vulnerable groups, the insistence on universal vaccination (including making examples of people who refuse) is inappropriate.
Dr James has had Covid (he doesn’t know when, but tests positive for antibodies). But he admits he hadn’t taken the vaccine even for the period of months before he tested for antibodies, because he preferred to wait a period to fully understand the extent of any side effects.
He has also personally witnessed some potential Covid vaccine side effects, which made him more alive to the potential risks:
What made him speak out was the sense that the debate was being stifled, even among NHS workers:
He’s had a mixture of positive and negative reactions within the hospital since he spoke out, but referred to mounting questions among NHS workers:
He hopes that the policy will change before the April deadline, but is prepared to lose his job rather than be vaccinated. “If push comes to shove, I’m not going to have the vaccine, no… I’ll lose my job.” He says he would move to another country where the rules are different.
Dr James feels that he would not be able to be a good doctor if his integrity had been compromised by taking a medication that he didn’t want. He said that better information about both the risks and rewards of taking the vaccine should be put out by the Government in a way that people can tailor to their own risk profile.
So does he think the policy will change, and will he still be working in the NHS come April?
Thank goodness there are professionals like Dr. James taking care of seriously ill patients and being honest and open about his opinions and beliefs. Shame on those who would question his standing and integrity and those decision makers and politicians who turn away from facing facts or insist they didn’t hear the noise.
So you support the spiritual guff that he provides consultancy on at very high rates too?
Where did you get that from?I commented on the interview. I don’t support your guff.
I didn’t hear that. Where did it come in terms of time in the interview?
One day there should be a Freddie Sayers Award for Journalism …..thanks Freddie for all you do.
One thing I always notice is hands, they are as telling of a person’s condition as their face. Their hands are superficially like mine, long fingers, masculine hands. But then so very different from mine and the people I mix with, construction workers, manual workers. Freddy and guest have a stylized use of hand motions, you can see their function is communication as they talk – white collar hands, trained by their kind of life to gracefully pantomime their words as they discuss. And such soft hands, so pink, so manicured, so pretty I suppose, like their speech.
Mine and the people I am around have dark hands, oversized knuckles from a life of hard physical work – callused, scared, fingers curved in a bit as manual workers hands are muscled differently, holding fingers strait out is hard from our life of muscle and tendon development. We do not use them for the hand signalling as we talk in the same way as these guys, like a different species.
The word MAN comes from Manus, Latin for hand, they are what makes us different from all creatures. Anyway – I just wished to mention how different the entire communication between these upper level, White Collar, men is to us Blue Collar, men. They are so intellectual and guarded…
My sort would drag out all the same arguments – and then tell the Mandaters to go F- themselves, that they cannot tell me what to do and They are a bunch of Fas* ists and can just F_off. Freedom would be the ultimate point, not risk-benefit.
This doctor has as much backbone as we do – but the emphasis he gives is on reason, where with me it would be I will not put up with their Oppressing me, more freedom based, more outrage at their presumption, rather than their reasoning being wrong..
(You mandaters can all just F-Off)
I would really love to see some multivariate analysis for morbidity and mortality. At 59, healthy and unvaxed I have just had my 2nd infection. It was a light cold with some fatigue.
I have seen some some data suggesting only 15% in ICU are not overweight. We have recently heard from the CDC that 75% in ICU have four or more co morbidities.
How many unvaxed, under 75, with no comorbidities and not overweight have recently ended up in ICU and, if there are any, how many were unvaxed and, how many went on to die?
It is of little value telling me that 40% of Covid cases in ICU are unvaxed if they are all overweight and have one or more comorbidities because they are not like me, One variable tells nothing,
Very true-but you wont be given those stats-unless someone else has ferretted them out -they could be out there somewhere ??? And then we could all make an INFORMED decision !!
Excellent comments . The lack of multivariate data analysis on deaths worries me : is it conspiracy or c… up?
For the UK your best bet would be the ICNARC Reports :
The latest one dated 7 January.
Tables1,2 for basic demographics
Fig 48 for most recent data on co-morbidities and BMI – about 10% with any severe co-morbidity and between 40 – 55% with a BMI >30
They give comparisons in these reports between more recent stats and 2020 – spring 2021. One of the more interesting trends comparing these 2 time frames is the median age of admission – 60 in the early part of the pandemic, 55 now.
IMHO ICNARC have provided some of the most consistently brilliant, simple and relavant statistics of anyone for the whole of the last 2 years.
There are so many statistics I would like to know. For instance, it is always said that the elderly are at risk but is it the elderly (full stop) or the elderly who are not fit or have got terminal illnesses? Captain Tom survived at 100 and I have friends who have recovered o.k. I think we will find (at the end of the day), that those who eat sensibly and take daily exercise recover, regardless of age.
I have never taken a flu vaccine, (believing in building up immunity) and I only had the Covid vaccine to please the family, suffering extreme headaches from above my left eye and over my skull three days after the second injection and lasting for a month.. I won’t be having a booster and so will have my freedom curtailed – no more cruises!.. .
Another great interview, Freddie, with a courageous doctor whom I wish the very best.
Thank you so much Dr Steve James for your bravery in making a stand on this issue. The risk/benefit considerations of the vaccine don’t make for simplistic slogans or headlines, but, as you say, should be considered on an individual basis for each and everyone.
Bravery…. yes, but..,…..
What shone through it all the strongest is how he has to dance around the real points as crossing the algorithm set by the Social Media, MSM, Education, Government, Corporate powers can be fatal to ones personal, and working future. Free speech is gone, now one must word all in the rules of the thought crime agenda now taken over.
At the end he mentions the Natural Immunity, vaccine, issue – but then drops it and goes back into the gentle way of risk/benefit analysis, and how the powers merely have been ill informed….
The fact that natural immunity is disregarded completely by the vax Pushers PROVES the vax mandate is Nothing to do with health. This huge, and glaring, flaw in every point of their pushing the agenda of ‘all must have the vaccine’ must be emphasized. This plandemic response is 100% to cause the Great Reset.
The other huge point is how all early treatments/interventions were outlawed – and the protocols were to sit at home till your lips turned blue and then call the ambulance. NO illness waits to begin treatment till medical emergency. This is 100% to stop vax hesitancy by removing all other treatments. Because the powers decided ALL must be Vaxed. South America, Africa, Asia, Japan all used these drugs with great results – if used early, the West outlawed them, or buried them.
Ivermactin, fluvoxamine, Hydroxychloroquine, Vit D, K, C, B, Zinc, monoclonal antibodies, regeneron, and dozens of repurposed drugs had great results – but every one was discredited by intentional studies set up to fail by using them at the end of the infection rather than the beginning.
Try this video, Rogan and Dr McCullough, one of the most watched videos on the internet – totally debunks the Vaccine as being a political tool, not health. https://odysee.com/@jackspirko:a/rogan-mccullough:6?r=flcv7ablmyytd2wkzfqcxvwidxeynpbp the Expert Doctor McCullough says 85% of covid deaths would have lived if given early treatment.
Do you think there’s an element of sour grapes from Freddie. We know he’s vaccinated because he went in that christmas market in Austria and he knows (as do we all) that the vaccines aren’t the solution that they were sold as. As Malone points out, vaccination is unreversible and I wonder how people feel when they’ve invested so much in their faith in pharmaceuticals solutions, what they’ve been told/policy and their universal disdain for ‘anti-vaxxers’.
Had you posted this in a Canadian news publication you would have been deactivated, content removed or what ever other crap they could claim.
So many interesting aspects to this interview.
Something that doesn’t seem to have been discussed anywhere I’ve seen is the footage of the Health Secretary’s visit to the hospital (apart from Dr. James’s comments). Mr. Javid starts by asking a group of nurses what they think of the vaccine policy. Not one of them answered. They all fidgeted and there were a couple of nervous giggles. Can we reasonably infer anything from their response?
The other question about that footage is what did the Health Secretary think would happen when he posed that question to a group of health care professionals? Was the meeting staged and all the health workers were considered ‘safe’ people who would give the desired answer to Mr. Javid’s question? If so, he got a surprise. If not, what politician in their right mind asks such a loaded question, in front of a news camera, when he’s not sure of the response?
Freddie did a great job interviewing Dr. James. Unfortunately, without a little help, Dr. James tends to give fairly short, conclusory answers to questions. Freddie had to carefully tease out Dr. James’s thinking behind his stance on covid vaccines and only then did it become clear what a clever and thoughtful guy he is. I started out in stem and I met a lot of people like him who are intensely data-driven. If the data points one way that’s the direction they’ll take and nothing will deter them, certainly not going along with the majority view just to avoid making waves.
I hope it all works out well for Dr. James. I suspect, however, he might be a little naive in some respects. He thinks, for example, if push comes to shove he can work in a different country with different vaccine rules. But now he’s a high-profile dissident (for want of a better word). Bureaucracies the world over hate independent thinkers. As I say, I very much hope everything works out for him. Much respect for him and his actions.
I have been wondering about your points 1 and 2 too. Worth investigating.
Yes, the nurses looked uncomfortable; no one wanted to speak, no one piped up about how wonderful the vaccines are and how valuable the mandate would be.
Also, I keep reading not only about staff shortages in health & social care but the 1000s of vacancies. Surely if shortages are exacerbated, care & interventions will be reduced. How do citizens feel about the waiting lists growing, avoidable deaths increasing?
Excellent interview by Freddie as always. However, I do feel that what didn’t quite come through is just how unsmart Savid Javid really is, and just how simple the issue regarding whether to mandate or not mandate the vaccines for NHS works really is.
Ignore Omicron for the moment, which is basically a bad cold and evades the current crop of vaccines in any case. The only rational for mandating COVID vaccination for NHS workers would be to prevent transmission to patients – clearly a worthwhile goal. If the vaccines actually prevented infection and transmission it would be one thing. But very unfortunately they don’t, and their efficacy wanes rapidly after 6 months or so. Further, there is absolutely no doubt that natural immunity is more than an order of magnitude more protective (and this has been confirmed now by many studies, although it is self-evident if one has any understanding of how immunity works). So under these conditions, what possible logical reason does Savid Javid and the present Government have for mandating vaccination for NHS workers. Surely the only thing one needs to actually do is say to NHS staff that if they have a temperature or any upper respiratory tract symptoms, even if as mild as a regular cold, simply stay home for a week. That’s all that needs to be done. Nothing more, nothing less.
Yes, given that vaccinated or not they will have to stay at home anyway if they have symptoms! Mandates make no sense.
An extremely courageous doctor. Solidarity with him.
This is chilling:
“colleagues have been winking and nudging each other and having meetings outside the hospital grounds and making small social media groups to support each other. Because they’re worried about losing their jobs… “
Not only in hospitals. I work in an ordinary administration in het EU. Once I made critical remarks about the employer’s corona policy during a (zoom) meeting. Suddenly two collegues contacted me personally, trying to found out if I was also unvaccinated (I am vaccinated, but my wife isn’t). There appeared to be a kind of underground network of people who were unvaccinated, but feared to come out, because of all the aggressive rethorics during the past year. It made me very sad that these people felt they had to hide from all the others. Like a kind of samizdat.
I work in a sector that has been mandated outside the UK. A brave colleague sent an organisation wide email (against the rules) which indicated that he had concerns about the vax. This allowed a small group of us to begin communicating and supporting each other via non work channels. I expect to be terminated but at least I will get two months salary. It’s all very surreal and sad as it appears to be about compliance rather than health.
Well, thank you very much Dr James. As a GP I already have 10 to 15 minutes to do the following:
:Smile compassionately and invite the patient down the long corridor into a messy room I’ve forgotten to move the chairs back into place after the last wheelchair bound patient.
:Wash my hands [ALWAYS, between each patient] and don PPE if needed.
:Scan the demographics on the computer and ask if the address and phone numbers are accurate.
:Acquire the patients consent to talk, examine and share data if needed. Offer to talk to teenagers separately from their parents.
:Check status of lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol, other drugs, diet, housing etc [“IT only takes 30 seconds” say the gurus]
:Update any alerts or allergies
: Take a full history of why they are here.
:Go into all relevant past history and associated problems in the present [an ever expanding bewildering list if ever there was one, NO ONE HAS JUST ONE PROBLEM]
: Do a quick risk assessment for dangers [“always keep yourself between the patient and the door” say the gurus]. Check for falls risk if elderly, domestic violence if bruises etc. Child at risk? Potential terrorist? Potential victim of FGM?
:Do a full examination [“Patients like it if you take the time to examine them” say the gurus]
:Come up with a negotiated diagnosis, further tests if needed, and a treatment plan including discussion of all side effects and the risks of doing nothing versus something.
:Be mindful of mental health issues [25% of GP presentations], do depression scores on all postnatal women. Gently inquire into mood if appears depressed]
:Also- commonly- hold the vomit bowl for a young child whose mother is crying because she’s worried her husband might leave the family, [Where are those wretched tissues], while the receptionist sticks her head in the door and asks what to do about a drunk in reception, the child vomits on the floor but the receptionist is busy so I clean it up, the other child gets hold of the sharps bin, and the phone rings with a pathology report on a patient with dangerously high potassium.
:Then, most importantly DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. [Medico-legal gurus insist]. So us oldies have to pick out the keys on the computer with 2 shakey forefingers. [Or leave it until after work when we’ve probably forgotten things].
And now you want us to “be compassionate, speak clearly, listen carefully, weigh up risks and benefits, just be present with the patient and be TRUE TO MY BELIEFS”? What beliefs?
Thank you for sharing this. It helps to understand how the system treats not only the patient but also the doctors. And thank you for still doing it.
A very big “Thankyou” for injecting some reality into this very particular and insulated echo chamber.
The echo chamber you are referring to is neither insulated nor peculiar. It is you who are peculiar because you are dead set on believing the so-called narrative which has proven wrong at every step of the game, despite all the evidence.It is you who have failed to open your eyes to what is actually going on. And it is you who is in favor of repeating the same prescriptions that won’t work, each time expecting a different result, the very definition of insanity.
You would do well to listen to this interview with Prof. Carl Heneghan of the Oxford University Center for Evidence-Based Medicine: https://audioboom.com/posts/8012295-carl-heneghan-why-i-spoke-out-against-lockdown. But perhaps for you Carl Heneghan, like Sunetra Gupta, Martin Kuhldorf and Jay Battacharya are just fringe epidemiologists as per Francis Collins and Tony Fauci’s statements. But feel free to defend SAGE and their predictions and forecasts which have been way off and completely unhelpful, and have led to disastrous policies and mandates which have had absolutely no impact on the course of the pandemic.
This sounds like a nightmare, you have my sympathy. However, having been a patient at a number of practices in England, including inner-city London practices, this sounds extreme. The first part of your post seems to relate entirely to patients unknown to you/your practice. Are you saying that all GPs are going though these checks for all patients? As a patient I have never experienced this – the checks that is. And yes, I do expect my GP to be companionate, speak clearly and listen, how on earth else can you do your job properly otherwise?
We indeed have a health system that is based on money and concerned too often only with tables, procedures and administrators to treat …. statistics…. I feel very sorry for the people involved… and the patients…
A bit melodramatic. Are you a drama queen? Perhaps learn to be a little bit more organized and efficient, and then you can have time to do your job properly: namely take a proper and thorough history, carry out a thorough examination, and most importantly listen to your patients and have empathy. Further, when you prescribe medications or give vaccinations, it is incumbent upon you to explain the risks and benefits, as well as detail the adverse effects. It is also incumbent upon you to be properly informed of said adverse effects rather than deny their existence or fob them off. Your duty as a doctor is “first to do no harm”.
Dr James argues that he waited to see the side effects before having the vaccines. Is this the standard of professionals today? The side effects should have been determined by the trials before the vaccines were approved but the trials were not even set up to do that. This is what he should be concerned about. He cannot possible know the side effects without data from randomised control trials. He goes on to claim that the vaccines have reduced hospitals admissions. Where is the evidence of that? There is no evidence in the available all-cause death data that the benefits of the vaccines exceed the risk of covid. Prof Norman Fenton has shown this.
Agree with everything apart from one thing: you cannot properly determine adverse reactions from the trials because the numbers in the trials are far too small. You can only ascertain adverse reactions by appropriate post-introduction surveillance. That is standard practice with all new drugs, and often times serious but rare adverse reactions are only found after many years of surveillance (e.g. vioxx).
What if he wants to move to another country and they require him to have had the tripple jab? There are many here on unherd who have had to comply with such regulations to be able to travel in their work.
He can move to Florida
Compelling viewing from start to finish.
The one statistic which no one country has, the most important, is to what degree natural immunity has contributed to a decrease in infection and deaths, relative to dealing with Covid19. Is it not possible to provide this, and if so why is it not done ?
The point that is made in this interview, by the doctor, is that we are now in a latter day period when this should and can be done, and by so doing rationalize the response to vacines, between those that have or have not taken them, the policies within every country, and by extension policies between countries.
What a great interview. Dr James articulately answered each question with measured responses. When the Health Secretary asked the nurses what they thought, an embarrassed silence took over until Dr James spoke his mind. Were the nurses sensitive to James’s presumably known opinion or were they in two minds anyway?
One assumes that the likelihood of transmission from an unvaccinated medic to a patient is remote as thorough testing systems for staff will be in place so as to avoid cross-contamination. Does this open up the argument somewhat?
But thank you both for this. Sayers’s particular questioning and James’s outspoken replies to a topic which has largely been unexplored in the media, were wonderfully refreshing.
The only government policies that would be acceptable should acknowledge informed consent and the Nuremberg code.
Other than that government policies would be dictating
In referring to the very last sentence from the above, from the quote attributed to the interviewee, how can or why would “they” or “we” “not really (be) worried about transmission from staff to patients.”?
I don’t follow that line.
Oxford University/NHS already created the a risk calculator – https://qcovid.org/
US based to cross-compare – https://covid19risktools.com:8443/
Yes, but it’s for physicians, not patients
Does the risk somehow change depending on who completes it? Anyhow, can’t hurt finding out your personal risk if you’re able to understand the questions.
Here’s the physician specific link – https://digital.nhs.uk/coronavirus/risk-assessment/clinical-tool
Professor Julia Hippsley-Cox is the researcher who produced the tool.
Where’s the one for elite athletes?
Interesting, but I am not clear what involvement, IF ANY Oxford uni had. It seems to me that some software guys put it together.
difficult to compare as the US based questionnaire does not recognis UK post codes (zip codes)
Read the YouTube comments for this video. I scrolled, far, far, far down. I read/skimmed/super-skimmed at least 200 to 300 comments and couldn’t find a single negative one. This, on a platform which you would suspect would elevate attacks and push down praise.
I found that to be heartening.
I’m vehemently opposed to vaccine coercion of any sort but this Dr. is infuriatingly dim and self-absorbed. FS does his best to elicit a clear response form him about why he said what he said to Javid, but answer came there none. Perhaps he was so frightened of saying anything quotable wrt vaccines themselves he was unable to make sense.
Why should any doctor allow the general public to bear any possible risks with vaccinations in the interests of public health and to reduce the burden on – yes you got it – doctors?
As some sort of Godardian drama “Die Your Life” the series of memorable vignettes continues: “The Nudge” “Viennese Musik” “The Camp” and now “Conversation with A Human Subject”. To those who rush to declare him their hero, stop for a second and ask yourselves “Why do I need a hero if I have myself?”
His views make no sense to me. He should be concerned that the risks he is talking about should have been determined by randomised control trials before the vaccine was approved.
This guy is a bampot as confirmed by his health consultancy that he’s a director of which spouts new age nonsense about connecting with your body.
So be careful who you voice support for – opposition to vaccines can be a valid and logical position based on science, but this bloke is a champion for spiritual cures with no basis in science.
I’m double vaxxed and boosted. I’m with the bampot.
Ah catch yourself on. If you think spirituality or connecting with one’s body has no place in staying healthy you understand neither medicine nor spirituality. My grandfather, a doctor and fellow of the Royal Society, was a devout Catholic till his death.
Really? I view him as an intelligent qualified consultant anaesthetist with a challenging mind and a bravery that few others have. The fact that I have now learned he brings more to the table makes me admire him even more. He was reasoned, calm and articulate. If you are suggesting he is a medical intuitive as well, what’s not to like. All these things and a powerfully open mind!
Do you believe that the mind had no effect on the body? I think the consensus nowadays is that it does.
You can argue about the morality of enforcing vaccines on a group of health workers but you can’t argue with the wealth of scientific data that proves the safety and efficacy of covid vaccines. The fact is if he takes the vaccine he will be less of a risk to his patients than without it. His natural antibodies will not provide the same level of protection as a vaccine.
Ha ha ha ha ha. I apologize for my tone if you are being ironical.
The view that vaccines provide a higher level of protection than natural infection is obsolete. It was induced by the initial euphoria over the vaccines in the firs half of 2021. The covid-vaccines provided protection in more people than expected for a respiratory virus. But as immunity of the vaccines waned much faster than expected (as shown by Israel in July 2021 and Western Europe and other parts of the world in Autumn 2021), this view was updatet in the scientific community. The only way to outperform natural immunity is vaccinating people every time their antibody levels go below a certain threshold, which is unknown, but which in many people is within a period of 6 months or less. And then the question arises: how often should we do that?
But I agree that this obsolete view can still be found in the official communication of health authorities, including the CDC in the US (critically: last updated in October 2021).
It is not only observationaly refuted, but also impossible from a more fundamental point of view. A vaccine, like an infection, triggers an immune response. Assuming that a vaccine does something more or something different is mistaking a vaccine for a kind of immune therapy, which it is not.
The good news is that contact with the virus (either through natural infection or vaccination) improves the future immunological response (without permanent stop of transmissibility, though). For a healthy adult, one vaccination or infection is enough to be confident that the virus will not kill you or bring you in hospital. For kids, not even this seems necessary. (Obvious disclaimer: there never is a 100% guarantee, either with a vaccine nor with an infection).
I don’t think that is correct. The vaccine kills the spikes on the virus giving some immunity but T cells acquired through past infections kill the whole virus. At least that is what I heard on a television programme..
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