by UnHerd News
Thursday, 31
March 2022
Video
17:13

Sajid Javid: Zero Covid has been a disaster

The Health Secretary sat down with Freddie Sayers to look back at the pandemic
by UnHerd News

Health Secretary Sajid Javid came into the UnHerd studio to talk to Freddie Sayers and look back at lessons learned from the Covid era. In a wide-ranging 30 minute discussion, he said:

On Zero Covid:

  • “Look at what’s happening in China and Hong Kong, where the so-called Zero Covid policy has been an absolute utter disaster…. It’s doomed to fail. You can’t control nature.”

On the end of the pandemic:

  • “Tomorrow’s change to policy, including an end to universal testing, shows that we are no longer in the pandemic phase…We’re probably the first country that is successfully moving from pandemic to endemic”.
  • “Health ministers across Europe and around the world… are all very envious of the position that the UK is in and I wouldn’t trade my position for any one of them”.
  • “People coming to see me from abroad, whether they’re businesspeople or ministers, they look at how open we are and say ‘wow, this is like the old times!’”

On lockdowns:

  • “If any government is going to take away freedoms from people, there needs to be a very, very, very high bar to that”.
  • “The impact [of lockdowns] on businesses, people’s life chances, particularly young people, the impact on schooling… mental health problems, the cases of cancer that went undiagnosed in their thousands.. I don’t think we still have fully understood that and digested that as a society”.
  • “The speed at which freedoms were taken away — if someone had told me that before we even heard the word Covid, I would have thought that doesn’t sound right. That doesn’t sound like we could do that as a society”.

On the Omicron wave and the December lockdown we nearly had:

  • “There were voices, including scientists and others, saying the best way to respond to this is to lock down again or put other restrictions in, but we decided rightly to focus on pharmaceutical defences”.
  • Within cabinet there was “a spectrum of opinions”, but he denies that he had a “wobble”.
  • Scientists are “doing their best” but “some scientists” have a tilt towards the worst case scenario. He and the Prime Minister were both “wary” of the scientific modelling. “These are scenarios based on assumptions”.

On mandatory vaccination:

  • “We didn’t have vaccine passports, we didn’t have mandatory vaccination other than for in NHS settings — which when the facts changed, we changed our mind”.
  • “Vaccines should be like any drug: there should be full transparent information to all individuals, and then they make their own judgement based on that. The risks, potentially of a vaccine versus the risks of not taking the vaccine. That should be a judgement for individuals. For children, it should be a judgement for their parents and their carers. And that’s been our approach as a country”.

On future pandemics:

  • “What I can say is that there will be no knee jerk reaction to restrict people’s freedoms. Not at all.”

Download the full transcript HERE.

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Michael Sweeney
Michael Sweeney
4 months ago

So basically Great Barrington, 15+ months after those three REAL Scientist were completely abused along with their supporters.
Thank you Freddie and Unherd for being in front of this nonsense. You and Substack are the only Journalist that I see these days.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
4 months ago

Well said and spot on!

Adam Bacon
Adam Bacon
4 months ago

Once again thank you to Freddie Sayers, for this polite but challenging interview with the current Health Secretary of the British Government. As you noted at the end, there was only so much that he would/could acknowledge given his position.

Seen in hindsight, the random infidelities and hypocrisy of both Neil Ferguson and, more significantly, Matt Hancock, have probably had a huge impact in terms of the ongoing Covid policies in the UK (along with, latterly, the return of some democractic accountability from Steve Baker and the Covid Recovery group in Parliament).

All credit to Sajid Javid for coming onto Unherd for a challenging interview, when he could easily have stuck with the BBC and Sky etc.

Given the cognitive dissonance involved in the whole Covid ‘debate ‘ discussions like this one, with a serving government minister, might hopefully be of significance

Lesley Keay
Lesley Keay
4 months ago

Maybe he and Johnson could now start to show the same concerns about the climate change modelling?

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
4 months ago
Reply to  Lesley Keay

Well as of today the Fracking sites are not to be concreted over.
Looking forward to them starting in the Cotswolds.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
4 months ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

Is there shale gas in the Cotswolds?

Or are we just going to frack there for fun?
Count me in, if so.

J Bryant
J Bryant
4 months ago

Congratulations to Unherd for getting Javid to agree to an interview.
As Freddie noted at the end, Javid is a politician and he studiously avoided criticizing anyone with the exception of people who deliberately promote misinformation. In that respect this interview wasn’t particularly informative. But as Freddie also noted you have to read between the lines of what Javid said and, I would suggest, also read the tone of some of his remarks.
My takeaway is that Javid, personally, realizes that lockdowns probably aren’t all that effective and come with much collateral damage. I also think he is genuinely committed to preserving individual liberties so far as possible. He also probably recognizes that some (not all) pandemic modelers are too pessimistic to be helpful. He’s clearly not a zero covid proponent.
What does all that mean for the future? I think that’s totally unclear. If another pandemic comes along the current elected officials, in the UK and elsewhere, will probably have moved on. Will the new leaders learn useful lessons from the covid pandemic or will they instinctively opt for the most restrictive measures? I don’t think this interview provides much guidance on that question. Fear is a powerful motivator.
My sense is, though, that the current UK government is likely to resist calls for more lockdowns unless a really nasty covid variant shows up.

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
4 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Hope you are right. However, if he is so committed to preserving individual liberties why was he pushing so much for the NHS staff to get vaccinated? And why does he keep repeating lies like “Vaccination protects others …”?
No matter what people say now, what matters to me is what they did.

Mel Bass
Mel Bass
4 months ago
Reply to  Fran Martinez

His attitude towards those who remained unvaccinated was also disgraceful and another attempt to bully sceptics into compliance. He’s completely untrustworthy, like the rest of them, and just going with whichever way the wind is blowing.

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
4 months ago
Reply to  Fran Martinez

One of the constraints people in his position have is they can’t easily contradict “scientists” advising them because public reverence for them is so high. For every Unherd commenter who would yell “finally!” there are dozens of other people who would say, “why does a random politician think he knows better than The Science?!?!
Apparently modelling has faceplanted badly enough that it’s possible for him to express doubts about it now, on a platform friendly to that POV, but this was possible only because modellers don’t collect the data they were trying to predict. With vaccines the data on how well they work is collected by the same people who are responsible for getting everyone vaccinated so it’s much harder to contradict them.

Jerry Smith
Jerry Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

A question it would be interesting to ask might have been whether in future government should ask for modelling and worst-case scenarios relating to the social, health and economic effects of NPIs, then take a more considered decision.

Su Mac
Su Mac
4 months ago

So when are people going to get full risk information on the vaccine then Javid? Most people I know don’t know anything about the Yellow Card scheme, it is invisible. And our own govt MHRA agency makes no report on the numbers. And as a result schools are still bullying children into having the jab in order to take school trips. Criminal hypocrisy.

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
4 months ago

Nice to see he is finally moving in that direction but without acknowledging those that were correct back then. Also he keeps repeating discredited clichés along the lines of: “The vaccine worked to protect others ..”
Now everyone will scramble to claim they were against lockdowns all along. But will they apologise to the people they marginalised?

Michael Hanson
Michael Hanson
4 months ago

“We didn’t have vaccine passports, we didn’t have mandatory vaccination other than for in NHS settings”.

Yes you did!

“Vaccines should be like any drug: there should be full transparent information to all individuals, and then they make their own judgement based on that. The risks, potentially of a vaccine versus the risks of not taking the vaccine. That should be a judgement for individuals. For children, it should be a judgement for their parents and their carers. And that’s been our approach as a country”.

That’s a complete u-turn and re-writing of history!
It’s exactly what some of us have been vilified for saying for two years!!

Last edited 4 months ago by Michael Hanson
Susan Lundie
Susan Lundie
4 months ago
Reply to  Michael Hanson

Exactly! For whatever reason, loss of bottle, the steady non compliance of sufficient citizens who resisted gaslighting, reasoned outspoken commentary by undeniably balanced and intelligent medical personnel, or pure serendipity, we might have been just as far under the governmental thumb as Australia, US and many other countries still remain.
Partygate got the ball rolling, Putin pushed it down the slope, and now they think we’ve forgotten. Well many of us will not ever forget that we have still not had many old freedoms, stolen over two short years, so far returned, and they are still being eroded. It is perfectly possible that the global agenda has simply been iced temporarily due to unforeseen difficulties. Complacency is not an option.

Jerry Smith
Jerry Smith
4 months ago

First, just wanted to say how delighted I am that UnHerd and Freddie personally are beginning to get the recognition in high places they so richly deerve. Maybe one day a senior Labour politician will also grace the mini-studio. Beyond that, am I alone in thinking that Freddie’s style of interviewing led to a gradual change in Javid’s response to questions? For the first half of the interview he was giving stock politician answers, entirely unenlightening and uninspiring. Then slowly we began to glimpse the man behind the politician with more relaxed and honest responses to the questions. I’m probably making too much of a small thing here, but if I’m right there are lessons for both journalists and politicians to learn. Well done.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
4 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Smith

I didn’t pick that up in the interview, but do agree political journalism would benefit greatly from long form, respectful, interviews rather than the attack dog style, constantly seeking the “gotcha” moment, that currently characterises the medium.

Nice to see a straight answer on the gender question, though I wish he’d extended it to women’s spaces.

Alex Stonor
Alex Stonor
4 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Smith

You can’t even call it diplomacy; the attempt to avoid saying anything conclusive, or anything critical of anyone else. It’s typical of the lily-livered, weak & vacuous stock of representatives we have at the moment. Stand up and be counted ffs. Apart form that it’s clear Unherd is becoming more of a player; is this why they keep vetting & removing some comments & commentators.

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
4 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Smith

I admire your optimism. In comparison…..a clam is a chatter box.

Last edited 4 months ago by Bruno Lucy
Jerry Smith
Jerry Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

Fair enough – I wouldn’t want to over-egg the pudding.

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
4 months ago

I’m in Australia, potentially the most Covid-jabbed country in the world, under mandates. The ethical principle of ‘valid voluntary consent’ before a medical intervention has been trashed, with people here being pressured, coerced and manipulated to submit to the defective Covid jabs, e.g. No Jab, No Job. 
There’s outright discrimination against those critical thinking people unable to give their consent to the jabs, with the ‘unvaccinated’ being punished and progressively cancelled out of civil society, e.g. in most states being denied entry to restaurants and other hospitality, public events, theatre, gyms and sports clubs such as golf clubs, etc.
Reportedly 95% of the population is ‘fully-vaxxed’. What does this even mean? The defective jabs purportedly provide dubious ‘protection’ of very limited duration, against a disease it was known from the beginning wasn’t a serious threat to most people. 
This isn’t about ‘the virus’… It’s about making the population compliant to multiple needles on government demand, plus other controls, such as lockdowns; testing, testing, testing; masks/muzzling; QR code surveillance and ‘vaccine passports’. 
Whose best interests are being served here? Seems like ‘our governments’ are serving the World Economic Forum’s ‘Great Reset’ agenda, and the people are being betrayed.
In the space of two years, we’ve gone from a free people, to a population largely made meek and compliant through fear-mongering propaganda.
We’ve been disenfranchised by ‘our elected representatives’ via draconian ‘emergency laws’, for which they refuse to be accountable.
It’s the biggest act of treachery in our history, undertaken by ‘our own governments’.
For more from an Australian perspective, see my email to prime minister Scott Morrison: Scott Morrison “a hypocrite and a liar” – informed consent and the Covid-19 jab rollout: https://vaccinationispolitical.files.wordpress.com/2022/02/scott-morrison-_a-hypocrite-and-a-liar_-informed-consent-and-the-covid-19-jab-rollout.pdf

Susan
Susan
4 months ago

How can Sajid Javid say any of this and expect us to believe a word?
“There should full transparent (vaccine) Information to all” Really? Really? “Should”, maybe, but that’s not what’s happened yet, Mr Javid. And why have the government stopped letting us see the data on how “vaccinated” people are faring compared to the “unvaccinated”?
Why are the government ignoring such a devastating number of “vaccine” adverse effects?
Why is Mr Javid even still calling them “vaccines” when he has now finally admitted that they are in fact gene therapies, something many professionals have been saying for a very long time? I quote from his press release: “Lipids are an essential component in COVID vaccines as well as other gene therapies.”
see Mr Javid’s statement on this government website:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-provide-shot-in-the-arm-for-west-midlands-vaccine-manufacturing-facility
There is so much more eyebrow-raising nonsense from him in this interview but thank you so much Unherd for publishing it and letting us see the untrustworthiness of our Health Secretary.
“Fine words butter no parsnips” is an old but true adage!

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
4 months ago

It would have been a lot easier to pull a tooth out of his mouth than to get a straight answer.
you should have mentioned Sweden…..that would have been drôle since they fared better than the UK, not locking down or enforcing crazy scientifically unfounded measures.
Health ministers across Europe and around the world… are all very envious of the position that the UK is in and I wouldn’t trade my position for any one of them”.
The man has guts……….I doubt Minister Lena Hallengren envies Sadji’s position or ever did.

Last edited 4 months ago by Bruno Lucy
Iris C
Iris C
4 months ago

I enjoyed this interview very much. It was good to have a Minister able to inform us about his job and current issues related to it, rather than him having to watch his words in case he inadvertently provides a sensational News headline..
We need more of this. Over to you!.

Dan Croitoru
Dan Croitoru
4 months ago

As any other tabloid UnHerd gives to its audience what they need to hear to feel good about themselves. After a shower of “Putin Evil, Ukraine Good” interviews now it’s time for good old Covid. So they bring this Zero and get the expected answers and the audience creams their jeans again.

Michael Hanson
Michael Hanson
4 months ago
Reply to  Dan Croitoru

Oh dear, you sound angry that some of us get a lot out of UnHerd, and have resorted to puerile comments. Maybe it’s time to leave us alone and we’d all be happier.

andrew harman
andrew harman
4 months ago
Reply to  Michael Hanson

I am all in favour of puerile sorts making fools of themselves so I say post away to them!