Ask a number of young people who are eager to get into journalism why they want to, and the chances are a lot will say “Because I like writing” or “I like working with language”. Which may be true, but that’s not what makes a journalist.

A journalist wants to be first with the news, and if they fancy themselves as an investigative journalist, they’re deeply sceptical about what they’re told. A good journalist will see how something is phrased and say “That doesn’t look right.” If you think of the highest-profile case of investigative journalism of the 20th century, it came about because two Washington Post journalists, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, refused to believe what they were told. The result was the Watergate exposure, which led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

I have always felt I am not just a journalist by profession and training, but by instinct and temperament. My journalistic nose smells rats. Of course all journalists are tempted to see a conspiracy when there’s really just a cock-up (conspiracies make for better stories), but the nose for something that might not add up is an essential tool of the trade. And it has nothing to do with specialist knowledge.

My journalistic nose was piqued during the first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic, when governments started talking about vaccines being the way out of lockdowns and relieving pressures on hospitals. Obviously in the middle of a pandemic, governments have to do something (or at least be seen to be doing something), so giving money and favourable treatment to pharmaceutical companies to develop vaccines is legitimate. But what came after rang alarm bells.

Making healthy people sick

A few years ago, a pharmacist explained to me that you have to be so careful with vaccines, because it’s one of the few branches of medicine where you put drugs into healthy bodies. Most allopathic medicine involves putting drugs into unhealthy bodies to make them healthy again, but vaccination involves the opposite. True, it’s done with the benign intent of making them more robust if they’re later confronted by an illness, but the pharmacist’s point was that if you’re not extremely careful you can make a whole load of healthy people sick, which is not what medicine is meant to do. That’s the main reason why vaccines take so long to be approved – it takes several years to amass the long-term safety data.

So why, once the first Covid-19 vaccines were rolled out – less than a year from the illness resulting from the Sars-Cov-2 virus being named! – did it become standard practice for everyone to be required to be vaccinated? The vulnerable groups, yes. Those who might come into contact with Covid sufferers, possibly. But everyone? And children from five to 18 when there was very little evidence of Covid doing much damage to them?

That was what got my journalistic nose sniffing. Plus other things that didn’t add up, like the need for vaccine passports to attend certain events. It became clear very early that being vaccinated doesn’t prevent you from getting Covid or transmitting it, it only reduces the severity of symptoms – so why was vaccination used as an entry requirement when testing was a more appropriate and logical measure? I’m no medic, so I can’t judge the merits of vaccines against not being vaccinated, but I can work out that, if there proves to be something damaging in the vaccines, then insisting that everyone is jabbed is storing up problems for the future, perhaps on a massive scale.

It’s a lonely business being a sceptic when everyone else is on the “everyone must get vaccinated” bandwagon and some describe those who decline the vaccine as anti-social or even criminal. I did decide to get vaccinated after several months’ prevarication (as you can’t get unvaccinated once you’ve been vaccinated, not being jabbed seemed the logical default position), but my scepticism remained. And when it transpired that 10% of the UK’s medical staff were refusing to be vaccinated even when it was going to mean instant dismissal (until the government’s sensible decision to back down from its April 2022 deadline), I felt my scepticism was justified. You can accuse people with no medical training of gullibly falling for online misinformation, but it’s very hard to make that case for medically qualified folk, especially as the number of sceptics will probably be well beyond 10% given that some medics simply couldn’t afford to lose their job so will have been jabbed against their better judgement.

Excess Deaths

Over recent months, I’ve become aware of some alarming statistics that suggested there might indeed be problems with the vaccines (note my use of ‘might be’ – I am not medically qualified so cannot say for certain). Excess deaths in most age groups are up since the vaccine rollout, and there have been dramatic rises in certain illnesses, like myocarditis and heart attacks. Yet these figures received very little media attention.

Hence my great relief when the former head of ITV, Mark Sharman, came out of retirement to make a documentary ‘Safe and Effective: a second opinion’ which Oracle Films launched last week. He was motivated by shock and disgust at how journalistic rigour among the mainstream media has been effectively suspended, and ‘truths’ disseminated that were not subjected to the necessary scrutiny.

The film coincided with the publication by the Journal of Insulin Resistance of two peer-reviewed scientific papers by the cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, in which he (and others) called for all Covid vaccines to be suspended until data on the harm they may be causing has been better analysed; Denmark has already suspended the vaccines for this very reason. The mainstream media once again ignored Malhotra’s papers, confirming Sharman’s motivation for his documentary (which spends a few minutes looking at why the media has failed to ask the usual searching questions).

I lack the scientific knowledge to say whether the harms caused by Covid vaccines outweigh any benefits brought by them (especially eased pressure on medical services). But as a self-respecting journalist, I applaud Sharman and Malhotra for asking the questions and calling for a much better level of analysis. As such, I strongly recommend Sharman’s film and Malhotra’s papers – anyone who considers themselves open to a reasoned approach to a problem can do nothing less than look at both.

‘Safe and Effective: a second opinion’ is available to watch free of charge at

Aseem Malhotra’s two papers ‘Curing the pandemic of misinformation on COVID-19 mRNA vaccines through real evidence-based medicine’ are available free at and