A Czech Awakening

Tomáš Fürst

On November 20, 2023, the Czech Republic joined the growing list of countries that are holding parliamentary discussions, inquiries, and investigations on the COVID response of their governments. On that day Mr. Vladimir Zlinsky – a MP for the opposition party Freedom and Direct Democracy – organized a parliamentary hearing “COVID-19 vaccines – the current view” to which he invited experts from both sides of the COVID debate “front line”.

As expected, the representatives of the official government line refused to participate and exerted pressure on the speaker of the Parliament to cancel the event. The speaker distanced herself from the meeting but refused to cancel it, having correctly stated that it is outside her competencies.

Apart from the organizer Vladimir Zlinsky, no other representative participated in the event. The upper chamber of the Parliament was represented by Jana Hamplova, a senator from Moravia. At the beginning of the event, dr. Vladimir Cizek, a physician, recalled several examples of disinformation and misinformation that came from the Czech Ministry of Health over the past three years. Dr. Ondrej Dostal, a health law expert, then talked about the threat represented by the Pandemic Treaty and the upcoming changes in the WHO legislation.

Dr. Jana Gandalovicova, a clinical cardiologist, talked about adverse events of the COVID vaccines and her clinical experience with treating patients affected by the vaccines. “We have given up on individualized care and risk-benefit analysis, which, of course, differed between healthy and frail patients. We have forgotten the primum non nocere principle and recommended vaccines to children, pregnant women, and young healthy people, despite known adverse effects and unknown long-term safety profile” she said.

Dr. Jaroslava Chlupova, a neurologist, talked about her experience with neurological side-effects of the COVID vaccines. Then, several patients reported their own experience with severe adverse effects of the vaccines. A part of the documentary “Vaccinated stories” by Viktor Baros was shown. Vladana Valisova, a civil lawyer, talked about the difficulties of advocating for people suffering from vaccination adverse events. Until this day, not a single person was compensated by the Czech government for health damage caused by the COVID vaccines.

In the second part of the hearing, Prof. Jaroslav Turanek, a prominent Czech biochemist, talked about the biological principles of the mRNA technology and about the possible mechanisms of associated adverse events. Dr. Karel Drbal, an immunologist, talked about the problems with quality control of the vaccine manufacturing process and about the Czech pharmacovigilance system. “Most of all, I call for a discussion with the institutions that were responsible for oversight.” The last speaker, a famous Czech vaccinologist Prof. Jiri Beran, repeated his original theses from the beginning of the pandemic. He recalled that rather than population-wide measures, protection of the elderly should have been the priority. He also accented the importance of early treatment of COVID.

The conference room was packed with guests and many people had to stay outside due to the limited space. The recording of the hearing was uploaded to YouTube several days later – and immediately taken down by the platform. The speakers consider this act of censorship of a parliamentary hearing to be utterly appalling.

The participants of the event hope that rationality and evidence-based thinking will slowly start to return to the Czech COVID response debate. The people of Central Europe experienced government over-reach, censorship, and totalitarian practices of the communist regimes before 1989. The COVID era has brought back many ugly memories.