Will the vaccines stop the pandemic – or will we go to war over their supply?
Sceptic as I am, and despising the present Government in the UK as I do, I have to admit that I’ve been (pleasantly) surprised at the ‘success’ of the vaccination programme. There were a few blips at the start but, in general, matters seemed – and continue – to go smoothly.
The spat with the European Union (EU) over supply was the modern day, State equivalent, of a spoilt child taking their ball away when the decision went against them. That seems to have calmed down a bit at the moment – the only remaining issue being the childish manner in which officials in the EU are clinging on to their (it must be said, very lucrative) jobs.
At the same time there are aspects of the vaccine acquisition that need to be considered. The ‘success’ of the vaccines – nearly all of them so far – wasn’t down to some long term programme that was getting close to an effective result. It was very much based on luck. A combination of factors came together which meant that the covid virus was vulnerable to those elements that scientists had been developing for years. Perhaps luck is the wrong word but the virus arrived at just the right time when work of the past was able to more effectively deal with it.
However, when it comes to the British Government their success rests solely upon a gamble. With public money – so none of them were out of pocket – they bought millions of doses of virtually all the vaccines that were in development in the middle of last year. Long before many other governments did so. There was no guarantee that any of these vaccines would work. The fact that they do is ‘good’ for the Buffoon and his Government, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that it was definitely by luck and not design that the vaccines are being put into the arms of the British population at this time.
But then if you bet on every horse in a race you will back the winner – but whether you have ‘won’ financially is another matter. Some might say that it was worth the gamble, and they might be right. But as these new variants come along and doubts start to be spread about the vaccines efficacy in combatting them that situation could change.
And even if some countries are doing well when it comes to their vaccination programmes (and the big hitters at the moment seem to be Britain and Israel – whilst still denying the same treatment to the Palestinians, whose country they occupy, as they do to their own population) the question of what happens about the majority of the people in the world without the finance and clout of those two countries is still in question.
Every government and politician accepts that to end the pandemic it needs to be fought on a worldwide scale but few, if any, are actually doing anything about it. As the figures of those vaccinated start to be counted in their millions in Britain they are being counted in their tens in much of the world.
100,000 and counting
The Buffoon is hoping that the relative success in the speed of the vaccination programme will make people forget about what has (or hasn’t happened) in the last year or so. So to keep the issue live;
Why the 100,000 toll is so bad.
And if we are ‘to follow the science’;
‘Poor decisions’ to blame for UK death toll, scientists say.
The ugly spat between the EU and Big Pharma
At the time of writing this issue has been ‘resolved’ – although there does seem to be a bit of ‘passing the buck’ still going on in the EU hierarchy – we live in a political culture of not taking responsibility. It wasn’t a surprise that there would be conflict once vaccines were developed, perhaps what is slightly surprising was the undignified manner in which it developed (or perhaps not).
Perhaps one of the more disturbing elements of this spat was that it made Arlene Foster, the First Minister of Northern Ireland, sound reasonable.
The story so far;
AstraZeneca defends EU vaccine roll out plan.
EU demands UK-made AstraZeneca vaccine doses.
But the Buffoon is there to calm the nation’s fears.
Was there even an issue at all? If so, what’s being done to speed up production?
EU confirms new vaccine export controls
Bloc backtracks on controls for Northern Ireland.
All in a matter of a couple of days. And making it a field day for the xenophobes and racists.
Preparing for the next pandemic
It’s coming (that’s if we can get rid of the present one)! It’s a matter of when, not if. But unless lessons are learnt from covid then the cosequences in the future will be much more dire – with less slack in the system to come up with sticking plaster solutions.
So some ideas that are starting to be presented.
Make hardware ‘open source’ can help us fight future pandemics.
The problem here – and probably for all such recommendations to deal with a future pandemic is that we live in a capitalist controlled society. ALL the measures that might be suggested that would have a real effect will go against the ideas of ‘liberal economics’ and the capitalist concept of ‘freedom’ – freedom to exploit workers and the situation, freedom to maximise profits. There’s a conflict from the start.
Now that (in Britain) the vast majority of the ‘most vulnerable’ have been offered the vaccine it’s now open season for intetrest groups to say who should be next. (Not a judgement, just a statement of fact.)
Charity calls for homeless people to be given vaccine priority.
Older age groups in UK ‘will die’ if Covid vaccine priority goes to younger key workers.
The climate of fear
If you create a climate of fear don’t be surprised when people are fearful. UK Covid patients are dying needlessly due to unfounded fears about ventilators. (But this then gives the Government someone to blame – other than themselves – for some of the deaths.)
How the figures are used sometimes obscures the truth
On 27th January Radio 4’s More or less discussed how the figures of reported deaths are often used for shock effect by various sections of the media – and politicians.
International vaccination programmes
Israel’s vaccine roll out has been fast, so why is it controversial and what can other countries learn?
This was going to be an issue from Day 1. If a vaccine was the ‘solution’ the rich were going to get it first – despite any logic to the contrary. Welcome to the next mass extinction.
WHO (World Health Organisation) urges Britain to pause covid jabs after treating vulnerable.
This is a strange one and part of the legacy of racism. Vaccine scepticism lurks in town famous for syphilis study. And there will be many places and countries around the world where such scepticism will be encountered – as a result of imperialist interventions over centuries. Another example of ‘chickens coming home to roost’.
NHS will take months to return to normal in England.
Covid could cost children £350 billion in earnings due to lost learning. Read the full observation from the Institute for Fiscal Studies: The crisis in lost learning calls for a massive national policy response
Ministers accused of failure to help most deprived as covid infections fall far slower in poorest areas
‘Variants’ is becoming the buzz word now. South African scientists who discovered new covid-19 variant share what they know.
Is the evolution of the virus a good or a bad thing? Will coronavirus really evolve to become less deadly?
This could just as well as gone under the ‘climate of fear’ heading as such speculation certainly doesn’t help to create calm. And if the Government is concerned about eventual vaccine take-up then having someone, a so-called ‘expert’, passing aspersions on the efficacy of the present vaccines that’s not going to help. It seems that there are more people than ever after their ’15 minutes of fame’ – whatever damage that short period in the limelight might cause. Warning UK could become covid ‘melting pot’ as new mutations detected. And even if this were the case then with a population of a mere 60 million out of a world population of 8 billion then there must be other factors at work – those which can be managed – to cause this tiny island at the edge of Europe to be such a menace to the rest of the world.
This is an item that could well be included in the ‘preparations for the next pandemic’. These are the practical matters that have to be sorted out as soon as possible. If not the ‘Nightingale Hospitals’ then what? Something has to replace them (perhaps the concept of ‘fever hospitals’) – for long term defence capabilities of the next pandemic. It needs a radical change of thinking and the development of a clear strategy – but that may be more wishful thinking that bearing any relationship to reality.
Doctors question if London Nightingale hospital was best way to treat covid.
‘ … it [the London Nightingale Hospital] only ever treated 54 patients, was hamstrung by hospitals’ reluctance to release doctors and nurses to work there and was derided by some in the NHS as a costly gimmick.’
Infection and its consequences
Risk of severe covid established early in infection.
Testing has continued to take a back seat to the vaccination programme but if nothing is learnt from the last year and a truly viable, functioning and effective test, track and trace system cannot be established which will be able to come into full programme within a matter of days of a pandemic being identified then there will be no hope of avoiding another disaster similar to that of the last year – and this and the next?
One important aspect of effective testing is it being based locally. The situation forced on the country with the new variant might well be able to point the way forward and also show the difficulties – as well as the advantages – of the country adopting such a scheme.
South African variant of covid found in eight areas of England – door-to-door testing launched.
The rich during a pandemic
We’ll have to see how this develops – it shouldn’t be a surprise if it is just left to fall out of the news. Canadian couple who got vaccine meant for Indigenous people. They ‘might’ face gaol. We shall see.
George Osborne to join Robey Warshaw (a company involved in some of the biggest business takeovers) – and will get a lot of money for doing so.
Experiences of the pandemic
Remember people being bussed from London to Arrowe Park Hospital in Liverpool? In hindsight it wasn’t necessarily a good experience. ‘I wish I’d stayed in Wuhan and missed flight’.