The arrival of the first vaccine – the end or the beginning of the problem?

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The arrival of the first vaccine – the end or the beginning of the problem?

Vaccines have become available much sooner than we were led to be the case a few months ago and ‘world-beating’ Britain was the first country in the world to officially authorise it to be used in a mass, nationwide, vaccination programme. We are constantly being assured that it is safe and I suppose we will have to believe that until mortality rates from the vaccine start to outweigh those of the covid virus.

The speed is impressive. It shows what can be done when there’s a will – or perhaps more exactly – the fear that we’re all going to die. Why it takes years for so many life saving drugs to come into production now starts to become a mystery. The delays in the past have benefited no one but the major pharmaceutical companies and just allowed them to hike the prices – arguing the expenses of long drawn out research and development costs. If a worldwide effort – with sharing of intelligence – can provide a vaccine in such a short time it will be interesting to watch the hoops these same companies will jump through to ‘prove’ that it can’t be done in the battle against other diseases.

What is certain is that they won’t admit that the only reason such a process happened with covid was due to the fact that it was having (is having and will have for a number of years in the future) an impact on the so-called ‘developed world’. If the pandemic had had the sense to stick to Africa, Asia and Latin America then it would have been allowed to play itself out. There are already signs that those parts of the world will have to wait until the richer countries have taken the lion’s share of the first batch(es) of vaccines before they start to get put into the arms of the vulnerable in the geographic South.

But there are potential problems, probably coming to a head some time early in 2021, about the priorities of those being vaccinated in the ‘developed countries’ as well as questions about how society treats its ‘vulnerable’ citizens.

In Britain, in the first few weeks of the programme the priorities have been identified as those over 80, primarily those in hospital or what are laughingly called ‘care homes’, as well as those who work in the NHS and other care workers. Then will come the over 80s in the population in general. That’s simple enough and easy to understand and they will more than use up the first batches due to arrive in the UK before the end of December 2020.

In the early stages of the pandemic in Britain more than half of all deaths were of those in care homes. Those deaths took place even after it was well known internationally that the residents of such places were particularly vulnerable due to their location, age and underlying medical conditions. The fact that it took the British Government months to come alive to that fact and supply those homes with the necessary equipment, staffing and, more importantly, funding to be able to mitigate such a situation would, in any civilised society, have had the Buffoon and his cohort charged with manslaughter – if not murder. But we don’t live in a civilised society.

However, once those (who it would be difficult for even the most selfish and egotistical in society to be able to argue should be pushed towards the back of the queue) have been treated as part of the vaccination programme then we are likely to see a vying for position as well as a lobbying of who is more ‘valuable’ to society in what could be called the ‘second tranche’. Even before the first needle punctured the first arm there were noises coming from certain sectors of society. They will become noisier in the future.

Once the over 80s have been ‘protected’ there are valid arguments why it shouldn’t then continue just on a basis of age. Fortunately for them, and British society (but not for the pension companies) there are many in their 60s and 70s who would not be classed as vulnerable under any reasonable definition. In that case it will be necessary for there to be an accepted, and acceptable, programme of those who should be next in line. If not there is a danger of a free for all with those with the greatest amount of fear (or selfishness) together with an element of power, whether that be physical or financial, who will be demanding that they are more ‘worthy’.

What the Government of the Buffoon should be doing between now and the early part of January 2021 is to produce a proposed timetable of who (and when) will be receiving any of the vaccines available. Leaving the vaccination programme to ‘self-develop’ (as they have done with all the testing regimes tried so far) would not only create inequality it could lead to ugly conflicts which (fortunately, though not through the efforts of any government) have been absent in virtually every country so far.

It’s the lifeboat that gets tipped over when people panic.

Resilience of the National Health Service (NHS)

We have been told since March ‘To protect the NHS’ to justify the various restrictions – even though they have shown themselves to be patently useless. But was/is that argument valid? Does the NHS really need protecting?

An interesting item in this article is the fact that the NHS has been paying for – and not using – beds in private hospitals. Private medicine gets its trained staff for free (it’s the State, i.e., us, that pays for all the training of the doctors and nurses) and now we are paying for empty beds – just in case. In a war you don’t ask organisations to do something you tell them. You don’t reward the same parasites who have been sucking the blood from the ther NHS for decades.

When are you most infectious?

When are you most infectious? A report suggests when.

Liverpool ‘pilot’

The Liverpool ‘pilot’ seems to be floundering. Originally a good idea – although there were naysayers from the beginning – it seemed to get everything together, and then just let it fall apart.

I might be naïve but I understand a pilot is out to test certain parameters. That means you need constants which can therefore be checked against expectations. But that hasn’t been the case since the beginning.

The first day opened late (which demonstrated the ‘pilot’ was started too soon) and the number of test centres was only six. That was on 6th November and I don’t think there’s been a day since when the number of test centres has been the same. On the weekend of 30-31st November that number reached a whopping 51 – and has fallen down now (10th December) to twelve-ish.

The idea was that (if not at the beginning) eventually everyone could walk to their nearest test centre – that’s not necessarily the case for the vast majority of the population now. The momentum has been lost and the figures increase very slowly – and it’s almost certain that the people who go to get tested now are repeats. For example, of the final figure I am counted three times.

Still there’s no end date and the only way people will know the ‘pilot’ has finished is when the test sites have locked doors. Whatever the eventual results from this ‘pilot’ they will be useless as there has been no consistency.

Included now is Runcorn and the Wirral. Whilst not necessarily a bad thing it makes a mockery of the idea of a ‘pilot’ that will provide useful information to other areas – although all attention now will be placed upon the vaccination programme. However, as that will take some time to cover a significant proportion of the population testing will still be an important tool in the battle to get on top of the virus.

Neither did it help that a report was published on 3rd December stating that ‘mass coronavirus testing in Liverpool has missed half of positive cases‘. Yet the ‘pilot’ continued and (to date) continues until an unspecified date (although the website suggests al least throughout December into January 2021).

Out of interest the last two (and most recent) reports on the numbers.

Liverpool testing update – 8.30am 2nd December 2020

    • 119,456 Liverpool residents tested using lateral flow
    • 69,390 Liverpool residents tested using PCR
    • In addition, 31,911 people from neighbouring areas have been tested using lateral flow
    • There have been 1,106 positive lateral flow tests – 798 of which have been Liverpool residents

Testing period: 12 midday, 6th November 2020 – 8.30am, 2nd December 2020.

Liverpool testing update – 8.30am 7th December 2020

    • 122,032 Liverpool residents tested using lateral flow
    • 72,894 Liverpool residents tested using PCR
    • In addition, 36,413 people from neighbouring areas have been tested using lateral flow
    • There have been 1,219 positive lateral flow tests – 855 of which have been Liverpool residents

And then the elected Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, gets arrested (then released on bail) on corruption and bribery claims.

How accurate is the new lateral flow test?

This was what was on the Liverpool City Council website, accessed 10th December;

‘How accurate is the new lateral flow test?

The pilot in Liverpool will be used to validate the sensitivity and specificity levels of the lateral flow tests when performed in a large population of asymptomatic people. We are not using LAMP tests as part of the mass-testing pilot.

The type of lateral flow test being used in Liverpool is called Innova. Results of the Innova evaluation published on 11th November 2020 show:

    • the specificity of the test was recorded as 99.68% – the overall false positive rate was 0.32%, although this was lowered to 0.06% in a lab setting
    • the sensitivity is 58% for all PCR-positive people when performed by self-trained individuals and 73% when performed by health care workers but detects over 95% of individuals with high viral loads, and minimal difference between the ability of the test to pick up viral antigens in symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals

Sensitivity means the proportion of people with a disease that have a positive test, whereas specificity means the proportion of people without the disease that have a negative test.’

However, after more than a month of the Liverpool ‘pilot’ doubts started to be expressed about whether the test was worthwhile at all. So how accurate are they really?

Test-track-trace

This matter has dropped way down the scale when it comes to the news now. The magical vaccine is here now and the hope of the Buffoon and his gang is that people will forget (and they are probably right – people will forget their ineptitude, ignorance and incompetence) the disaster they have overseen for the best part of a year. It took way too long for any semblance of any testing and tracking to be introduced in England and now we know what the extent of this ‘world beating’ exercise. England has probably paid more than any other country in the world for a system that hasn’t, isn’t and almost certainly won’t do what it should be doing.

England’s test and trace repeatedly failed to hit goals despite £22 billion cost. £22 BILLION! Why, when people see such a figure aren’t there howls of anger from every corner if this looted island? The population definitely gets the leaders it deserves.

Report finds £720 million army of contact tracers working for only one hour out of every 100 they were paid to. But that’s OK, it’s the ever ‘efficient’ private sector.

‘Jobs for the boys’ is corruption

These accusations are starting to come thick and fast – but will anything stick on the ‘Teflon class’?

The doubtful ability of Edenred to manage the free school meals voucher contract was indicated on this blog months ago. Now it emerges they were given the contract despite ‘limited evidence’ of the capability to deliver.

The Guardian newspaper in Britain also produced a podcast entitled ‘The rise of the ‘chumocracy’.

Even the scientists aren’t free of the whiff of scandal as SAGE is now embroiled in a second ‘secrecy row’ after the Government refuses to publish members’ financial interests. If there’s been a lot of money made from ‘dealing’ with the pandemic there’s much more to be made from ‘curing’ it.

Under Boris Johnson corruption is taking hold in Britain. As if it wasn’t always endemic.

But what are people going to do about it?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

As a sop to the people of Britain some are calling for a tax on those companies who have made billions out of procurement for the State – at hugely inflated prices – to give a £500 bonus to so-called ‘front line’ staff. Yet another diversionary tactic to avoid the real issue – that of the voracious appetite of opportunist capitalism to accumulate as much profit as possible.

The wearing – or not – of masks

It’s not the minimal usefulness of wearing face coverings that makes some people refuse (or at least be reluctant) to follow the supposed ‘guidelines’ – it’s all about psychology.

The reasons the North hit worse

Why is covid-19 more severe in the north of England?

Immunity passports

They will be introduced – either officially or unofficially. But are ‘immunity passports’ a good idea?

The issues around vaccines

The Pfizer vaccine is now being administered: here’s what the next few months will look like.

Covid-19 vaccines are coming – how will we know they work and are safe?

Oxford covid-19 vaccine: newly published results show it is safe – but questions remain over its efficacy.

Poor countries left behind as richer nations ‘hoard’ enough vaccine to immunise populations nearly three times over. This is after the fine words earlier in the year that there would be equal distribution of any vaccine.

Even healthcare workers may be hesitant – but new evidence can be reassuring.

The Covid-19 vaccine was developed in ten months when it normally takes ten years. If the world is supposed to be a better place after this pandemic then all this sort of effort should be directed towards diseases that are (and have been for decades) cutting swathes through the populations in the poorest parts of the world.

Covid vaccines focus on the spike protein – but here’s another target.

Can we believe the statistics?

Did the Office for National Statistics really produce ‘false data’ on coronavirus infections?

How States are always looking for opportunities to control us

Some states have used the pandemic to curtail human rights and democracy.

Care homes – the return of visits

One of the many cruel aspects of the odious Buffoon and his Gang of incompetents is the cavalier manner in which they treat ordinary people. After months of creating a climate of fear to ensure compliance to their cack handed policies introduced to deal with the pandemic they don’t seem to have any compassion to some of the people who are suffering the most from the restrictions on meeting others. But these are merely sound bites to play to the gallery as they the changes, or ‘permissions’, don’t come with the finance or the infrastructure to make the visits feasible.

Radio 4’s You and Yours, 2nd December, had a piece on the difficulties associated with visits to Care Homes.

Poverty in the sceptred isle

1.3 million families to rely on food parcels this Christmas.

Covid-driven recession likely to push 2 million UK families into poverty. This comes from a report produced by the Rowntree Foundation called ‘Destitution in the UK – 2020’.

The ‘zombie mink’ still walking

Considering that the covid pandemic was almost certainly caused by the manner in which the human race, throughout the world and its history, has continued to abuse nature and all life in it for short term gains and/or profit it’s good to hear that nature is fighting back – even from the grave (literally).

Mass grave may have contaminated Danish ground water.

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