Jab Setback Must Not Delay Freedom By a Single Day

Britain’s return to freedom could be delayed by the slowdown of the vaccine rollout. A leaked NHS letter suggests that the rollout – the success of which is key to the Government’s “roadmap” out of lockdown – could be approaching a setback in the form of a “significant reduction in the weekly supply” of Covid vaccines next month. But by this point, all over-50s – that is, the most vulnerable to Covid – will likely have been offered a vaccination anyway. The Sun has the story.

Brits’ return to freedom could be delayed due to “significant” Covid vaccine shortages, an expert has warned.

Currently, Boris Johnson’s roadmap of lockdown will see all Covid restrictions lifted by June 21st – with Brits eagerly awaiting the chance to see their mates and head back to the pub.

But most Brits in their 40s were warned they will have to wait until May for their first Covid jab due to the drop in supply.

And experts have since cautioned of the “ripple effects” that the supply delay could cause.

Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in Cellular Microbiology at the University of Reading, said: “It will undoubtedly make the meeting of the target dates for lifting restrictions more difficult than they otherwise would have been.

“By pushing back the under-50s first doses, their second doses are also being pushed back.

“If full vaccination becomes required for holidays abroad or even more mundane things like going to the cinema, millions of younger people may end up being excluded from participating for the whole summer.”

Stephen Glover has written in the Mail that “last night’s revelations about postponing jabs for the under-50s do not provide the PM with any justification for dragging his feet”.

Back in February, when the timetable for getting out of lockdown was conceived, no one can have had any idea how effective the vaccination programme would be. The facts have changed, and the Prime Minister’s – and the scientists’ – views should change with them.

This week alone over four million jabs are expected to be administered in the UK – almost half of all the vaccines that have been received so far in either Germany or Italy.

It’s true, following last night’s concerning revelation, that there will be a “significant reduction in the weekly supply” of vaccines during April, which will delay the jab for the under-50s. But it remains likely that all over-50s will have been offered a vaccination by the end of this month.

According to the Office for National Statistics last year, only two people in every 100 who die from Covid are below the age of 50, and some of these will have underlying health conditions. The short postponement of vaccines for the under-50s does not give the Prime Minister any excuse to stick stubbornly to his dates.

Granted, one jab doesn’t provide complete protection. Nevertheless, we will soon be able to say that the vast majority of people at greatest danger from Covid have a significant measure of protection – provided, of course, that they have been vaccinated.

In January, Matt Hancock told the Spectator that when all of the most vulnerable had been vaccinated, he would “cry freedom”.

The goal is not to ensure that we vaccinate the whole population before that point, it is to vaccinate those who are vulnerable. Then that’s the moment at which we can carefully start to lift the restrictions.

Where are his cries now?

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: The Prime Minister has said there is no change to the next steps of the “roadmap” out of lockdown despite the approaching vaccine shortage.

Stop Press 2: The following is an unpublished letter sent to the Times from a Lockdown Sceptics reader and Professor of Law at Lancaster University Law School.

Dear Sir

The difficulties encountered by the vaccine roll-out are avoidable.

The Government is prolonging lockdown in order to limit infection. But, as a general proposition, the infection of those not yet vaccinated would cause no or minor symptoms and would lead to the acquisition of immunity. And this is precisely the situation the Government is trying to produce through vaccination! But vaccination must encounter immense logistical problems, which certainly will worsen given the nature of the segments of the population yet to be reached, and must create additional medical risk.

There is no rational case for not now abandoning lockdown and radically revising vaccination targets. The Government’s not doing so is further, supererogatory, evidence of the irrationality it has displayed throughout this episode.

Yours sincerely

David Campbell.

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