As soon as I heard Boris Johnson say, “The United Kingdom has ordered enough doses of the vaccine to vaccinate a third of the population,” I started wondering exactly how he could mess this up despite the wonderful news.
Could he have accidentally had the order sent to his old address? Did he mistakenly order the vaccine that was only compatible with the socket in his old ’phone? Will they all arrive safely stored at -80°C and then he’ll leave them next to the radiator? (Although at least we finally have a use for those 5,000 Brexit fridges5,000 Brexit fridges!)
And then it came to me. This is what will happen with this most significant of orders:
I was wondering whether the covid sceptics’ brigade would – now that an end to the crisis is in sight – suddenly switch sides and insist that the lockdown continue throughout 2021 just to be as pointlessly contrary as they have been up to this point.
But no, instead we’ve been treated to the usual range of sensible arguments against vaccination such as:
- “The virus doesn’t exist, and also I’m not having a vaccine because that involves you injecting me with a virus.”
- “Covid has a 99.9% survival rate – and if it’s so safe then why’s it worth the risk involved in you putting a deadly disease into my body?”
- “Until this vaccine has been researched for a good 5-10 years, we can’t be sure it doesn’t cause dangerous after-effects that far down the line. So I’d rather get covid instead because we know that’s mild.”
- “It’s not all about data! My life is more important than data!”
I was very fortunate to be able to interview one of the leaders of the anti-vax movement, over Zoom from his bunker in Arizona, and here’s what he said (well, sang):
In which Bernard Woolley turns in his grave
The government’s chief scientific advisor, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam (pictured), has the rare distinction of a surname that sounds like a drug: ‘Get me 200mg of van-tam in an IV, stat!’
He also gave a press conference on Monday from a breaker’s yard in Ipswich. At that press conference, he was very clear on what the transition from now until a vaccine is ready will be. It will be:
Like getting to the end of the play-off final, it’s gone to penalties, the first player goes up and scores goal. You haven’t won the cup yet, but what it does is it tells you that the goalkeeper can be beaten.
He was also quick to warn, however, that:
We’ve seen the swallow but this is very much not the summer.
And, because this was a slightly obscure comment, he followed it up with the helpful clarification that:
This, to me, is like a train journey where you’re standing on the station – it’s wet, windy, it’s horrible – and two miles down the tracks, two lights appear and it’s the train. And it’s a long way off. We’re at that point at the moment. That’s the efficacy result. Then we hope the train slows down safely to get in to the station. That’s the safety data. And then the train stops. And at that point the doors don’t open. The guard has to make sure it’s safe to open the doors. That’s the regulator. And, when the doors open, I hope there’s not an unholy scramble for the seats.
And then the whole ship goes off the rails…
That helpful list of vaccine analogies in full:
- A millipede on a skateboard (because it will take a lot of leg-work for it to be rolled out)
- The Radio Times (because there’s a schedule and it doesn’t happen all at once)
- A hypothetical haystack (because it entails a lot of needles)
- Trying for a baby (because it takes multiple doses in order to be effective)
- That’s it.
I’ve been very remiss in blogging but you can still find my growing collection of sermons and other Jewishy bits and bobs on the Jewish resources page.