I think we can all agree that 2020 was a crappy year. The reason, of course, was the ‘virus’. Covid-19 was/is a bit of a bugger and has killed millions of people all over the world, with 5,000 and counting in Wales.
As well as killing people this particular coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has resulted in society as we know it being altered in a way those of us living in the free world could only imagine before this hit. Pubs closed, chippys and chinkies only offering takeaways, rugby crowds banned, no 5 a side with your mates, no all-inclusives to Benidorm (contraceptives provided), the gym shut, no hugging random women in bars – nightmare scenario. We have to get out of this, otherwise life is not worth living.
Now there are other coronaviruses that infect humans. There’s 229E (alpha coronavirus), NL63 (alpha coronavirus), OC43 (beta coronavirus), HKU1 (beta coronavirus), MERS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS) and SARS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS). Like all viruses they mutate and make copies of themselves. New strains come and go, usually without any hassle (don’t listen to the BBC, they don’t get science). So how do we get back to normal?
Well, science has invented vaccines. Without them, millions more people would die of the flu for starters. Fact: Vaccines have saved millions of lives. Here’s a few other vaccines you might want to consider: Adenovirus, Anthrax, Cholera, Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type b, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Japanese Encephalitis, Measles, Meningococcal, Mumps, Pertussis, Pneumococcal, Polio, Rabies, Rotavirus, Rubella, Shingles, Smallpox, Tetanus, Tuberculosis, Typhoid Fever, Varicella and Yellow Fever.
So if you ever meet an ‘anti-vac’ person just tell them to f*** off and die.
OK, the good news. We have a vaccine for Covid-19. A few in fact. Are they any good? Do they work? Who knows? But look at the list above. They all work (up to a point) and some are only very low in their % efficacy. Take the seasonal flu vaccine. Some years it is only 60% effective. I remember having a cholera jab years ago to go to Africa and it was only 40% effective. The new Covid-19 vaccines are 75%-90% effective even with just a first dose – that’s pretty good!
Right, so let’s look at Wales and try to work out how long it’ll be before we can go to pubs to watch the rugby and cwtch strangers.
News of the vaccines came through in the autumn and so the Welsh Government have had months to organise GPs, pharmacies, vaccine centres and specialist fridges (if needed). They have also had many months to train additional staff to carry out the vaccinations. Timetables, databases of patients, logistics, demographics, the works… it should all have been in place and ready to go the day the first box of vaccine arrived after the regulator’s approval.
The first person vaccinated in the UK, with the US Pfizer Covid-19 jab, was on the 8th Dec 2020. There were limited supplies of this vaccine but on the 30 Dec 2020 the UK, Oxford/AZN vaccine was also approved. From then on it was ‘Go, go, go!’
Looking at other countries, for example Israel, we saw 150,000 jabs given each day. Wow, I thought, at this rate we’ll be back in the pub by the end of January.
BUT, the WAG has been a little slow.
The first batches of the Oxford jab arrived in Wales and were ready to go on Monday, 5th January 2021. Looking at the list above, we have approx. 907,500 people (first 5 groups) who need to be vaccinated before we can be confident our hospitals won’t be overwhelmed by sick Covid patients. Of course as every day passes and more people get jabbed the closer we get to herd immunity, the less people get sick and require treatment. The less the virus spreads. Every day counts. Every jab saves lives.
So, if we use Israel’s rate of vaccination (150,000 a day), or even accept a lower rate, say 100,000 jabs a day, we can see that in 9 days from 5th Jan we would be in a great position by 14th Jan (today, at time of writing). OK, it takes 10 days to acquire immunity so we need to add that on. (That means pubs rammed by 24th Jan at the latest!)
The totally incompetent WAG, who have no excuse whatsoever, (as of 2 days ago) had done just 86,000 out of the 327,000 doses they already have.
This is terrible! Why are 241,000 vaccines sitting on a shelf when they should be in someone’s arm? At this rate we’ll be still jabbing people by next Christmas!
As for the second doses of the vaccines – England have done 374,613 while only 79 have been done in Wales.
Instead of leaving this important task up to Getinthere and Dripford why don’t we contract it out to intravenous smack users. They could administer the vaccine much faster than these highly paid, out of their depth clowns. I don’t mind having my jab in an underpass if it means the pubs can open sooner.
The good news (don’t all laugh at once) is that the WAG has pledged that all over 50s will have had a vaccine by Spring. Probably not fast enough to save the 6 Nations but we’ll see.
Watch this space.