Thursday, 14 January 2021

Vaccines and

 how to vaccinate seem to be the latest topic over which people are arguing.

First of all though may I say something? As I understand vaccines they are  designed to protect us from getting ill or, at very least, reducing the severity of illness. They may not work on everyone and some people are unfortunate enough not to have access to them because of other medical conditions. Vaccines are not drugs designed to cure us of illness. 

Now, assuming I have that right, I am also assuming that some vaccines may be more effective than others. Certainly this would seem so from some of my reading and what is being said in the media. Logic also suggests that this might be the case. From there it would seem simple to suggest that you use the most effective vaccine and all will be well. All we need to do now is vaccinate everyone with the most effective Covid19 vaccine and all will be well?

No. First of all there are ongoing discussions around which vaccine is actually the most effective. You just look at the results don't you? No. It really is not as simple as that. No vaccine will be 100% effective but even one that rates highly may not be the most useful.

Two of the main contenders for the Covid19 vaccine require storage at very low temperatures, far lower than the normal refrigeration required for most vaccines. Even in a country like Germany, where one of these vaccines was developed, this poses problems of storage and distribution. So if you have another vaccine which is "almost" as effective but can be stored in the way most vaccines are stored then you might be better off using that?'s possible. Is it available? How much does it cost? 

Getting it to people is also an issue. It might be that there is the need to vaccinate a very large population in a small geographical area or small population in a very large geographical area. Do all the vaccines need two doses days apart or is there a single dose vaccine? The first suggests we need double the manpower to administer it and that more people will need to be drafted in to help - and, to date, I don't think an effective single dose vaccine has been produced. The second suggests that there are going to be issues actually reaching remote areas.

All these things and more need to be taken into account when decisions are being made. It's a balancing act. In the end we have to try and go with the most effective vaccine for the lowest cost.

And that is why I get so frustrated with "experts" - some of whom should definitely know better - telling us that we should be doing one thing or another. The most likely thing here is that one type of vaccine will be more valuable than another in some settings and another will be of greater value in another setting. Political commentators who criticise the government for "lack of action" are often aware of the problems associated with such things. They simply ignore it in an attempt to gain political advantage. That sort of behaviour is not helping anyone.

When the time comes I will put my paw out and accept the jab those who know more than I do have decided is best for me. 

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