#15 Botox for Boris
A friend messaged me a couple of days ago: "It's good news about the vaccine, isn't it!"
Others are better qualified than me to explore the efficacy, or otherwise, of possible vaccines. You and I, however medically unqualified, can look at the big picture. You might think that the critical attribute of a vaccine is that it prevents infection. But there again, given that by far most common symptom of being infected with Covid 19 is being asymptomatic – i.e. feeling perfectly well – perhaps we don’t need to worry too much about infection. That is just as well because the criteria set for approval “do not measure the difference between infection and noninfection as a primary motivation.”
If they don't prevent infection, maybe the vaccines will prevent death or hospitalization of the vulnerable? Maybe indeed, but remarkably none of the trials list the prevention of death and hospitalization as a critically important barrier. The trial protocols of Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca require only that they prevent moderate symptoms which may be as mild as a cough or a headache.
Are such meagre benefits worth the expenditure of billions of pounds? The answer, by any normal standards of judgement, must be 'no'. However Governments desperately need a vaccine. The critical value of a vaccine to the UK Government (and others) is that it is a means to exit their disastrous lockdown policies without having to admit that the whole thing has been a medically unnecessary and stupendously damaging mistake. A vaccine is Botox for Boris. He will save face. He will roll out the vaccine, millions of healthy people will be protected from a virtually non-existent threat and from symptoms they were unlikely to suffer anyway and Boris will claim victory over the virus at the cost of billions more pounds.
Edit: I realised after publishing this that the vaccine has another benefit: all those people who have been bullied or frightened into believing that Sars-Cov-2 is a real and lethal threat to the whole population will have a rationale for letting go of their fear. A vaccine may have a nugatory effect on the virus, but it could allow people to live freely again without ever having to acknowledge how badly they have been fooled.
Given the small sample sizes and the haste of the trials it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that the vaccines will have unintended and undesirable side-effects. If that occurs Neil Ferguson can be trusted to produce an absurdly inflated projection of millions of deaths which the Government will claim the vaccines prevented, thus justifying whatever damage they cause: after all they will have 'prevented millions of deaths’ just like the lockdowns.
The average age of death of people who die with or of Covid-19 is higher than the average age of death overall. We never needed to lockdown, we don't need 'Test and trace', we don't need masks, we don't need a vaccine. We very much do need thoughtful, honest, courageous leaders. We do not have them.
There is no medical or economic justification for spending billions of pounds on a vaccine which merely mitigates the symptoms of a disease that is an infinitesimal threat to people under 70. But the vaccine will save the faces of our criminally incompetent politicians. By the time the mainstream commentariat catches up with this charade they will all be safely retired, sharing platforms with Tony Blair and telling us how much better things would be if they were still in charge.