The arrival of a vaccine in the fight against the pandemic is a 2021 good news story. It can be a bit galling to listen to the Prime Minister and Health Secretary who would have you think they had personally cooked the vaccine up in the kitchen in Number 10. But its actual development is testament to the strength of UK life sciences.
We should not underestimate the barriers to roll out. A small minority of the public has always been wary of vaccination. From the images of Edward Jenner’s vaccine for cow pox causing recipients to grow horns, the media of the day has given voice to those fears. Inaccurate conspiracy theories doing the rounds on social media are just that – inaccurate conspiracy theories. People should follow the science and think not just about personal choice but the right of the wider community to stay safe.
The other challenge is the roll out of the vaccine fast enough and in sufficient quantities. SAGE adviser Sir John Bell may have been right to say successive governments over the last decade have failed to invest in the capacity to make vaccines, leaving the UK unprepared. But the Government must now move heaven and earth to get the vaccine to the people who need it and that means mobilising not only GP’s but using the Army and urgently creating a new army of volunteers. And it makes sense to do it 24/7. The Government record on PPE and on test and trace was woeful, they cannot afford to fail on the rollout of vaccines.