Mark Dolan: There appears to have been an outbreak of common sense at the JCVI
Perhaps the old normal isn’t quite as far away as we once feared.
Do you want the good news, or the bad news?
It’s Friday, so let’s start with the good news.
The JCVI, who advise UK health departments on immunisation, are not recommending mass vaccination of children aged between 12 and 15, limiting the availability of the jab just to vulnerable youngsters.
This decision is something that many of us have been pushing for, for months. With children facing a negligible threat from the virus, why would you take the risk of any side-effects, however remote, when they just don't need it. It restores my faith in the medical authorities. There appears to have been an outbreak of common sense, and let's hope this is the shape of things to come.
Going forward, vaccines should be focused on those in vulnerable groups and I think we should make the jab available around the world, to communities who don't have access to it.
This news has been received with cynicism by some, who fear politicians, unions and other jab-happy interest groups will continue to campaign for children to be vaccinated. And it’s a valid concern. However, with the JCVI arguing it's not justified for healthy kids, it's hard to see how politicians could be seen to ignore this guidance.
Would millions of parents seriously queue up to have their 12-year-olds jabbed after being told by the authorities it's not worth the risk? I doubt it.
And here’s the bad news – we are hearing that the government intend to renew the draconian coronavirus act, cementing their unprecedented powers over our lives for another six months. Credit to the Liberal Democrats and a handful of principled Tory backbenchers who will fight this. But with almost guaranteed support from Labour, I doubt they will succeed.
Why do they need to do this? Because they want the ability to lock us down yet again, with all the damage we know that brings.
A year ago, if I’d told you that hospital admissions from the disease would be a fraction of what they were, that the link between cases and sad deaths had been decoupled, and if I told you that over 70% of the population had been vaccinated, you'd have bitten my hand off. You would have assumed Britain would be freedom central. Street parties, bunting and the old normal back with a vengeance. No such luck.
There appears to have been an outbreak of common sense, and let's hope this is the shape of things to come.
The government are also still pursuing Covid vaccine passports, which will create the infrastructure by which your medical status is linked to certain rights, services and freedoms.
Do you seriously think any of this would be rolled back when the pandemic is over? Do me a favour.
Over the last eighteen months, all the Covid measures have been as debatable as they have been damaging. Three national lockdowns in, we have one of the highest Covid death tolls in the world. Sweden had no lockdowns, no mask mandates and boast a lower per capita death rate from Covid.
And in an astonishing development, predictably swept under the carpet by most of the media, no lockdown Sweden have just banned the most vaccinated nation on Earth, Israel, from entering their country.
Their astonishing vaccine rollout notwithstanding, Israel are in the grip of another wave of the virus. Now I welcome the vaccine, I'm double jabbed, but whisper it, it's not the game changer, that we all hoped for.
Don't take my word for it. Professor of Infectious Diseases from Harvard Medical School Martin Kulldord reports that in Israel vaccinated individuals had 27 times higher risk of symptomatic Covid infection compared to those with natural immunity from prior Covid disease.
The vaccine is clearly helpful in the reduction of hospitalisations, severe illness and death, which is great, but it doesn't appear to significantly blunt transmission, so a healthy person having it, is arguably not saving lives. In fact based upon Martin Kulldorf’s comments, you could argue that those who have had Covid, and therefore boast the strongest immunity, should enjoy the most freedom. And public adulation.
Maybe people should put it on their twitter bio and post about it on facebook – “I’ve had Covid, I’m saving lives”. Perhaps we should lock down the vaccinated, who Kulldorf argues enjoy less immunity from the disease. Of course I jest, but do you see my point?
For this long awaited, much heralded vaccine, the halo has slipped. It's not the game changer we hoped for, it's not the silver bullet.
Meanwhile the government want the ability to inflict another six months of more economic and societal damage on the country.
Nicola Sturgeon has hinted that the coronavirus measures will be permanent. There’s a surprise.
Anyone supporting an independent Scotland had better get used to the idea of state control. In terms of Covid measures, we did everything and countries like Sweden, by comparison, did nothing. But the outcomes appear to be eerily similar.
Could it be having had fewer measures, Sweden enjoy - wait for it, here we go - herd immunity? As a result of their light touch approach? Who knows. But rising cases among the vaccinated in Israel has surely killed stone dead, the idea of Covid vaccine passports. Because it dilutes the idea that being vaccinated saves the lives of others.
Just imagine if we had a policy for the last 18 months of protecting the vulnerable, for whom Covid is extraordinarily dangerous and nasty, and let younger healthier people get the virus, recover, and enjoy nature's vaccine.
Unfortunately politicians and SAGE advisors have banked everything on the vaccine as our way out of this. Which it is not. It’s a great tool, sure, but it’s not everything. Which is why we must end this all out assault on human liberty, to get everyone jabbed. It’s become an almost religious obsession now. Even that right royal numpty Prince Harry has muscled in, talking about vaccine misinformation. Misinformation? From someone whose Royal interview with Oprah Winfrey contained more cracks in it, than the hull of the Titanic.
Ranting and raving, the ginger Windsor attacked the vaccine hesitancy of Britain, a country that has embraced the vaccine in its millions. We’re not vaccine hesitant in Britain. Although we are increasingly, Harry hesitant.
Many disagree with me and we will debate it on the show. But we CAN agree, that we all want this to end. And there's only one way to do that. And that's to learn to live with the virus, and understand that this country cannot afford these questionable restrictions any longer.
If it doesn't end now, recent history suggests it never will.
Remember three weeks to flatten the curve?
It’s great news that the authorities have seen reason when it comes to jabbing healthy children, and it gives me hope that data and evidence may now prevail over politics and ideology.
With this decision, the cracks in the cosy Covid consensus are beginning to appear.
Perhaps the old normal, isn’t quite as far away, as we once feared.