Another day and another Covid story. In the U.K. only 10 million of the 30 million Covid booster jabs have been claimed so far.
Covid-19 Good News and Bad News.
November 8th 2021: There has been a concerning update from the U.K. government that not enough eligible people have so far committed to having the Covid-19 vaccine booster shot that could help ease the strain on the National Health Service and the care sector as winter coughs, colds, flu and Covid take a firmer grip.
With the proviso that 182 days or 6 months must have passed since the persons second Covid vaccine people over 50 years old, people that work in the care and health sectors or over 16s with underlying health issues can take advantage of the booster. As immunity wanes over time, this vaccine is as much to protect the health services as the person themselves.
The good news is that to date 10 million vaccines have been given out in the U.K. during the autumn booster programme but the government figures show this represents only a third of the number expected to be issued. The B.B.C. has reported that 30% of over 80s and 40% of over 50s who meet the eligibility criteria have yet to signal any interest.
Boris Johnson Appeals to the Eligible
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appealed to the over 80s and over 50s who are offered the jab to get the "lifesaving" top up. Too many of the elderly are finding themselves in hospital according to BoJo.
The idea of the booster programme is to reduce the risk of hospitalisation and deaths across the nation. The flu jab is also being offered to 40 million people to offset another risk. A sense of urgency prevails as hospital bed occupancy reached 94-96% in early November 2021 according to Chris Hopson, Chief of N.H.S. Care Providers and that equates to peak winter occupancy already. The concept of the booster shot today to save the worst case scenario tomorrow seems reasonable so why is there not a stampede at the vaccine centres?
Covid Complacency Leads to Crisis?
Is ambivalence or complacency to blame for the reticence and apparent disregard people are showing towards the Covid booster? Perhaps it's weariness after 20 months of Covid affected life. Worse, is it simply that the government isn't always deemed to be the most trustworthy body especially during the present scandal regarding parliamentary standards and ministers holding second jobs? Maybe Boris Johnson hopes that when the queen feels stronger and is back out and about he can persuade her to make a plea to the people. The population respects her far more than any political figure. In the meantime, he's being his ebullient and hopeful self.
Christmas 2021 Liberty at Risk?
Whatever the reason for the slow take-up rate, not having the booster jab could mean that stringent measures are reintroduced given the right circumstances. There have been murmurings from the government and scientists that restrictions might be required if cases increase rapidly and the overwrought and under resourced National Health Service starts to buckle under the strain of additional Covid healthcare requirements.
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The dreaded phrase "draconian measures" has been uttered. So too has the suggestion of Christmas being affected. Professor Jonathan Van Tam, England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer has warned of a hard winter and suggested that there is a misconception that the pandemic is over. It's not and concerns are real. "I would say we're kind of half-time in extra time, and I think the final whistle in terms of - I can't predict it - but my personal view is that we've got a few more months to run, and I think we'll be in a much calmer set of waters by spring."
Watch part of his interview with the B.B.C. here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-59147547
People Must "Play their part."
Calling the booster programme a "national mission" Health Secretary Sajid Javid has urged younger relatives to assist elder family members to get their Covid booster arranged and has asked that people "play their part." To use an old adage it seems that the message is very much "a stitch in time saves nine".
The government would also like the 4.5 million people who haven't had their first Covid vaccine yet for whatever reason to act before winter sets in. Covid related deaths are highest in the unvaccinated population.
Up to the 4th November 2021 official government statistics showed that over 50 million first Covid vaccines have been delivered but 9160 Covid sufferers were in hospital on the date the figures were collated.
Boris and Sajid have worked on a Plan B should cases and deaths, relatively stable today, rise in the days ahead. The booster vaccine rollout programme will continue and if the remaining eligible recipients offer up their arms for the jab then perhaps Plan B, the worst case situations and further dismay can be avoided.
It's in the people of the U.K.'s hands to a very large degree. If restrictions are reinforced will the eligible but unwilling look to their own inactions or blame the government and "others" for the ensuing drama? Time will tell.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Joanne Hayle