Experts and health professionals on the vaccine, the variants, the government’s strategy, the risk of long-COVID, and what living with Covid really means.
First published in July 2021.
WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY
Vaccines & variants
Dr Tom Frieden, Physician trained in Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Public Health, and Epidemiology, Former Commissioner of Health of the City of New York:
“As long as there is spread of Covid around the world, even worse variants than Delta can emerge. As long as we are not scaling up manufacturing, especially of the mRNA vaccines, we are not doing everything that we can to protect ourselves, protect the world, and save lives.
“Moderna used billions of taxpayer $ and has $12 billion in the bank. They and Pfizer focus on selling boosters to rich countries but have done virtually nothing to scale up vaccine production for the billions of people who don’t have access.
“All effective vaccines need to be scaled, but mRNA has particular promise – more rapid scale, more effective, safer, easier to tweak for variants. The company and Biden’s administration need to urgently scale up mRNA manufacturing. The US and global future depend on it.”
BioNTech and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.
“Living with Covid”
Dr Zubaida Haque, former Interim Director of the Runnymede Trust, founding member of Independent SAGE:
“A reminder of where we are with Covid: this time last year, we had ~1200 daily cases, ~100 covid hospital admissions and ~10 daily deaths. A year on, we have very high cases, hospitalisations and deaths and absolutely no legal mandates for covid public health measures.
“The government has scrapped legal mandates for face masks, social distancing, isolation for close contacts (for fully vaccinated adults and under 18-year-olds), and there is only guidance (but no legal mandate) for enhancing ventilation. The government has abdicated all responsibility for keeping us safe.
“And in handing over the responsibility of the pandemic to the public and businesses during a time of very high cases, the government’s message is clearly that Covid safety is an individual problem, that infections don’t matter and that we are no longer in this together.
“Let’s be clear about what “living with covid” means. It means millions of vulnerable people having LESS freedom. It means more postponed [elective] surgeries, ill NHS staff and fewer ICU beds. It means accepting much more Long Covid disability and deaths. How is that acceptable?”
The Herd-Immunity Myth
Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, Chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI):
“Reaching herd immunity is not a possibility. The problem with this virus is [it is] not measles. If 95% of people were vaccinated against measles, the virus cannot transmit in the population.
“The Delta variant will still infect people who have been vaccinated. And that does mean that anyone who’s still unvaccinated at some point will meet the virus … and we don’t have anything that will [completely] stop that transmission.”
Covid, children & schools
Professor Christina Pagel, Professor of Operational Research, University College London (UCL):
“England is increasingly alone in its stance which effectively suggests that infections in children are nothing to worry about. I believe we need to join our international colleagues, take infections in children seriously, and urge the government to follow international best practice as laid out by the CDC and ECDC to make schools as safe an environment as possible.”
— AUTHORS —
▫ PMP News reporting.
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[This piece was first published in PMP Magazine on 24 August 2021. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]
(Cover: Flickr/Number 10. - Boris Johnson. | 20 August 2021. / Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)