2023-08-25 10:28

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Prof Sir Simon Wessely And Prof Chris Whitty In Discussion 1st April 2021

Derek Maylor, NW BT Unions H&S Co-ord member and Health & Safety Officer (Telecom section) of the CWU's Grter Mersey Amal Branch; reports on a Royal Society Of Medicine webinar, discussing Covid with leading experts:

All vaccines are about weighing up the evidence outputs against not doing it, for Covid vaccines their usage far outweighs the outcome of not having them as a nation. If there was any significant evidence in the efficiency of the vaccine we would stop – but the opposite there is no evidence of efficacy waning, even without the second vaccine dose. This is quite normal with any vaccines. The data is in line with what we expected clearly, also if I am questioned which vaccine is best, the best vaccine is the one you are getting.   

The South African variant is a concern but not as big a concern as things were a year ago. Data shows that we may still get affected and contact the virus but it will not “knock you out” after any of the vaccines. We always knew there would be variants, the first and current variants are not getting around immunity but they are better at transmitting. If we look forward two years there will be a large choice of vaccines available to everyone in the world who wants one.

Already we are already able to turn round a vaccine to a new variant extremely quickly, faster than ever before with joined up international technology. We do not want to look back in six months’ time and say we should have not relaxed when we did, but to be sure it may be a year or even two before we are “normal”.

Stopping any variant coming into the UK is not possible, no border controls will do that; it can be slowed down though. With border policy you don’t worry about who is lower than you just those countries where it is higher – but that is when border policy is rational which is not always the case.  

There are slight different side effects in the vaccines but getting a headache is better than getting Covid, importantly and sadly there always a low possibility but high impact event for the one person – that is true for any other vaccine, medicine or medical intervention.

Covid is here to stay, it is a disease that is going to be around for rest of our lives so how we deal with it as a country and internationally is by cooperating.

Between 7 and 9 thousand people die every year from the flu and in a bad year that can go up to 25,000. There will not be a zero death rate with Covid but that has to be the aim. However, if we told everyone to lock down next winter we would have very few flu deaths but it would not be politically acceptable. We will not go back to a covid traffic light system but society itself will have to make a decision on when death number become unacceptable.    

The Royal Society of Medicine www.rsm.ac.uk

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