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 this Covid-19 RSM event which he attended via video conference on 27th November:
On this week’s panel chaired by Prof. Sir Simon Wessely were Prof. Trish Greenhalgh, Professor of Primary Care Health Sciences at Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford; Prof. Peter Openshaw, Professor of Experimental Medicine at Imperial College London and Prof. Walter Ricciardi, Professor of Public Health at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, and past President of the Italian National Institute of Health.
SARS-CoV-2 is the aetiological agent of Covid and it makes protean manifestations affecting multiple organ systems including the lungs, heart, brain, kidney and vasculature.
The EU as an organisation was helpful as a joint approach was easier for development of the vaccine. We are seeing several trials coming through at the same time, but there remain many challenges, the panic may be over by spring but it also may dominate life for years in the manner that it is still there, but we have it under control.
We may however need ongoing vaccinations every few years or even annually like flu but fortunately the immune response is many times higher than the natural infection. We remain in unprecedented times but should not be worried about the media which pick a single line from data and highlight it as a problem, then they say the virus has gone and go back to your life. Even experts have to be consistent and too many people think they need to say something new when they are approached by the media.
GP clinics are chronically underfunded, and many things are getting passed down to their care within the NHS as patients are told they are better getting treated in the community – they are better off but only if that community is supported and that not been the case. Some groups of people, maybe for cultural reasons, are not engaged and will not got to a clinic.
There are not enough GPs and they need to be at the centre of a vaccination roll out (this is covered in the next issue of The Lancet). Longer term problem and nothing to do with the virus is the age of the average GP and those coming through the system does not match up, if we move patients between primary and secondary care this must be addressed.
Antivaxxers are not as much of a problem as the false information which is being out on social media that makes them seem significant.
We can point out that vaccination prevents deaths or severe life changing reaction from polio, diphtheria, smallpox, measles, rubella and other diseases.
We should stop using the term herd immunity and use community immunity, it is more dignified and respectful. Vaccines may be ready to mobilise the week beginning the 21st. December.
• Libby & Lüscher. (21 August 2020, Pages 3038–3044,). COVID-19 is, in the end, an endothelial disease. From: https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/41/32/3038/5901158. Accessed 26/11/20.