Bad vaccine planning down to Boris Johnson dithering – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: John Rayner, North Ferriby.

IF Donald Trump bears significant responsibility for the recent mayhem in Washington, then surely Boris Johnson is similarly culpable, by omission perhaps rather than commission, for the increasing devastation to life and livelihoods in this country during the pandemic?

Recognising that to vaccinate 200 people to 60 or even 90 per cent effectiveness with one dose is better for the population overall than to vaccinate only 100 people to 90 or 95 per cent after two doses, depending on which vaccine is used, nonetheless my wife and I are pleased that her 93-year-old father recently was given his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

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The two of us are content to wait for our turn – some months ahead despite there being many family carers who are not care home staff. While guiding her father through what was a very well organised and smooth process in our local vaccination hub at the Ridings Medical Group in Brough, my wife mentioned to the doctor that we were expecting a postponement but he said, not surprisingly, that it was just not practicable at such short notice while the vaccine batch remains viable.

To what extent is Boris Johnson to blame for glitches with the Covid vaccination programme?

This is just one example 
of the ground-level chaos being caused for front line NHS staff by the chronic dithering and vacillation of the PM and other senior Ministers. Complaints about the order in which different age cohorts have 
been called in, within the first target group for vaccination, probably arise from varied local processes in each delivery area, initial patterns of vaccine distribution, and lack of time for pre-planning.

Some long-retired friends of my wife’s sister live next to a care home in Derbyshire, which was visited before Christmas for the residents to have their first vaccination. During the afternoon, they got a knock on the door from one of the vaccination team who asked if they would like to have the vaccine themselves, as there were some spare doses that needed to be used up straight away. Several other neighbours also had this experience.

This was an eminently sensible initiative to avoid waste of the precious vaccine, but it is the duty of Whitehall civil servants to conduct contingency planning, at the direction of, or at least with the knowledge and assent of Ministers. All the current problems could and should have been anticipated back in the summer, and their likelihood kept under review throughout the autumn. At least one Minister seems to be “driving without due care and attention”.

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The Covid vaccination programme continues to be rolled out.