The vaccination programme – a glimmer of light amidst the many failures of the Government’s Covid-19 policies
By Brian Gallagher
The quality of the Government's performance in the face of the Covid pandemic can be assessed by reference to two factors:
- First the suggestion made at an early stage that the country would be doing well if deaths arising were limited to 20,000;
- second the success of the vaccination programme.
If we use the first factor as a reference the performance of the Government has been poor. Its approach has been littered with dither, delay and indecision. There has been confusion and u-turns. The catastrophe of the second wave has left the country locked up, the NHS at the end of its tether and the economy badly shaken. Lives have been lost that might well have been saved. The experien ce of other first world economies such as Japan and Australia suggest there could have been an altogether better and more effective response. Businesses and jobs are very much at risk and so far, no clear path towards economic recovery has been plotted. The nation's health has also been badly damaged beyond the ravages of Covid. The failure to address the Covid crisis resolutely and effectively has diverted scarce NHS resources from the very many other healthcare issues that our population has to contend with. It could all have been very different.
Regarding the second factor, the Government appointed Kate Bingham and a team to procure vaccines to be used to inoculate the nation. The result of that team's work has seen the development and approval of vaccines within a very short period of time and the roll out of the programme has seen very nearly 10 million first doses administered as I type. Importantly, substantial supplies of vaccine from different producers have been secured and we can all look forward to being vaccinated by the autumn. Of course, problems may still arise. New variants or mutations of the virus may dull the efficacy of the vaccines. There may be supply problems. Nonetheless the development and securing of copious supplies of vaccine has been a signal achievement; similarly, the roll out of the vaccination programme.
The question is why has the Government failed to achieve such high and effective standards in almost all other aspects of its response to the Covid crisis? The Prime Minister has said now is not the time to investigate or address such matters. It is however the time for the Government to shape up and get a grip. Too many lives and futures are at risk!