19 May 2022

Opinion from Adrian Leopard & Co

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As the vaccinations proceed everyone wants to know when the lockdown will be over
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As the vaccinations proceed everyone wants to know when the lockdown will be over

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News is full of vaccines so everyone thinks they can go back to normal. They are going to be disappointed

Last week ended with a pot pourri of different matters coming to the top but the predominant news is all about vaccinating the people, both in the UK and world wide. And it does sound both exciting and encouraging. The spin doctors are in their element.

Mind you, with disease numbers in such a bad way now, some good news is definitely needed. Today will see world wide cases exceed 96 million and deaths 2 million. However, the shocker is the UK deaths tally which now stands at almost 90,000. Remember when they said that 20,000 deaths might be a good outcome? But the authorities tell us that now they have vaccinated more people than have caught the disease in the UK which is indeed quite a milestone.

The talk therefore is, as we are doing so well, all about when the lockdown will be lifted. That is a different story because there are going to be unvaccinated people in the country in numbers until probably the autumn and there will still be many unvaccinated people after that too.

So how is a lockdown to be lifted? There is bound to be a general presumption that the majority of those vaccinated will have immunity so they ought to be able to mix with others without too much problem. Of course they could still carry and transmit the disease to others which means there is still an element of risk but we have always known that some risk would continue, just like it does with people catching flu.

Thoughts must again turn to environments where people could mix normally without having to worry if there is a risk of transmission. We are likely to see restrictions placed on people who are not vaccinated with airlines and it seems sensible if the policy of no-go without immunity could be extended. It would enable parts of the economy to be re-opened and in particular the hospitality industry. If pubs and hotels were allowed to police their clientele in such a way as to allow admission only to those with immunity, social-distancing could become a thing of the past within their walls.

Wouldn’t that be marvellous? And it would help businesses to get back up on their feet so much sooner.

Would I be prepared to go to the pub having been vaccinated and mixing normally with others who had been vaccinated? Yes I believe I would. The risk to me is that I may be one of the few for whom vaccination does not work. The risk to others is the same and if only 5% do not achieve immunity, then the risk is fairly low, especially if we continue to be careful.

I do not deny that it would produce a divided society – again – but we are so used to that already that it would probably make little difference and furthermore you still have to overcome the anxiety and concern of those who might still feel vulnerable even if they have had the vaccination because it is not 100% effective. They will continue to stay at home.

So all the people asking when the lockdown will be lifted perhaps should start thinking about innovative ideas about how it could be lifted safely – that would be useful. Let’s start feeding those ideas to the government and remember, at the end of it, if changes are to be made the government will want to make them in the knowledge that they will gain public acceptance. With travel corridors now all removed, “immunity travel” could become just the thing.

We have some good news – now let’s be positive about what that could mean to us.

Adrian Leopard 18-01-21

Photo Alexander Popov

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