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28 November 2021

Opinion from Adrian Leopard & Co

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Have you been vaccinated against covid? Do you think you are safe? Better check this out
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Have you been vaccinated against covid? Do you think you are safe? Better check this out

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You really do not want to get long covid; it might kill you

Putting aside the anti-vaxxers and the others who have not yet had jabs, amounting to 25% of the adult population still, you could feel the relief as people gradually got their vaccinations.

Sadly, this may not be the panacea you are looking for. A learned professor from Harrow on television this morning was being asked about whether we should have a third “top-up” jab to ensure our immunity was up to the job. The responses he gave were nothing short of very worrying if you were able to read between the lines.

Firstly he said that he thought that whilst the top-up jab would be the cherry on the cake, nevertheless there were many people in the world who needed it more than we do. This seems a fair comment when we hear that large parts of the world have barely started their vaccination programmes.

However what he went on to say was that he hoped the vaccinations which have been done would be enough to “get us through the winter”.

What? Is that it? It sounds as if he is saying that come next year we shall have to go through the entire vaccination programme all over again. And if you don’t, well your chances of catching covid may well be far greater.

In fairness the government has said all along that they are uncertain as to just how long immunity might last but this seems to the be first throw away remark suggesting that it is not going to be that good.

The good doctor went on to point out that at the moment one in ten people who catch covid go on to suffer from long covid. That is extremely worrying as we have seen that long covid can cause terrible medical issues for people and quite a number of those who suffer from it die from it. This is a more serious risk than catching covid itself.

It gets better, doesn’t it?

So when we look around to see whether we are safe now that the restrictions have been lifted, it really is essential to question the measures which are put in place.

Let us take the case of meetings of groups of people, perhaps anything from a dozen to a few hundred, all depending on who and what you are. All meeting places have been advised to make their own risk assessments to ensure the safety of the individuals in the group.  It seems that one of the major areas where they focus their attention is air flow. This is because the virus is an air-borne entity, an aerosol, which circulates particularly in exhaled breath. So in order to stop the breath infecting others, the advice is that capacity of different venues to receive people will be governed to some extent at least by the circulation and removal of air and the number of people present.

This is really all a bit hit and miss and will probably depend on a number of factors but what is clear is that even in a vaccinated society the circulation and transmission of covid is a major issue and there is no such thing as “safe”, merely differing levels of risk. Who is to determine what those levels should be in any given circumstances where venues are merely receiving advice, and then even that advice is apparently not mandatory and an organisation can ignore the advice if it wishes, for example a venue which is expecting a meeting limited to forty people, but the organisers want eighty. Well, that’s all right then!

I don’t think so. Was forty going to be any good in the first place?

What is more vexing is that the information to enable Jo Public to decide whether he wishes to expose himself to the risk, whatever that may turn out to be, is not made available so he cannot make an informed decision as to whether to stay away or attend.

What is at stake? Well, it is beginning to look very much like a waning immunity, remember the good doctor said he hoped we would get through the winter, in circumstances which have varying degrees of “safety” about them. Again another example is whether a meeting might take place and an asymptomatic anti-vaxxer gets in and has the disease. Putting aside the ventilation, distancing, masks et al, there is still a high risk that he could transmit the disease to everyone present. If you were to get it, you would be solely reliant on the efficacy of the vaccination in your particular case. Unfortunately until you are exposed to the disease, you will not know if you are going to catch it or not and if you do, how badly it will affect you.

And there is a problem where people continue to self-distance and wear masks, there comes a point when the activity they seek to carry out is no longer possible in a meaningful way.

Vaccination is of course fantastic; over the decades we have seen how diseases have been wiped out in some cases; we accept that diseases like flu require annual boosters because of variants which creep in but the comments made today will remind people that covid-19 may well require an annual booster, perhaps not two doses now that has been done, but we have to watch out for this because the consequences of getting it are quite possibly going to be far more serious than we realise, especially if you are one of the unlucky ones to get long covid. Vaccination is not a guarantee that you will be unaffected.

And look at Australia – they have adopted the rather odd policy of stopping people leaving. Not much information on this yet; perhaps it will emerge over the next day or so. Still – not a bad place to be trapped.

Arian Leopard 11-08-21

Photo David Clode

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