Vaccine, yes or no?

Image thanks to USA Today

I’m not an antivaxer, I have had all of my jabs. I ensured that my daughters had their jabs and I understand the significant effect that vaccination has had on infectious diseases across the world. They have saved billions of lives.

Why then am I concerned about the upcoming COVID-19 vaccines that are coming to market? 

It’s not a question of big pharma. I appreciate the effort it has put into finding several vaccines and understand that they are commercial organisations, seeking to make a profit from their discoveries. They are not immune to making mistakes however and this is driving some people’s concerns. Most concerns relate to drug issues rather than vaccines.

It’s not the question of the regulatory regime either. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has strong procedures in place to ensure that vaccines and other drugs are tested rigorously before being allowed for general consumption. The MHRA, however,  has the power to grant an unlicensed medicine or a vaccine temporary authorisation where a product is proven to be safe and effective and is in the best interest of the patient on the basis of available evidence. I do question the pace at which these vaccines have been developed and whether or not all possible consequences have been tested, yet understand that we must carry some risk.

No, it’s a question of politics. I have zero trust in this government and its dabs are all over the thrust behind the vaccination programme. I sense the enormous political pressure that those involved must be under to get the country (and the world) back to normal. Gavin Williamson’s ludicrous proclamation has done nothing to allay my fears.

According to the Guardian ‘The education secretary has claimed the UK was the first country in the world to clinically approve a coronavirus vaccine because the country has “much better” scientists than France, Belgium or the US. Williamson said he was not surprised the UK was the first to roll out the immunisation because “we’re a much better country than every single one of them”.’ The irony meter was of the scale.

Every time I hear a member of the government trying to persuade us of the need to take the vaccine, the more nervous I become.

Will I take it? Yes, of course, but I think it will be a long time before it gets round to my turn.

What then would make me feel less worried about it? The government should get out of the vaccination programme, full stop. It has done its job in securing contracts of supply and should leave the rest to health professionals, organisations that the public (and I) trust, such as PHE and the NHS.

Having spoken to others, I am not alone in my nervousness.

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