March 17 2021

We are now regularly having reports of new variants of the virus causing Covid 19. This is to be expected because this is what viruses like this do. We are testing with genomic sequencing all the time now and so are bound to find them. The important thing is that they are not generally mutations that will cause concern.

The Antigua variant seems to be the latest, it comes with two known spike mutations E484KV and N501Y, but does not feature other deletions so is not currently of concern. The two cases in the UK are both isolated and seem contained. There is also the Philippines variant. There are two cases in the UK and 33 in the Philippines. Again, both outbreaks are isolated and not spreading. This should not become a variant of concern.

The Brazil variant from Manaus is causing concern in Brazil where only 5% of the adults have been immunised. There is a significant risk of a third wave but the talk of a resistant supervirus is inappropriate and scaremongering.

100 days ago today, the first public dose of the vaccine was given. Today we have seen the 25th millionth dose given A remarkable achievement with very few issues. It has run very smoothly. As from today the vaccine is available to every adult over the age of 50. We have reached this target ahead of schedule.

Problems are beginning to get more serious in the EU which may lead to significant shortages of the OAZ vaccine in the UK for the next 8 weeks. Let’s be very clear, the scientists and doctors and the official regulators in the EU and in the UK are happy this vaccination is safe and we need to give as much as possible to as many as possible as quickly as possible. This will save many lives. There is NO medical evidence that there is any evidence that veno-thrombo embolic events (clots to you!) occur more commonly in people who have had recent Covid vaccine. Since vaccination began there have been no overall excess deaths. It is extraordinary that the politicians want to pause its use. This action will cause lives to be lost. Professor Ramsey said tonight it’s no good in fridges, it needs to be in peoples’ arms.

Prof JVT compared the leaflet that comes with paracetamol tablets. There is a long list of possible side effects of paracetamol yet we all accept them because the benefits outweigh the risks.

The EU are now threatening to ban the OAZ vaccine made in the EU being used in the UK. They do not want it themselves but are stopping others from having it. Legal battles are going to continue.

Remember the UK financed the development and production of the vaccine and are rolling it out for global use. There are many factories producing it at cost price but many are within the EU. This is why accessing it may become a problem, the vaccine is made available to every country. 100 million doses were put aside for the UK.

Vaccine centres have been warned of shortages for the next 6-8 weeks. We are assured that second doses are secure but we may not be able to move to the under 50s as quickly as hoped for.

Wales have announced today that they plan to offer all frontline health care staff and social care Staff a £500 bonus which would include basic rate tax and NI contributions making it worth nearer £700.

Shielding in England will end on 31st March and staff will be able to return to work on 1st April. The Government say they are committed to moving the whole country out of restrictions at the same time.

Dominic Cummings has made some very disparaging comments about the Dept of Health’s performance in obtaining PPE and in the vaccine roll out when giving evidence to a Committee in Parliament. I am not sure he will have credibility, we will see how this develops.

Remember even if we have a temporary shortage of vaccine there is very good protection from the first dose, particularly in reducing hospital admissions and death.

The French Prime Minister seems at odds with his President. The PM says he wants his OAZ vaccine only to find it halted by president Macron. Firstly they threaten to take us to court to get some and then follow Angela Merkel and suspend it.

Today’s statistics are as predicted. Everything is coming down on track with the exception of the number of new cases which has plateaued.

1,573,774 tests were done on 15 March, of these 5,758 tested positive Only a 1.2% reduction in the last 7 days.

Deaths amounted to 141 which is almost a 305 reduction in the last 7 days.

There are still 7,218 patients in hospital on 15 March with 465 admitted on 12 March. Only 968 patients on a ventilator. Do you remember when we rapidly made 30,000 of them to cope with the crisis? There are factors at work beyond our control. Prof JVT says we must Hold The Line. Do remember to share your thoughts and ideas as a comment or PM me if sensitive. We need the vaccine, please make sure you get yours, do not risk losing it by not turning up.

We will get out of this by immunising everybody as quickly as possible.

So its Still staying at home, staying apart and staying safe.

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