April 6 2021

The USA have apparently told AZ that they should cut ties with the vaccine manufacturer who ran into production difficulties with yet another batch of vaccine not satisfying quality control issues and having to be wasted. These things do happen from time to time that is why we have quality control. It seems odd that the company should be criticised for ensuring safety. They could easily have let the issue slide by. We would then be none the wiser. Thank goodness AZ are such an ethical company.

Staying with AZ vaccine, 400,000 perfectly good doses have been blocked from going to Australia from an EU based factory. It should have arrived for the end of March. The Australian Prime Minister blames his country’s slow start to the vaccination programme on the behaviour of the EU.

Whilst everyone seems satisfied with the path out of lockdown proceeding smoothly the scientists still believe that we may be faced with a third wave of cases in July- August, in which case the final steps may have to be delayed. There is expected to be a small rise in the number of cases associated with reducing restrictions.

Gavin Williamson has confirmed that masks will have to be worn by secondary school pupils until at least the 17th May.

The debate about the possible very rare side effect of the OAZ continues with various regulatory bodies due to publish their latest opinions later this week. The numbers involved make it such a rare event, that interpreting the statistics may be difficult. Everyone will want to stay on the side of safety. It seems to me wise to suggest in the vaccine data that there is a possibility of a causal effect rather than a temporal relationship. This will remind everyone to be watchful and to monitor the numbers of cases very carefully. I do not at the moment feel there is any reason to change our advice on its use.

Consider the oral contraceptive pill, taken daily by millions around the world. We have known for years about its association with blood clots in the veins of the leg which in turn can cause a fatal blood clot on the lungs- a pulmonary embolus. This is a much greater risk accepted by the females in the population.

The Valnerva vaccine has started production in West Lothian. The owners, a French Biotech Company, are confident about it and production has started ahead of formal approval. The UK has some 60 million doses on order before the end of the year. This vaccine is different to the others available, it is described as an ‘inactivated whole virus’ type. Other vaccines like this include, seasonal influenza, hepatitis A, polio and rabies vaccine.

When looking at our limited statistics tonight remember Spain with 163 cases per hundred thousand every day and France who had 70,000 new cases on Sunday alone.Because of the weekend the only new figures to be releases are 2,379 new cases testing positive. The rate continues to fall with now only 41.4 cases/100k being reported.

The death rate is now 20 yesterday. Still affected by the holiday, but the death rate is now only 0.3/100k of the population. Tomorrow we should have a full set of data to work with again.

Remember our key objectives are to get every adult immunised twice as quickly as possible. Then to prevent transmission from one person to another to prevent local outbreaks, Then to prevent British Nationals contracting the disease, especially the new variants of concern outside the UK and bringing them back. This is why holidays abroad are still not allowed and why we have compulsory quarantine. It is also why we should stay local in our day-to-day activities.

Stick rigidly to these rules and we should all be safe.

Remember your thoughts and comments are very helpful to many people. They help me to understand what is causing concern or needs better explanation.

We are all in this together, we will do much better united together in tackling the issues, so keep supporting one another and stay safe.

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