Boris Johnson’s recent speeches make it clear that he is pinning all his hopes for the defeat of Covid-19 on the recently-approved vaccines. Some hope!
He seems to have a pathological urge to interfere. So after Pfizer made it clear that vaccination consists of two doses of the same drug, three weeks apart…
Here’s the info given to people who had the first Pfizer dose
‘ you will receive two injections 21 days apart. Protection against Covid-19 may not be effective until at least seven days after the second dose’ pic.twitter.com/UDKmfc5vLb
— Jacky Davis (@DrJackyDavis) January 4, 2021
… Johnson had to stick his oar in and demand that the jabs must be three months apart. Then he said the second injection might be of a completely different vaccine that works in a completely different way (after Oxford/AstraZeneca was approved). Now he’s saying people might only get a single injection.
He’s chasing positive headlines and the approval ratings that he thinks will come with them if he’s able to show that large numbers of the population have been injected. Fat chance!
The issue here is immunisation, not injection. The people who have had the vaccine might as well have been injecting heroin for all the good it will do them if they don’t get the booster shot of the same vaccine three weeks later.
They certainly won’t be immune to Covid-19 – in any of its forms – if Johnson gets his way.
His obsession with the vaccine indicates that he has turned his back on what was formerly the Great White Hope of his anti-Covid campaign: test, track and trace.
No doubt he hopes we will all do the same. Again, fat chance:
Whatever happened to track and trace, and the billions wasted on it?
— Richard Murphy (@RichardJMurphy) January 5, 2021
I would like to see a full account of the use of £12 billion – that is £12,000,000,000 – spent by the Government on Test and Trace which never worked properly. We need to know WHERE DID THE MONEY GO?
I strongly suspect CORRUPTION
— Tom London (@TomLondon6) January 4, 2021
In fact, Johnson has now spaffed £22 billion on the scheme which was handed to private companies including the discredited Serco under the government’s emergency procurement system (meaning there was no process to find the best possible choice), to be run by former jockey and failed businesswoman Dido Harding (who is ironically married to the Tories’ anti-corruption chief).
Johnson’s hope that this would be swept under the carpet is forlorn. We already know that the system has been a catastrophic failure. According to The Guardian,
The government’s test-and-trace programme to combat Covid-19 in England has repeatedly failed to meet targets for delivering test results and contacting infected people despite costs escalating to £22bn, a damning official report has revealed.
The National Audit Office (NAO) has found that the centralised programme is contacting two out of every three people who have been close to someone who has tested positive, with about 40% of test results delivered within 24 hours, well below the government’s targets.
The report said a target to provide results within 24 hours of in-person testing deteriorated to a low of 14% in mid-October before rising to 38% in early November.
Call handler contracts for those working on test and trace were worth up to £720m but many staff had very little to do, auditors said.
By 17 June, the utilisation rate – the proportion of time that someone actively worked during their paid hours – was 4% for health professionals and 1% for call handler staff, the report shows.
Utilisation rates remained well below a target of 50% throughout September and for much of October. This means substantial public resources have been spent on staff who provided minimal services in return.
Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak went on the record to say public borrowing has to be reined in after the huge amount of expenditure related to Covid-19. This was before Johnson announced the so-called “Lockdown 3” and he had to shake the Magic Money Tree for another £4.6 billion to help businesses survive the next seven weeks.
Perhaps he should take steps to claw back the UK public’s £22 billion that was thrown away on a “test, track and trace” system that not only did not work but, it seems, was never serious in even trying?
Perhaps he should claw back the hundreds of billions that he and Johnson spaffed on other contracts, using their now-notorious “fast-track” procurement system to hand huge contracts to relatives of Tory donors or personal friends running cowboy operations, while ignoring bids by people with genuine expertise?
But no. There’s no hope of that happening!
It would require common sense – and there’s no sign of that in the Johnson government.
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