Vaccine programme – Blair intervenes again !

I have been saying for awhile that ex Prime Minister Tony Blair would have made a much better job of managing the pandemic. In February 2001, Blair personally took control of the foot and mouth crisis, and successfully managed it to its conclusion after it started to go wrong. Before Christmas, Blair was urging the government to give as many people as possible an initial dose of a Covid vaccine – rather than preserving stocks so there is enough for second jabs. Both the Pfizer-Biontech and Oxford University-Astrazeneca vaccines require two doses to be fully effective. Mr Blair said his idea would speed up the vaccine programme so the country could come out of lockdown sooner.

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In a move that is bound to once again upset the left of the Labour Party, Tony Blair is calling for a vaccination strategy overhaul, following the likes of Israel with impressively rapid coverage. Appearing on Sky News this morning, the former Prime Minister (who has been worryingly sensible about the need to end lockdowns through rapid vaccination) said that the limit on pharmacy distribution must be abolished, all GP practices should be distributing, and occupational health workers must be deployed. The UK got off to a good start but things now appear to be lagging…

Blair went on to say that “We are not yet at the stage where we are using every single piece of infrastructure that we could.” Given the cost of lockdown is over £1 billion a day, it is staggering that the Government has not put the country on a total war footing to deliver these vaccines faster. Israel is right – we should copy them.

Jonathan Van-Tam has this morning written in today’s Mail on Sunday outlining a shift in approach from the Government with regard to temporary single dose vaccines, saying “it’s better to give two grandparents 89% protection than to give one 95% – and the other none at all.” Clearly the Government has form on listening to the free market think tankers and Tony Blair who called for this…

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