As the Covid 19 pandemic literally works its way through our society we have many people, governments and institutions, pressing for full vaccination.
From the podium, in London, Dublin and Belfast, we hear the mantra, stay at home, follow the guidelines, socially distance and wait for the vaccine.
I agree with this. While I have concerns around the delays in implementing the lockdowns, track and trace, and allowing schools to remain open, I am no Covid denier.
China, New Zealand, and Vietnam have shown us how a robust response to Covid 19, through prioritising peoples lives over the economy,has drastically reduced death rates and increased survival rates. We can rebuild the economy but we cannot rebuild lost lives. The latest advice is to wait for the vaccine and to get vaccinated.
This is being portrayed by many as the end game for Covid 19 in the short to medium term.
I understand the value of a safe vaccine.
It will help protect life going forward and alleviate pressure on the National Health Service.
It is not immunisation.
It is not a magic bullet
It is not going to stop Covid 19.
What it will do, is help those who contract the virus to have a better chance of survival, thus saving lives and reducing the number of admissions to hospital and the need for intensive care therapy.
It will allow the NHS to catch its breath and return to providing health service provision, not emergency health intervention.
For those who portray the vaccine as the way out of this pandemic nightmare, we must take a step back and review the facts.
The vaccine will not prevent infection, reinfection or transmission of the virus.
All those vaccinated can continue to become infected and pass on this deadly viral disease.
Many may be asymptomatic.
The airline industry pundits such as Ryanair and others are promoting the idea that vaccinations could be a passport to travel.
The jab and go syndrome.
If you have been vaccinated you’re safe to travel nationally and internationally.
This is entirely erroneous. In fact, it is well documented that Covid 19 came to these shores via holiday and business travellers.
We can vaccinate the whole country but one person bringing Covid in or a new stronger variant such as the one from South Africa could very well bring us all back to square one.
The only safe measure for travel is a negative PCR test for Covid 19 before departure.
Anyone wishing to go to any country for any reason must get the test done prior to travel in both directions.
What are the Mandarins at Stormont and the cabal in the assembly doing to safeguard our society and protect lives?
Many families and individuals once vaccinated and indeed many of those who are not will demand the right to travel, once the travel corridors are reopened.
We must insist that travellers have a negative Covid test before departure in both directions.
This will incur a significant expense on behalf of the traveller, especially those travelling with family.
I encourage the cabal on the hill to cap these costs to prevent largess and profiteering from the private sector and indeed I would go further and demand the government performs these tests at cost price, through GP surgeries, chemists and specialised centres.