Many will be in no rush to take Christmas risks with vaccine salvation so tantalisingly close

by Colin Campbell

HUGH Pennington, professor of bacteriology at Aberdeen University, who has been the most reasoned and balanced contributor on the coronavirus debate, and on many lesser health issues before it, says news of the impending delivery of a vaccine is “welcome”.

That measured response from the eminent professor may be considered by many as a considerable understatement.

It feels more like vaccine salvation from this vantage point.

It’s only a few weeks since we were looking ahead to the most dismal winter ever with no end to all this in sight. No one knew if we’d be in the same predicament a year from now or two years from now and despair was in the air.

Now we know with absolute clarity we will not be. The end is in sight.

Professor Pennington added: “The anti-vax movement has been making a lot of noise online. But a bigger problem might be those who are hesitant about the vaccine because of the speed of the roll-out.”

Without wanting to sound callous their hesitancy might be a problem for them but it’s not a problem for me.

I’ll be stretching out a grateful arm to be pumped full of the stuff at the very first available opportunity, and as I’m over 60 that should not be too long from now. That is one date and time missive from the NHS that, when received in December, will not go astray.

I’ve had enough of what we’ve been through over the past nine months. With light at the end of the tunnel I’ll be heading straight in that direction.

Those who have been most worried about catching the virus, across all age groups, may now unfortunately transfer their worries to concern over the safety of the vaccine. That’s not an easy mindset to be burdened by. I hope they can put any anxiety over miniscule risk to the back of their minds and get it over and done with.

If anything, the response to the prospect of an imminent vaccine seems to have been understated. In the last paper I saw– and I’ve bought fewer and fewer in recent months because of the deluge of virus doom and gloom coverage – the early pages were full of back and forth about the Christmas is cancelled/back on again saga.

The latest vaccine update was relegated to an inside page, as if it was a minor issue compared with whether people can meet up and eat turkey and get merry and drunk on December 25. For this one Yuletide, is that really the massive issue it’s being made out to be? People I’ve spoken to, including those who normally pack in a houseful and celebrate Christmas day with gusto, seem quite prepared and willing to accept a quieter time this year. Some even welcome the prospect.

Nicola Sturgeon is now raising the prospect of relaxing restrictions for five days over Christmas, presumably to gain sleigh bells approval for playing the national Santa.

With a date with the magic needle so tantalisingly close, does it make any sense whatsoever to risk an upsurge in infections over the festive season?

As of now, I’m being more cautious in trying to ensure I don’t catch the damn virus.

Wartime analogies during the past eight months have seemed excessive, but Armistice Day is in sight, and many will be intent on avoiding catching a bullet in the fairly short time before it arrives.


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