‘Out in cold’ nurse set upbeat tone for difficulties that lie ahead

by Colin Campbell

NHS staff in Glasgow were yesterday pictured queueing for vaccination under a dark newspaper headline: “Nurses left out in the cold”.

We’ve had enough doom and gloom in the media – some of it justified, much of it not – over the past 10 months to last a lifetime.

But if the agenda is for another outbreak of prolonged negativity surrounding the vaccine they may well have misjudged the public mood. Sometimes it seems less than surprising that papers are struggling and circulations are tumbling.

One of the nurses “left out in the cold” actually said: “It was a two-and-a-half hour wait in the queue for me. We were happy to wait to be honest, because it was like a light at the end of the tunnel. The mood was generally just relief.”

That’s the kind of positive attitude that will get people through an inevitably difficult and frustrating time ahead, leading to a fantastic outcome.

Legitimate concerns about blunders or confusion in distribution of the vaccine deserve to be highlighted.

But relatively minor inconveniences – like having to stand in queues for quite some time – will cut no ice with people who appreciate the scale of the task involved.

A two-and-a-half hour wait in a winter chill? I’d stand overnight in a snowstorm to be vaccinated, and so I suspect would very many others.

If enthusiasts are prepared to lie on the pavement with sleeping bags for three or four days to secure tickets for Wimbledon, how many people are going to gripe over queues and delays for a lifesaving vaccine?

There’s no doubt that given the challenges of something never attempted before there will be multiple glitches along the way.

Maybe some people will feel angry and frustrated. But unless they have very, very good reason to complain these complaints will fall on deaf ears.

If the UK Government had not been the first in the world to secure the vaccine there might have been more to complain about. If, God forbid, we were in the midst of a pretty horrible spell of winter weather with no vaccine in sight, it would be a dismal and depressing time almost beyond endurance.

People may not yet be bursting with cheer but the nurse who said she was perfectly happy with a long wait in the cold I’d say summed up the mood of the times.

Let’s hope the wanton media onslaught of months of excessive gloom-mongering is rapidly coming to an end.

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