As millions more are vaccinated, draconian rules and restrictions will not stand

by Colin Campbell

IT was vaccination day for me on Saturday. A watershed, a turning point in this year-long ordeal.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the efficiency my practice, Riverside Medical, displayed in administering the flu vaccine in these difficult times. Less than five minutes elapsed between me entering and leaving the surgery, job done.

On Saturday they set a similar standard, with staff there in numbers to guide people swiftly through the process, without delay or even pause.

And what of the actual vaccination itself, what we’ve all been waiting for?

That took seconds. It didn’t even feel like an injection. More like a light tap on a muscle in the upper arm. “Is that it?” I asked.

“Yes, that’s it, you are now vaccinated.”

After vaccination I had  to sit in the surgery waiting room with others for around 15 minutes to ensure there was no adverse reaction, and then you leave. And it’s done.

A second dose will follow in 12 weeks time. But a first dose – I received the Pfizer vaccine – offers around 70 per cent protection against the virus. Which sounds good. But even better, in more understandable terms, it also provides, according to the manufacturer and scientists who back up their findings, 100 per cent protection against falling seriously ill with it, which is what everyone has been afraid off.

Even if you do catch the virus the symptoms will be mild, if they are noticeable at all. So the vaccine will not prevent you catching it, and will not prevent you passing it on, it is believed, but it offers a very high level of personal protection.

With the total of vaccinations across the UK yesterday reaching 15 million, Boris Johnson will very soon provide “a roadmap out of lockdown”. And this really should be the last roadmap we need. Nicola Sturgeon will be compelled to follow soon afterwards.

Our ultra-cautious First Minister and her sidekick, Jason Leitch, even if they wanted to – and I assume they don’t – cannot present a mournful message that nothing much with regard to those rules will change. They can continue urging caution, social distancing, the use of face masks and so on, and that should be maintained, but things are changing, and that’s undeniable.

Those dire shock horror warnings of recent times that irresponsible actions could lead to you killing elderly relatives no longer apply, because they’ve been vaccinated too. As have people in high risk groups.

Now NHS teams are working their way in the vaccination process down to everyone over 50. This is excellent news. And it cannot be downplayed even by the most inveterate doom mongers.

Sturgeon and co will have to adjust these rules to adapt to changed circumstances, despite their innate caution.

Travel restrictions must ease, or else they will simply be ignored. At the moment, it is still illegal for a person who has been vaccinated to travel from Perth, Aberdeen, Edinburgh or Glasgow to visit a relative in Inverness who has been vaccinated. That, as a most basic example, is just nonsense. And it won’t stand.

The Scottish roadmap out of lockdown may take time to work out and implement – but not too much time – and no doubt they are working on it now.

The vaccine has changed everything. There is a new reality to take on board. For some time yet we may still hear the mantra of what we are “allowed” to do. But that cannot prevail with draconian restrictions in place for very much longer.

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