Three weeks to beat the NHS (or something)

Today’s government sales-pitch, according to the Telegraph, is “Play your part” Get vaccinated to Beat Indian variant, PM urges public.

If “saving the NHS” was a foolish excuse for a 3 week lockdown that is still going on 14 months later, then “beating an Indian variant” is a nonsensical reason to get vaccinated. As so often over the last year, spurious goals have been set up to motivate behaviour emotionally, always losing sight of the actual issue.

There is just one reason to get vaccinated – to avoid getting ill. Most people don’t want to get ill. Granted, by avoiding getting ill one also protects those who have not been vaccinated by contributing to herd immunity. But as soon as you take your eyes off the ball of “artificially induced immune protection” the game is set to play forever, because you can be persuaded that the enemy is still out there. Even if there are not pockets of Indian viruses, concealed in palm trees like fanatical Japanese soldiers long after the Second War, the next enemy is out there in the form of the Guatemalian or Brobdignagian variant, all requiring us to play our part against the common enemy in some new way. Or more likely in the old way of another dose of spike protein to knock off some more of our body’s own cells and, perhaps, provoke a cytokine storm.

The Telegraph article says that the majority of those hospitalised in Bolton had not been vaccinated. The actual numbers are not to hand, but based on the population of Bolton, the published cases per 100K (133) and the usual admission rate of 5%, it would be about 9 – not a vast number, and possibly fewer since the Indian variant appears less virulent if anything.

But whatever the exact number, the true lesson is simple and effective: if you’re in Bolton and want to avoid the 0.0064% risk of being admitted to hospital, you might wish to get the shot – or you might wish to take Vitamin D and prophylactic Ivermectin. Either way, it’s not part of a war effort – the only people to suffer from not being vaccinated are those who are not vaccinated, and it ought to be their choice to make that call.

You might as well say that having your breakfast is playing your part in reducing malnutrition in the world. Strictly speaking it’s a true statement, but it subtly morphs healthy self-interest into some kind of moral responsibility for the world’s problems. You’d have eaten your breakfast without the messaging, and with less angst.

It is, of course, just another knee-jerk example of government playing behavioural psychology, only one day after it was reported that SPY-B has apologised for its unethical recommendation to SAGE to ramp up the fear last year – an apology that has come far too late for the nation, especially those locked into permanent anxiety states and worse.

Ironically, next to the Mail on Sunday article on this apology was SAGE’s latest projection that by July 1,000 people a day might be going into hospital with the Indian variant. A mathematician who has devoted himself to analysing SAGE modelling has shown that this would require everybody in Britiain to be infected in the same week – some of them twice. But the genie of fearmongering, once out of the bottle, won’t go induced to back easily, as it’s too useful for control.

Still, despite the messaging today, May 17th, marks another genuine restoration of a few basic liberties: the pubs, I gather, are open all hours, and I’ll be able to hug someone carefully – I’ll have to check the regulations to see if one has to sterilize oneself with a blowlamp first, or only afterwards. But as we, perhaps, cross the threshold of a restaurant with some mixture of guilt and fear that we might not be playing our part to beat the Indian variant properly, it’s worth looking at this excellent presentation of perspective:

Finally, another article in the Mail describes how Eric Clapton had severe reactions to both AstraZeneca doses, with two or three weeks of virtual paralysis of hands and feet. He feared he would never play guitar again. Eric is a lockdown skeptic, but was rightly angry that neither the media nor the medical profession nor the government have given any clear information on adverse reactions, instead trumpeting the meaningless, or simply untrue, mantra “Vaccines are safe.” As a tribute to him, here’s a Van Morrison song he’s recorded.

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About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
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