Express & Star comment: Every jab counts

The Covid storm is raging anew and everybody is very tired as we collectively hunker down yet again and hope the worst will blow over.

A medical staff member holds a vial of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
A medical staff member holds a vial of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

In not many weeks we shall have endured a year of this. This global pandemic has claimed a terrible toll of lives and has wreaked devastating economic damage which has left many in despair as they struggle on.

All things must pass, and when we look back we may judge that this was the darkest hour.

Despite the joy of the advent of effective and approved vaccines, the UK population is in lockdown in the depths of winter, daily death rates are in four figures, and there is no travel, no holidays, shuttered High Streets, and exhausted hospital staff.

Rightly there is impatience to roll out the new vaccines and at last start to turn the tide. This is going to be a great national effort akin to a war.

The government has come in for much criticism for its handling of the pandemic, but winning this battle is going to depend on ordinary people – ordinary people acting with the discipline and caution required to avoid spreading the virus, ordinary people working tirelessly in vaccine hubs to give ordinary people jabs, ordinary people conducting test and trace and ordinary people complying with the requirements of test and trace and self isolating, and ordinary people coming forward to have the jab.

On that last point, it seems the most obvious thing in the world to come forward to have the jab when it is offered, but there is a little industry out there planting doubts and peddling conspiracy theories.

You can read in our pages today a first hand account of how quick and easy it is to be vaccinated. Being given the jab is a little personal victory over Covid-19, but it is also a small step towards the collective victory, closing a door on the virus. One day so many doors will be closed that it has nowhere to go.

As we see this light at the end of the tunnel, it is extraordinary and worrying that there are those who are spreading a "don't go there" message accompanied by myths and misinformation, leading to concern and confusion which appears to have had an effect in making some people question whether they should have the jab.

In France this seems to have had a serious effect and the numbers vaccinated there are pitiful compared to Britain and Germany.

Having the jab is voluntary, but for those who are in the priority groups it is surely a no-brainer, a choice between having no protection against a virus which is disproportionately deadly to them, and being given the protection of a vaccine which has been approved following stringent safety protocols.

From the evidence we have seen so far, they have enthusiastically embraced the jab.

While the vaccination programme is a gigantic task, you don't have to vaccinate the entire population to have a major impact in terms of saving lives.

If the core groups can be covered in the next few weeks we should see a dramatic turnaround in those appalling daily death figures, and can then work down the priority list until finally the risk from coronavirus is driven down to a level that society can quite literally live with.

In having the jab when offered you help yourself, and you help your country.

This national effort is now a race in which every minute counts. And every jab counts.

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