Star comment: Vaccines have saved millions of lives

We must not let complacency allow Covid back in.

Anyone doubting the effectiveness and impact of vaccines of Covid should look at today’s report that estimates they have saved around 20 million lives globally. Of course, anti-vaxxers will say that the scientists have an agenda, but the evidence is overwhelming.

As we ride a new wave of Omicron we should be thankful that vaccines have kept us away from serious illness. Not only that, they have put us in a position where our economy has been able to resume and where the ill effects caused by recession have to some degree been averted.

The positive effects of a fully-functioning society are remarkably important in addition to being multi-faceted. The vaccine was a quantum leap and we must now look ahead and ensure we remain in a strong position as we avert similar difficulties to those we experienced during lockdown.

Questions are needed on whether a new booster programme should be organised ahead of a possible surge in the winter. We must not let complacency allow Covid back in - and if that means another national effort to get the population boosted then so be it.

The benefits of such work are extraordinary. Not only can businesses stay open but groups in society with particular needs, such as those with underlying health conditions, can enjoy some sort of normality. The privations that came with necessary lockdowns are avoided.

We led the way with a remarkable programme of vaccinations and we must redouble our efforts now, long before winter, to make sure we do not lose the many gains that we made. Vaccines were the key to ending lockdown and will be the key to preventing winter difficulties.

Eric Morecambe was a great, great comic. He also offered sage advice that shaped the career and life of Sir Lenny Henry.

He told him to never allow his colour or background to be the butt of the joke – to be himself and be proud of his background.

Sir Lenny is now one of Britain’s most talented and respected actors, as well as still being able to make people laugh.

He is also a much-loved son of Dudley – a man who represents the Black Country but who is also a proud product of Windrush. He is proof that you can and should be able to be both

Eric Morecambe’s advice is something we should all take on board.

We should always be proud of our background and, most importantly of all, we should also respect others.

The West Midlands is a melting pot of people and that is what makes it special. There should be room for all.

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