Opposition Rises to NHS Vaccine Mandate, As Justifications for Mandate Run Out of Logic

With Omicron evading the current crop of vaccines with effortless ease and the UK Government withdrawing most other virus-control measures, there is no rational justification for vaccine mandates for healthcare staff. 

This Wednesday (Jan 19), the UK Government took the world by surprise — or at least the world outside the UK — by announcing plans to lift almost all of its so-called “Plan B” measures for England. They include mask mandates, social distancing measures and the vaccine passport, which had only been introduced in mid-December. The policy U-turn appears to be an act of political expediency by a government brought to its knees by an endless succession of corruption scandals.

The withdrawal of some of the restrictions could end up seriously backfiring, especially if the UK suddenly sees a fresh resurgence of case numbers in the coming weeks, as has already happened in Denmark. The UK’s embattled Prime Minister Boris Johnson may not last long enough in his job to ensure the policy reversal stays in place. Nonetheless, the move still represented the first outright rejection by the government of a major Western “liberal democracy” of the need for mandatory vaccine passports. That alone is cause for celebration.

As I argue in my upcoming book, Scanned: Why Vaccine Passports and Digital IDs Will Mean the End of Privacy and Personal Freedom, the passports “offer precious little in the way of potential good—and a huge amount in the way of potential harm.” They represent an all-out assault on civil liberties while exposing large segments of the population to unprecedented levels of discrimination and segregation. Yet they do precious little to help countries combat transmission of the virus, which is supposedly their raison d’etre. In fact, they may actually be exacerbating it by giving the recently vaccinated a false sense of security. How else to explain the fact that by the end of 2021 the EU, the region of the world with most vaccine passports per person, was once again ground zero for the COVID-19 pandemic?

Lack of “Rationality” and “Proportionality” 

But one measure the UK Government hasn’t repealed is the vaccine mandate for all NHS staff. From April 1, two jabs will become obligatory for frontline NHS staff after MPs voted on the legislation last month. But opposition is rising to the mandate after a leaked document from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) warned ministers that the new evidence on Omicron – showing vaccine effectiveness dropping to zero – raises serious doubts about the new law’s “rationality” and “proportionality:” More from the Guardian:

The document, drawn up by Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) officials and seen by the Guardian, said the evidence base on which MPs voted “has changed”, creating a higher chance of objections and judicial review.

The effectiveness of only two vaccine doses against Omicron, and the lower likelihood of hospitalisations from the milder variant, are cited.

More than 70,000 NHS staff – 4.9% – could remain unvaccinated by 1 April, the document says. NHS trusts in England are preparing to start sending dismissal letters from 3 February to any member of staff who has not had their first dose by then.

Amid significant pressures on the NHS, last week groups including the Royal College of Nursing urged Sajid Javid, the health secretary, to delay the legislation, known as “vaccination as a condition of deployment” (VCOD2). An earlier VCOD1 rule applied to care workers and came into force on 11 November.

On Tuesday the Royal College of Nursing said the leaked memo should prompt ministers to call a halt to the imposition of compulsory jabs, which it called “reckless”.

“The government should now instigate a major rethink”, said Patricia Marquis, the RCN’s England director. “Mandation is not the answer and sacking valued nursing staff during a workforce crisis is reckless.”

The document prepared by DHSC officials noted that two vaccine doses provide up to 32% effectiveness against Omicron infection, which wanes to an effective zero 20 weeks later.


Elderly Care in Tatters

The Department of Health and Social Care has already pushed through a blanket vaccine mandate for care home care workers, propelling as many as 70,000 workers out of the sector. Care leaders begged the health secretary, Sajid Javid, a former investment banker, for an 11th hour reprieve, but he refused to listen. That was in mid-November. A month and a half later, the Government announced it was relaxing immigration rules in order to recruit care staff from overseas.

In early January, more than 90 care home operators declared “red alert” on staff shortages, meaning that staffing ratios had been breached. To combat rising staff shortages, Health Secretary Sajid Javid proposed establishing a “volunteer army” of retired nurses, doctors, and carers to take shifts and reduce the burden.

Vic Rayner, chief executive of the National Care Forum, warned: “The spread of Omicron across the country will bring more care homes into outbreak, put huge pressure on the already compromised staff group and mean those who need care do not get it.”

The vaccine mandate not only exacerbated the acute staffing shortages in the UK’s elderly care sector, with some 170,000 estimated vacancies; it also heaped yet more pressure on the NHS’s buckling systems, as more and more care homes were left with little choice but to refuse to take patients from hospitals.

The NHS is also facing an acute staff shortage. According to the King’s Fund, an English health charity, NHS hospitals, mental health services and community providers were reporting a shortage of nearly 84,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff just under a year ago. That’s the equivalent of 6% of the NHS’s total workforce.

In 2017, a House of Lords Select Committee warned that the lack of a comprehensive national long-term strategy to secure a well-trained and committed workforce to meet the needs of the the UK’s health and care system over the next 10–15 years represents “the biggest internal threat to the sustainability of the NHS”. That was three years before COVID’s arrival.

Today, many nursing staff “are going into work with only half the number of staff that are needed but with still the same number of patients to look after,” Royal College of Nursing director for England Patricia Marquis recently told ITV News. “They are being spread thinner and thinner and we are hearing of many being reduced to tears because they are not able to deliver the care to their patients”.

The Final Straw

As I write in Scanned, “it is a vicious cycle that is crippling healthcare care systems around the world. The worse the staff shortages get, the more nurses and doctors end up succumbing to mental and physical exhaustion, further exacerbating the shortages.” The vaccine mandates appear to be the final straw. A sudden wave of dismissals and resignations of unvaccinated staff is making it even harder for overstretched hospitals to treat patients of COVID-19 and other serious conditions.

In some parts of Canada, including Quebec, public health authorities in December “allowed” infected workers to return to work as hospitals grappled with thousands of staff calling in sick amid a surge in new case numbers. The province of Alberta took the much more rational step of allowing unvaccinated workers back on the job, as long as they agreed to undergo regular testing — something the UK’s NHS could do easily and at little extra cost with the roughly 70,000 workers that still refuse to get vaccinated. In fact, it should be doing it with both vaccinated and unvaccinated workers.

Fighting a pandemic with legislation that ends up producing fewer rather than more employees in the healthcare system is not just dangerous but absurd, especially given that the “no jab, no job” mandates are for a non-sterilising vaccination that does not stop infection or transmission but only reduces the risk of the recipient developing serious symptoms.

This is particularly true in the case of the Omicron variant. According to the UK Government’s latest vaccine report, published on Jan 13, cases per 100,000 are now higher in the vaccinated than in the unvaccinated. It is a similar story in Denmark where the public health authorities, which have done a pretty decent job of tracking COVID-19 case numbers as well as the emergence and spread of new variants, reported in late December that 90% of the 17,800 Danes who had contracted Omicron by December 15 had been vaccinated two or three times. Only 8.5 percent were unvaccinated. In the case of Delta or other variants, the unvaccinated accounted for 23.7 percent of case numbers.

Clearly, in the age of Omicron and with the current crop of vaccines there is no logical justification for vaccine mandates for healthcare staff, especially given that many of them already have some degree of infection-acquired immunity. This is even more the case in a country where the Government has essentially removed most other public health measures for trying to control the spread of the virus such as the mask mandate and work from home rules, as even some former staunch advocates of vaccine mandates are now conceding.

In fact, the only possible logic for continuing with the vaccine mandate is to further weaken the National Health Service, in order to create even more opportunities to outsource its services to private operators. Given this government’s track record as well as the fact that it is already forcing the NHS to pay private operators hundreds of millions of pounds just to be on standby whether or not they have to deliver (what the Government calls a “minimum income guarantee”), that possibility should be taken very seriously.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    Something here snagged my interest where it said ‘To combat rising staff shortages, Health Secretary Sajid Javid proposed establishing a “volunteer army” of retired nurses, doctors, and carers to take shifts and reduce the burden.’ Didn’t the UK do that way back in 2020 as healthcare services were breaking down from the first wave? And they begged former doctors and nurses to return to the workforce to stop the system breaking down – and the government looking bad? Surely then the UK shot that bolt a very long time ago and those that did not get sick or even die may not be so willing to throw themselves once more into the breech to help the government patch over a problem that they willfully created themselves? That well has got to be dry by now.

    1. Michael

      Additionally, utilizing retired staff requires older, more vulnerable people to put themselves at risk. The risk/benefit ratio does not appear to be thought out, in that potentially adding more older people as patients into the machine does not seem like an advancement.

      For me Covid-19 is an event that is displaying all of the contradictions of our “optimized” economic system.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    On the first point, its pretty clear that the UK (and Ireland and possibly other countries) are taking a big risk in removing restrictions too quickly. We don’t know how omicron behaves when it recedes, but there is an occasional pattern of ‘rebounds’ when restrictions are released too early – this happened in October in Ireland with Delta.

    As for vaccine passports, I think its pretty clear that most European countries have achieved as good a coverage with vaccines as they can get. Anyone who is still a refusenik will not change their mind through additional compulsion. I don’t believe there is any good justification anymore for compelling health care workers to get it. Anecdotally, I’ve heard of some healthcare refusniks change their mind as they see the flow of patients passing them. Its pretty clear that boosted people (at least for now) are suffering a lot less when they get omicron. But how long this will last is anyones guess.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Yep. It is a weakly argued post that seems to center on “I don’t like vaccine passes so I’m going to make the argument that lifting restrictions will somehow prevent the NHS from getting hurt.” Good luck with that line of argument. This seems to me to be another triple axel of logic out of the Anglo-American world. We had to remove all health safeguards to save our tottering health-care systems!

      And there’s this: “Clearly, in the age of Omicron and with the current crop of vaccines there is no logical justification for vaccine mandates for healthcare staff, especially given that many of them already have some degree of infection-acquired immunity.”

      Herd immunity. The bad idea that just won’t go away.

      1. Nick Corbishley Post author

        Not arguing for herd immunity, DJG. In fact, I didn’t mention the word “herd” at all. The point I was making is that once you have had an infection — and for front-line health care staff, getting infected is a serious risk — you have a certain degree of immunity. Most (but not all) studies suggest that the protection that immunity confers is broader and more durable than that provided by the vaccine, though it seems to be somewhat less effective against Omicron. I also argued for regular testing of both vaccinated and unvaccinated workers, as public health authorities in Alberta seem to have been doing.

        And at no point in the article did I suggest that the UK government’s lifting of most restrictions should be viewed as a good thing. In fact, I said there is a very serious risk that it will backfire. What I did say was that the withdrawal of the vaccine passports should be cause for celebration since not only do they represent an egregious, wholly disproportionate assault on fundamental rights and civil liberties; they do not achieve their supposed aim (i.e. to protect people from infection). As the UK Parliament’s Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) report into COVID-19 status certification concluded, the government could not make a solid scientific case in support of vaccine passports.

        1. marku52

          These vaccines will not stop the pandemic. Hence they have no public health value. Nor does the mandate. Individual value yes, (as long as you aren’t one of the ones damaged, and we have no idea for how long).

          But no value for public heath. Hence no point in the mandate. Unless as Covid Theater.

          1. Basil Pesto

            These vaccines will not stop the pandemic. Hence they have no public health value.

            This is a non-sequitur. It’s like saying indoor cigarette bans have no public health value because they won’t stop smoking.

            An intervention that individually benefits a large number of the population does, indeed, redound to public health. Obviously.

            Unfortunately the, or at least a problem
            of the current vaccines is they get less effective seemingly by the month. We’re several VoCs in, including two particularly serious ones, and the much vaunted updatability of the vaccines is not in evidence. We’re hearing talk of Omicron specific vaccines being “ready” in March. That’s way too slow with a variant that is burning through the population so quickly and that is known to reinfect. There’s been obvious goalpost shifting and a lack of transparency.

            1. Basil Pesto

              No it isn’t. It’s an imperfect analogy but it’s not a strawman at all. The point is that “Public health value” goes beyond interventions that only deal with the root cause of a problem. Thus

              These vaccines will not stop the pandemic. Hence they have no public health value.

              is a ridiculous syllogism.

              Giving everyone Ivermectin isn’t going to end the pandemic either; that doesn’t mean that, in potentially improving individual outcomes of infection – if that is indeed what it does – that it would have no public health benefit to then recommend and/or supply it to a population (as some jurisdictions apparently do)

              Likewise, public health value goes beyond simply the prevention of transmission of infectious disease.

              My being vaccinated improves the likelihood of superior outcomes following infection (although this effect is clearly waning, especially with Omicron and especially if you’re double AZ which I am). Applied to a whole population, this clearly has public health value for as long as those superior outcomes hold and outweigh harms caused by the intervention: it leads to improved outcomes among the population, and indeed we have seen this in population level studies even through delta. That’s
              a positive public health outcome, whether you like it or not. This remains true even if the vaccines don’t stop transmission, and even if the vaccines alone are insufficient to address the totality of the problem, which of course they don’t and they are. But to claim that they have had no public health value whatsoever is tendentious.

              and trying to narrowly redefine the concept of public health on a whim as you and marku52 have – as only pertaining to either ending the pandemic, or ending onward infectious disease transmission – is utterly arbitrary and unpersuasive.

              (I am against mandates for these particular vaccines (but not against mandates for vaccines per se) because they don’t prevent spread, and because I know from NC that there are many unvaccinated who take covid seriously, and there is a certain ‘vax and done’ crowd that is far more harmful than those people )

      2. Jeff

        @DJG, This is a great example of hearing what your want to hear and ignoring the words on your screen. For goodness sake.

    2. Terry Flynn

      Looked at the jobs available in my trust today at my level (just out of interest).
      Yes, big warnings for all jobs involving any potential patient contact that they must prove double vaccinated.

      Here’s a completely hypothetical scenario. Suppose you work in an entirely administrative role with no patient contact but you MUST walk down a corridor with (due to social distancing and hence overflow of main outpatients room) immunocompromised patients sitting in that corridor if you want to get food or, you know, go to the loo – what’s the rule? Things gonna get interesting. Ad hoc clinic today for “vaccine hesitant” employees. Didn’t see tumbleweed when I looked in but merely cos we don’t get that here….

      Though since I’m about to become immunocompromised for a while myself I might be asking to work at home….

  3. Roger Blakely

    I am in California. The message to ordinary people in California is this: “You are on your own.” California has been open for business since June 15, 2021. COVID-19 is for the most part being treated as if it were the flu. Workers can get paid to isolate at home when sick and to quarantine at home when exposed, but actually receiving that money is an objective that is very difficult to achieve. (Staying home when you are sick with COVID-19 is called isolation. Staying home when you have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and waiting to see if you get sick is called quarantine.)

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      Roger, the CA law only covers workers who contract COVID at the workplace. What about those who get sick outside work? The risk here is they come to work sick and spread the disease to everyone else.

      This leaves small businesses, in particular, at great risk. And it is why we often see businesses closed for lack of healthy staff.

      I hope I am wrong about this and the 2020 worker’s comp law has been expanded to cover EVERYONE who gets sick, regardless of where it may have been contracted.

      1. Felix_47

        Combining health care with worker’s comp in a fee for service environment leads to horrendous levels of fraud at every level and lousy care. How about electing an honest politician…..oxymoron?

      2. Roger Blakely

        We need that COVID-19 paid leave program to restart. As long as the government was paying for it, no one was asking too many questions about where someone contracted COVID-19. Now the whole thing is a mess.

        It’s easier said than done for an employee to get a workers’ compensation case. Employers are going to stonewall the request. It is difficult for an employee to prove that they got COVID-19 from work. Employees would be forced to obtain the service of an attorney to recover $2000.

  4. Hoonose

    As far as close in HC workers, there may be good reason to keep them most up to date on Covid vaccines since no one knows the characteristics of the next viral variant. If suddenly the disease gets more malignant, close in HC workers dropping like flies would be a disaster.

  5. Eustachedesaintpierre

    Fortunately I was correct to get over the Irish Sea just before Christmas to see Mum, as her nursing home that is part of a big chain locked down about a week after. Sadly due to this she didn’t receive any visitors for her 84th birthday on the 14th. Nobody managed to get through on the phone for over a week just to ask how she is, but on Sunday after at least 5 attempts I got through & she is all fine & dandy, showing off the mug to all & sundry I sent her that has a photo of me as a grinning chubby 3 year old printed on it. I asked if they were short on staff to which the reply was yes, desperately so.

    Another Covid related matter effecting the family is the illness of my 13 yr old Grand niece who has been Pfizer jabbed & about a week ago contracted omicron, which led her to being hospitalised with a problem involving damage in her possibly not fully developed ovaries. Now according to Robert Malone that is the area where most of the lipid ends up that carry the spike protein which has me at least wondering but am keeping it to myself as I don’t know the truth of it & that part of the family are already worried sick.

    Meanwhile the British Medical Journal are perhaps getting worried, as they released an article basically demanding full foreclosure of all the information regarding all the RNA & MRNA vaccines.

    The concluding paragraph –

    “Pharmaceutical companies are reaping vast profits without adequate independent scrutiny of their scientific claims.33 The purpose of regulators is not to dance to the tune of rich global corporations and enrich them further; it is to protect the health of their populations. We need complete data transparency for all studies, we need it in the public interest, and we need it now “.


      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        Thank you both, no word back so hopefully positive but will ring Sis later to see how it’s going – as for the lipid thing I found the Japanese study on it, but as usual some say yes & others say no & as I obviously don’t have the expertise to figure out the complex arguments I’m none the wiser. I just can’t get over the suspicion that the big new experimental thing has been introduced into an extremely complex system that we don’t fully understand, not helped by assorted warring specialisations all pulling this way & that. I guess that the full picture will eventually emerge written into the dust when it finally settles.

  6. Carolinian

    the only possible logic for continuing with the vaccine mandate is to further weaken the National Health Service

    There ya go. At this point it’s not just wild speculation to suggest that the vaccine only approach to the pandemic was as much about profits with the refusal to accept natural immunity as the tell. So why not throw in NHS privatization as a bonus for the financial markets?

    And if the above claim is true then it’s a compelling reason why medicine should be confined to legitimate physicians and scientists (not Fauci) rather than to politicians and national policies. The latter are bought.

    The media, at least here in the US, are bought as well. Watch any network news show and it will be wall to wall pharma ads. When everything is a sales pitch honesty becomes a scarce commodity.

  7. T_Reg

    “Care leaders begged the health secretary, Sajid Javid, a former investment banker”. That one item makes the last paragraph almost superfluous. As always, money trumps life.

  8. Paul Whittaker

    “And if the above claim is true then it’s a compelling reason why medicine should be confined to legitimate physicians and scientists (not Fauci) rather than to politicians and national policies. The latter are bought”.
    I thought the corruption demonstrated in the opioid crisis, showed that many doctors can also be bought.
    My guess is that those who risk loss of income by speaking the truth, as they see it, may be the most trusted.

    1. HotFlash

      What evil has been wrought by excessive tuition and non-dischargeable student loans! One loan to rule them all and in the darkness bind them.

  9. whatmeworry

    the meat of this:”In fact, the only possible logic for continuing with the vaccine mandate is to further weaken the National Health Service, in order to create even more opportunities to outsource its services to private operators.”

    Our goal is to shrink government to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub.

    Grover Norquist

  10. Jeremy Smith

    In essence, this is yet another piece of meretricious antivax propaganda dressed up as defence of civil liberties etc.; the anti-vaxxers have done their best to undermine the health of others as well as themselves through narcissistic negligence or worse, filling up the hospitals as a consequence of their anti-social ideology, and thus infringing the civil liberties of others. I do agree, some of the public health measures have been over the top, but many measures have been necessary. Prime Minister Johnson has never really believed in public health measures (hence his actual behaviour), nor have many of his right-wing Members of Parliament. So of course Operation Red Meat throws them this bloody bone of premature removal of sensible measures.

    1. c_heale

      Not anti-vax, but anti-mask, and all other protective measures. Because profits. The UK has a relatively high vaccination rate.

  11. Big River Bandido

    the anti-vaxxers have done their best to undermine the health of others as well as themselves through narcissistic negligence or worse, filling up the hospitals as a consequence of their anti-social ideology, and thus infringing the civil liberties of others.

    This “analysis” crumbles under the most basic observation, made quite clear in the article: cases of Omicron are higher among the vaccinated. Surprising you missed that, unless you have an axe to grind.

    1. OKnotKO

      Really? The BMJ reported that on average, 61% of ICUs in the UK are populated with unvaxxed, with some hospitals reporting 80-90% unvaxxed occupied. When you consider that around 85-90% of the UK is at least double-vaxxed, that 61% is hugely disproportionate.

      Cases may be higher in vaxxed but how many of those are in hospital?

  12. Ignacio

    I very much agree with what is said in this post.

    1) Vaccines in omicron’s wave do nothing to prevent virus spread.
    2) Vaccine certificates were already useless before omicron and now are less than toilet paper. Meaningless. Being vaccinated, no matter how many doses, do not prevent you getting Omicron Covid and transmit to your family or whoever. The same applies to healthcare workers.
    3) Vaccine certificates, from an epidemiological perspective are counterproductive. These are an excuse for lifting restrictions and doing so these favour disease spread.

    Purchases of too many vaccines led to crazed re-shooting schemes with vaccination policies driven by need to empty freezers of soon to expiry shots rather than good medical validity analysis. The excuse was: but, but,.. Antibodies jump!!! without any knowledge of what antibodies level would have any noticeable effect on Omicron transmission.

    The worst case of omicron I have known was a friend of mine that at the same time received the third shot and was infected with Omicron and she had an awful response to both for a whole week. Nasty.

  13. Ignacio

    Omicron’s wave is having and will have distinct features compared to other waves. It is by far the wave of highest incidence so far. If we look to South Africa it seems to wane with time and it is going down in Ireland and the UK now. The South African situation cannot be extrapolated to Europe right now because weather plus other reasons (cultural, median age, etc.). Ireland and the UK, our canaries in the mine, show that the wave can recede which is good news though there is a risk that lifting restrictions might make it resume upward trend. Having been so many already infected one can think that being many less susceptible to omicron infection the wave has not other way to go but down and down. I have the suspicion that after mild omicron Covid there is only a short period when you are protected from reinfection. Whether this is weeks or months, who knows, it mostly depends on NAb dynamics in the Upper Respiratory Tract as well as cellular responses there but high Ab concentrations there are transient and Omicron has developed means to evade immune responses which are unique to this variant compared to previous Covid variants.

    We will see, stay tuned.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Andrew Flood, who is a reliable analyst of the Irish data says (he doesn’t link to sources) suggests the the Danes may be seeing new surges, possibly due to the return to school. I’d also beware the apparent steep drop in Irish figures, because of pressure in the system they changed PCR testing availability which I suspect has reduced the number of people getting tests. Just as back in last September/October in Ireland, I fear the government will create a double-peak by sending the wrong signals.

      1. Ignacio

        They also may not feel pressure to be comprehensive since many more Omicron cases are mild. Also, lots of people no longer bother to ask for tests when feeling ill as long as they don’t need a medical certificate. Part of it being tiredness possibly and another part of it feeling less risk. My feeling is that real omicron incidence is way higher than reported cases.
        In one of my whassap groups incidence since omicron started is about 70%.

  14. Rodger Mitchell

    What next for the anti-vaxers? No diphtheria vax because hey, there hasn’t been much diphtheria around lately? And as for polio, isn’t that all-but-gone?

    I continually am amazed at the political bent on all this. Vaccination has proved to be one of the greatest medical advances in history. It has save hundreds of millions of lives and prevented serious illness for billions.

    Yet now, for the minor inconvenience of a jab and the exceedingly small risk of a serious side effect, people not only are willing to risk their own lives but the lives of their children, their friends, neighbors, and their nation.

    It is the most senseless exercise of obstinacy I ever have seen. Even Dumb Donald Trump has been jabbed — three times — and when he admitted it, he was booed!!

    Really folks, does it get any dumber than that?

    1. Rodger Mitchell

      And by the way, booster doses of Pfizer and Moderna were 90% effective at preventing people infected with the Omicron variant from ending up in the hospital, Axios’ Erin Doherty writes from CDC data.

      So, anti-vaxers, keep winning Darwin Awards. The gene pool is getting smarter.

      1. Ignacio

        Similar claims were made in Spain, interestingly without the accompanying data that would support the conclusion. Nothing that could be checked. Interestingly most deaths in Spain don’t come, for instance, with sequence analysis and if it was based on late December hospitalization rates, almost certainly lots of them were still related with delta.

    2. Ignacio

      Antivaxx is something that you or me cannot comprehend and now more complex than the stupidity of former antivaxxers before Covid. For instance, part of it might just be a reaction against restrictions. A sign of protest. It should be admitted also that much of the anti-antivaxx sentiment is similarly irrational or unfounded on epidemiological grounds. I think that this is even more damaging and solely adds to division without any good coming from it.

  15. Rodger Mitchell

    Does “cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face” come to mind?

    Except, in this case, it’s more like destroying one’s own life to spite one’s family, friends, neighbors, and strangers.

  16. Mikeyjoe

    I am not anti-vax. I received both jabs.
    But the variants are emerging quicker than the boosters .
    Perhaps it would be wise for the UK and US governments not to put all their pandemic response eggs in the vaccine basket.

  17. ardj

    The OP picks up on the lower reported rate of infection among non-vaccinated as an argument for abandoning a vaccination mandate “especially given that the “no jab, no job” mandates are for a non-sterilising vaccination that does not stop infection or transmission but only reduces the risk of the recipient developing serious symptoms.”

    This takes no account of the reasons for higher infection among vaccinated which can be read on pp 36-37 of the UK vaccine surveillance report, including different risk profiles, possible different testing behaviour and – the big unknown – infection acquired immunity variation.

    I do not know what a “non-sterlising vaccination” may be, though I may have missed the OPs allusion to this earlier. However vaccination if it stops infection also stops transmission, as only the infect edtransmit, according to the data I have seen. And it is wrong to downplay reducing “the risk of the recipient developing serious symptoms.” – as a high risk person (60 years of smoking with emphysema and BCPR – tho’ have stopped smoking now – I really, really do not want any serious symptoms.

    Mr Corbisley makes some very good points about the Bloody Johnnson government and about the effects of driving away trained health workers. It seems a pity to spoil it by misleading arguments from what is probably a temporary or at leasat unstable situation (based on only 2 weeks data).

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