Tuesday 23 March 2021

Day 372 of self-isolation - Vaccine wars

Vaccine wars

61% of French adults think that the AstraZeneca vaccine is unsafe. More than half of Germans, and 43% of Italians the same.

Meanwhile in a US-led trial, the AZ vaccine is 79% effective at preventing Covid and 100% effective at stopping severe disease.

Confidence in AZ is high in the UK. Probably because our political leadership has not been slinging doubt at the vaccine. And partly because of our trust in the NHS.

And the EU leadership is now moaning that we aren't exporting to them the vaccine that they don't want.

They're right. We haven't.

Several million doses of AZ have been sitting in EU warehouses. 30 million are sitting in the USA unused - the FDA hasn't yet approved it.

Well - if they don't want it - can we have it? Please?

Should countries start fighting over vaccine doses, which are, at the moment, a rare and valuable commodity? The problem is, it's not like oil. Oil is in the ground, you dig a hole and out it comes. Vaccines are manufactured, and the factory isn't in one place.

There are multiple factories for each vaccine, and those factories need supplies of various things that come from other countries. If countries start playing silly games with export bans, that will slow down the whole manufacturing process.

Vaccines are manufactured, but not like cars are. Cars are honking great metal constructs. Vaccines are delicate biological molecules, with a lipid coating th protect them. When a car factory starts turning out cars with three whells, you know at once. When a vaccine factory turns out a duff batch, you don't know until you've tested it.

It's not rocket science. It's genetic science, which is a lot more difficult. We've been shooting off rockets for hundreds of years, but genetically modified proteins that resemble the spike of a virus?  Very recent.

Let's hope that our idiotic politicians don't start a war over this.

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