More bad faith from NHS England

This is an interesting story in the Telegraph. Apparently doctors are being forbidden by NHS England to use excess Pfizer vaccines to give staff a second dose.

The background to this is the UK’s criminal scheme to administer the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine after 12 weeks. The Pfizer vaccine has gone through stage 3 trials and established its efficacy rate on the basis of the second dose being given at three weeks. In a bid to a) stem the rising case numbers and b) no doubt create dishonest figures about the numbers vaccinated (the government is already dishonestly claiming that 3.3 million people have been vaccinated; they haven’t – most of this 3.3m have had the first dose of a two-dose application) the government has changed the second dose timepoint to 12 weeks. Senior doctors in the US have variously described this as “guessing” and the “Wild West”.

The story in the Telegraph is that doctors are finding that because some people don’t show up for their appointment at the end of the day they have some shots left. They want, sensibly, to use these to give staff members a second dose. It could even be possible that this would be in line with WHO guidelines that the second dose should be within 4 weeks of the first [1] or even in line with the manufacturer’s 3 week tested regime. Once out of the freezer the Pfizer vaccines don’t keep; the alternative is to throw them away. Apparently doctors are being threatened with sanctions for using the second doses in this way.

NHE England said:

There is absolutely no reason why vaccine should be wasted. Local vaccination sites should be managing their appointment lists to ensure all appointments are filled and they have a back-up list of patients and staff who can receive the vaccine at short notice

People in government in the UK at the moment, and I am referring here to senior officials and their advisers as well as government Ministers, appear to have two main skills. They know how to launder billions of public money to private sector companies. And they know how to spin a good story in the press (narrative creation and management skills). The large pile of corpses, 100,000 at the last count, hasn’t deterred them in the slightest from exercising these skills to the full.

The statement above is a neat example of how they use sophistry. First of all they twist the story and make it sound as if they are against “waste” and thus that the doctors are “wasting” the vaccine. In fact the opposite is the case; the doctors are trying to avoid wasting shots. The next sentence is more of an actual answer to the charge. They are saying that rather than use shots from no-shows to give staff second shots doctors should be maintaining a waiting list of patients who can be called in at short notice and given a first shot. This is all very well; but in practice it is probably not very realistic. We are talking about people in their eighties who might have to come in to a surgery at a few minutes notice. In addition there would have to be additional time set aside at the end of the day for the people who were called on the day. It isn’t that easy. (And even then some of the people who are called at short notice will say they will come in but then not make it in time).

I suspect there are two drivers here. Firstly they believe (I would think wrongly) that if medical staff get two doses on the proper 3 week basis there will be some kind of public outcry and secondly they are so fixated on their “illegal” 12 week dose regime that they have to outlaw anything which in any way undermines it.

Notes

  1. https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-who/update-2-who-recommends-two-doses-of-pfizer-covid-19-vaccine-within-21-28-days-idUSL1N2JG1J6

Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer