Gransnet forums

Coronavirus

A successful vaccine program

(32 Posts)
Alegrias1 Wed 28-Apr-21 15:57:06

I am mystified, but happy, that our vaccine program seems to have been well planned and executed and seems to be having the desired effect. The NHS and volunteers and clearly making it work on a day to day basis and I'm grateful for them. But I'm thinking about the actual approach to the program. Kate Bingham has played a blinder but why have we been so good at this part of the process when we were so awful at sourcing PPE, Test and Trace, Eat Out to Help out and all the other initiatives.

Did we just strike it lucky? Have I been wrong all this time and Matt Hancock really knows what he is doing?

Pantglas2 Wed 28-Apr-21 16:06:13

I suspect most countries got some things wrong and other things right.

Here in Wales we’re doing the best on the percentage of population inoculated now but our FM was initially inclined to keep the vaccines in the freezer rather than vaccinate his people!

Casdon Wed 28-Apr-21 16:20:28

Wales has done very well with Track and Trace, it was devolved to Public Health Wales, who set up local systems in each Local Authority from the beginning, and it’s worked very well. We were slow to get off the ground initially because Welsh Government (rightly) also wanted to devolve the vaccination programme to Health Boards at local level, which took longer to set up, but meant ultimately that most people have been vaccinated sooner than elsewhere in the UK. My daughter is 31, with no underlying health conditions and she’s got her first vaccination this week. One major mistake has been made here, which was not continuing the lockdown after our firebreak in the autumn - it was right to act early, but we should have continued. On the whole though, well done Wales.

Pantglas2 Wed 28-Apr-21 16:26:03

Yes, Casdon, let’s not allow political allegiances muddy the waters and give praise to ministers who got things right.

I know in Spain that many are critical of their vaccine roll out (compared to 🇬🇧) - I imagine it’s universal to carp about things not done well!

AGAA4 Wed 28-Apr-21 16:26:08

On the whole I think we have done quite well here in Wales. A few mistakes but not as many as elsewhere.
I am proud of the vaccine roll out throughout the UK.

Casdon Wed 28-Apr-21 16:29:48

I think it was the devolvement to Public Health Wales that made it work so well here Pantglas2. This type of programme isn’t ever best done remotely by governments.

MaizieD Wed 28-Apr-21 16:35:50

But I'm thinking about the actual approach to the program. Kate Bingham has played a blinder but why have we been so good at this part of the process when we were so awful at sourcing PPE, Test and Trace, Eat Out to Help out and all the other initiatives.

I think the thing that really stands out is that the task was given to the real experts to carry out. The NHS and the army. For which Kate Bingham must take the credit.

Dido Harding 'could', surely, have built on the experienced local authority tracking/tracing networks which already existed (and which have proved to be excellent when used) but completely ignored them. Was it ideology or idiocy which influenced that decision, hmm

I wonder if Bingham learned lessons from Harding's failure?

PPE? Ignored the experts, again

Eat Out to Help Out? Probably ignoring the science, again...

MaizieD Wed 28-Apr-21 16:40:42

I am proud of the vaccine roll out throughout the UK.

Me too, AGAA4. The only thing about Britain I've been proud of in the past few years.

Brings tears to my eyes when I think of how brilliantly the NHS has responded; and how hard all the volunteers have worked. Even more tears at the thought of the tories wanting to sell it off and destroy it.

NotSpaghetti Wed 28-Apr-21 16:54:29

I am very grateful for a successful vaccination programme. I'm not sure proud is the right word for me as it often has slightly negative connotations, but I am pleased we have managed to get so many vaccinated.

We had a good roll out because we simply had lots of vaccine. We purchased at a higher price than elsewhere - so that's how we settled earlier - and we also ordered enough for (correct me if I'm wrong) five doses each. This means that we have many more doses than we need.

It's obviously simpler to roll out "a sufficiency" than roll-out "not enough".

Blossoming Wed 28-Apr-21 17:08:19

I’m very happy that the vaccination program is proving to be a success. I hope the rest of the world benefits too.

SueDonim Wed 28-Apr-21 17:13:40

Being in Scotland, I am also very pleased to have had the benefit of the UK vaccine scheme and not the EU one, which some SNP members would have had us join.

Casdon Wed 28-Apr-21 17:26:47

Your assumption that lots of vaccine has made the rollout in the UK easy is an oversimplification of what has been a massive logistics exercise NotSpaghetti . The vaccine supply has been and continues to be sporadic in the UK, and vaccination centres have to flex their staff on a daily/weekly basis. Virtually all the NHS staff have been pulled from other roles, leaving gaps in core service provision. It’s very difficult indeed to sustain the services, and credit show go where it’s due, to the NHS for doing so well.

Polarbear2 Wed 28-Apr-21 17:32:46

I read it’s down to the fact we have a ‘mature’ National health service. It was set up ready to move at short notice. It’s been excellent. Very efficient and I’d think almost wholly down to the nhs.

Jaxjacky Wed 28-Apr-21 17:41:25

I think the job of implementation was given to the right people and all hail the volunteers. To answer yourOP Alegrias I don’t think the severity and deadliness of COVID-19 was understood by most governments initially. The subsequent rapid procurement and quantity of specific equipment was an unknown experience. That and track and trace really exposed any disaster recovery plans that existed to be useless, I hope we, as a country have learnt from it.

suziewoozie Wed 28-Apr-21 19:01:01

This is a really interesting question. I don’t think KB learned from DH as I think the procurement negotiations started very early. She was given a bottomless purse ( but so was DH) but she clearly knew exactly what she was doing. But the other cracker of a decision was MH’s to refuse Oxford’s preferred US partner and insist on AZ as we would have control. If and when the book comes out explaining the story of the vaccine roll out, it will be a great and fascinating read.

Kim19 Wed 28-Apr-21 19:12:47

I am thrilled, delighted and mighty relieved at the success of the vaccine distribution. Long may it continue on its scheduled path. However it is the only success I can see in the otherwise shambles. I accept that the Govt was on new and untried territory but find many of their actions and decisions inexcusable. With the resources they have to hand they should have done better. I think of our death toll with absolute and utter shame and always will.

Alegrias1 Wed 28-Apr-21 19:38:36

This is a really interesting thread with different points of view, thank you for answering my question. One thing we all seem to agree on is that the implementation of the rollout has been exemplary. The NHS, the Army, the volunteers, all going above and beyond to get it done.

But there are 3 things that have gone so well that were started even before the first patient was jabbed.

First, huge amounts of vaccines were purchased, even when we didn't know if they would work. Amazing foresight and a calculated risk, which other countries don't seem to have taken.

Second, we stuck to the JCVI priority order, in the face of calls to prioritise teachers, policemen, supermarket workers.....and it seems to have been justified.

Third, and the decision that I think needs the most praise from all of us; they went with the medical and scientific advice that a 12 week gap was the best approach. When everybody was doubting it, and some people were even calling for court cases, they stuck to their guns, and they've been vindicated.

I wouldn't use the word proud either, but I'm impressed and grateful, that's for sure.

MayBee70 Wed 28-Apr-21 19:44:43

I have a theory (probably wrong) that it was Rachael Johnson’s idea to use Kate Bingham. I think they were at uni together. Either way, it was a good idea for the government to use someone that actually had an in depth knowledge of what they were dealing with.

suziewoozie Wed 28-Apr-21 19:44:57

I was very very concerned and critical about the introduction of the 12 week gap which has proved so successful and it’s a pity that apparently not more countries have followed example.

Katie59 Wed 28-Apr-21 19:45:44

They have done a good job with vaccination , the government learned from all their mistakes from March 2020, at least they did order masses of vaccine, credit where credit is due.

Casdon Wed 28-Apr-21 19:55:35

I agree Alegrias1. In the uncharted territory of the pandemic the government in the UK listened to and put faith in the professionals, medical, scientific and procurement, and acted on their advice. I wish that happened more often in other aspects of government as well.

suziewoozie Wed 28-Apr-21 20:02:11

No the vaccine roll out wasn’t a success because the govt learned from its March mistakes ( which it repeated twice more throughout 2020. It was a totally different model with the right person ( and her team ) running it. And it was a well funded strategy which spread the risks across a range of several different vaccine technologies. KB’s background was the perfect combination of being a venture capitalist with a first class degree in biochemistry . Patrick Valence was instrumental in getting her involved in the first place.

suziewoozie Wed 28-Apr-21 20:20:48

www.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/blog/coronavirus-how-the-uk-backed-vaccine-winners/

This is an interview wth her and a really interesting read - long but worth it.

Alegrias1 Wed 28-Apr-21 20:56:25

Thank you for that article suzie. That whole thing was so well thought out it almost made me cry! She's the woman who saved Britain, I reckon.

Alegrias1 Wed 28-Apr-21 20:57:48

Casdon

I agree Alegrias1. In the uncharted territory of the pandemic the government in the UK listened to and put faith in the professionals, medical, scientific and procurement, and acted on their advice. I wish that happened more often in other aspects of government as well.

Me too Casdon, me too. 😐