I have always loved the glorious month of May – nature bursting forth after the earlier darker months of the year.
I anticipate that the month of May 2021 will be especially glorious. There are 585,000 people in the UK over 90. Most of them have now had their first vaccination. 3, 200,000 have clocked up 80 years, 8,770,000 have managed 70 and 11,989,000 fellow citizens have joined Jan and I in our sixties. My maths is poor, but I reckon that to be 24,544,000 people in need of vaccination before the economy can be released once more. Over 600,000 have already received their first jab, but of course we do have to factor in frontline health workers and clinically vulnerable younger people, but also deduct the considerable number of those who refuse to have a jab (unwisely in my view). We also have to add in the second jab for people once we reach the due date for that.
This is necessarily an imprecise calculation, and no doubt NHS HQ has a more methodical approach, and there are even Apps by which you can calculate your likely wait! However, we are looking at a net figure of around 24 million people to vaccinate before we can start our society and economy running again without major restriction.
By mid-January we should be up to 2 million jabs per week which means 12 weeks or so to vaccinate this number. Throw in a few unforeseen disruptions and supply chain issues, plus a number of second jabs and we are looking at the end April before us oldies are vaccinated. Hence my reference to May being especially welcome this year.
I look forward to being in a packed chamber of the House of Commons voting away some of the very un-British restrictions on our freedoms that we have had to endure in the past 12 months. I hope we never have to do this again.
There is some disappointment about the decision to postpone the second jab for most people for up to 12 weeks (for the Oxford vaccine), but it will enable us to achieve the target set out above. As the most excellent Professor Van Tam has argued recently: it is better to give two grandparents 89% protection than to give one 95% and the other none at all. It is what my grandchildren would call a no-brainer.
In the meantime, we have got to endure up to 12 more weeks of ever-changing restriction and hardship, risk and pain. Once more we salute the amazing doctors, nurses and support staff in our NHS. Let us all help them by sticking to the rules. Hands Face. Space.