Archive of Postings to December 2021


Fool’s Errand

Setting ambitious targets can boost team efforts and encourage cooperation to achieve a common goal. But there is the danger that these motivational targets can be set too high - and become unachievable fantasies that kill any desire to keep going. Once the participants come to the conclusion that the objectives cannot be reached further efforts become fool’s errands - jobs given to waste time and resources.

Man3In the last few days the Government - that is the Prime Minister, Cabinet, senior medical officers, etc - have directed that almost all of the country should get a third dose of Covid vaccine by the end of the year. And have instructed all the medical resources available to work to achieve this ambitious target.

Now Grandad has no access to the Government’s inside knowledge but the public information available puts this target firmly in the unachievable fantasy category. And if correct could spell the end of public support - while demotivating the medical professionals, support staff and volunteers.

Just look at the basic stats. There are just 18 days left in this calendar year - and that includes weekends and bank holidays. Yesterday 451,000 vaccinations were carried out in total and NHS officials are hoping to get to 900,000 per day by next week. But this will require all parts of the supply chain to be in place and stocked with sufficient quantities - plus staff prepared to give up at least some of their Christmas / New Year break.

In the unlikely event that 900,000 doses per day can be achieved and maintained then the total vaccinations possible by year end is 14.8 million. This compares to 6.2 million of the UK population who have yet to have a first dose; 10.6 million yet to have a second dose and 33.8 million waiting for the promised third dose - which they can only have if enough time has elapsed since their second dose. So the numbers indicate that even the end of January would be an ambitious target for getting third doses to all those who have already had two.

Already the phrase being set up to fail is appearing in the postings of those faced with the daunting prospect of chasing down mild Covid infections while so many other patients are being neglected or ignored. But some degree of failure is already likely - and the question is - who will carry the can?

Update 21-Dec-2021
Actual results from Sunday show that over 800,000 third doses were administered nationally - a tremendous effort by all concerned. However this morning the only vaccination centre in our area had just the opposite of what was expected - no queue and just three or four people being processed. If this is typical then no chance of reaching the current targets.

Update 22-Dec-2021
Despite seeing few being vaccinated at our local centre yesterday the national figures show 968,665 third doses being administered - a new record total that does not include the 94,000 first and second doses also given out. Still little chance of reaching everyone by year end - but a tremendous effort that might avoid more restrictions being imposed in England after Christmas.

Update 31-Dec-2021
No more restrictions in England came in after Christmas - but possibly could come soon; now that most of the parties are done. Not that adding restrictions now will be of much benefit. Much like the round of Nightingale Mark 2 temporary wards that the NHS is building - and spending our taxes on - in the full knowledge that they do not have enough staff to make any use of them. Just like the previous unused Nightingale Mark 1 fiasco. Who in the NHS makes these wasteful decisions?

As regards the booster vaccinations programme - it did just as predicted and petered out over Christmas. Neither the staff nor the public should have been expected to carry on at this time of year. The spin-doctors are claiming it was a success since everyone was offered a booster shot. But no amount of spinning can ignore the fact that millions have not had one - offered or not. And even the end of January target is looking increasingly difficult to achieve. At this stage Whitehall’s way out of taking responsibility for setting such crazy targets is to claim the targets never existed!

Update 23-Jan-2022
With England lifting restrictions and the somewhat reluctant home nations heading the same way it seems that the Wuhan virus has mutated into a threat that can be handled without personal restrictions. Even the requirement for medics to be vaccinated may get watered down or removed.

This softening has left the on-going vaccination programme with even less motivation to reach its targets. And looking at today’s government figures it is clear that there is much less motivation already. The chart below illustrates how the number of daily 3rd doses administered is nowhere near the pre-Christmas peak. And if the current rate of around 68,000 per day continues then today’s two-dosed patients will not all be boosted for another 165 days - or 225 days to finish all those that have had just one dose so far [That’s 5-Sep-2022!].

This will still leave around 10% of population unvaccinated. So it seems that stories of tragic avoidable deaths will be with us long-term.UK-Covid-Vax-3rd-Jan23

Update 30-Jan-2022
Just one week on and the latest real world figures move the projected completion date for 90% being fully vaccinated to October 2022. It looks like becoming a carrot on a stick in front of the donkey. A target that is permanently just out of reach.

Update 4-Feb-2022
Just one final comment - yesterday’s 3rd dose vaccinations were 39,037. The fourth day in a row they were below 40,000. But the 1st and 2nd dose vaccinations together were 39,740 meaning the number of outstanding patients actually increased - and the projected completion date shot out to February 2023 .. or beyond.

tags: virus, economy, vaccine, failure



No End In Sight

Today’s mainstream media are reporting that the NHS has ordered another 114 million doses of Covid vaccines. A figure that is around the same as the total number of shots distributed in the UK from the start of the pandemic.

man58_160Since Grandad, and Grandma, have already had three vaccinations each this year it looks like we will be expected to get the same again in 2022/23. That is if the public and medical teams can face at least two more years of Covid treatment within a seriously disrupted health service and a struggling wider economy.

The orders are reported to be for some 54 million doses from Pfizer and 60 million from Moderna. A move that seems to suggest other vaccines will be dropped and the prospect of a tablet-based treatment is further out into the future.

The cost of these orders to the NHS has not been revealed but EU contracts are thought to be around 16.50 per dose for Pfizer and 19.50 for Moderna. If these figures are realistic then today’s announcement has just blown around 2,060 million of our taxes - a big enough figure but one that does not include the potentially much larger cost of getting it into the UK population’s arms.

The best outcome could well be a Covid variant that is no worse than flu or even the common cold. This seems to have been the fortunate outcome for the Spanish Flu virus pandemic of 100 years ago. Hope is that nature will repeat itself very soon - because the alternative of more dangerous variants do not bear thinking about ...

Update 6-Dec-2021
There are media reports that the availability of a tablet for the treatment of Covid will be announced shortly. It is thought that the Molnupiravir antiviral pill will be rolled out to clinically vulnerable NHS patients by Christmas.

tags: virus, economy, vaccine, unrest



More Of The Same

Despite the long gap since our previous post many important issues seem little changed. The problems with having a trade barrier between Northern Ireland and England/Scotland/Wales still exist and the threat of triggering Article 16 is still being waved around as a promise / threat. While the fishing rights and disputes seem as unresolved as the never-ending stream of economic migrants fleeing France for a better life in the UK. Even Lord Sugar has been asking the key question - what makes the UK so attractive? And conversely what makes Greece, Italy, Germany, etc less attractive. So far the only obvious beneficiaries of the traffic are the people smugglers and UK lawyers - but there is also the darker threat of foreign powers aiming at creating civil unrest.

man8The Covid pandemic still rolls on with infection numbers in the UK now up to 277,000 last week - despite the vast number of vaccine doses given out to date. Official figures state that 50.7 million first, 46.1 million second and 13.9 third doses have now been issued - so that’s over 110 million shots in total. A monumental task added to the workloads of already over-stretched medical resources - with no real end in sight. How soon before the expert advisors start calling for a fourth round of vaccinations? How much will it all add to the nation’s tax bill?

And on the issue of national finances this quote from our previous post - very likely that inflation will jump - and by much more than the Bank of England predicted - seems to be coming true; despite the Governor of the Bank trying his best to wish it away. With higher wages, staff shortages, steep fuel increases and supply chain struggles the Bank’s hopes of any inflation being a blip seem naively optimistic.

But at least today’s updated plans for rail improvements have given a little clearer direction for public transport outside of London - but even this can expect some vocal opposition. But then you can’t please everyone ...

tags: virus, economy, vaccine, unrest, interest



Still In Turmoil

After a two month gap in postings the hope was to have seen significant improvements. But looking around we see remarkably little in the way of problem resolution. To quote a posting from February this year .. the world, as seen from Europe, seems to be becoming less rational, less predictable and more volatile. The pressures at all levels - from individuals to whole continents - are triggering actions and decisions that would be inconceivable just a few years ago. Everything from Taliban to volcanoes have created more troubles.

deskchair1The covid pandemic stills rolls on - with large parts of the world untreated. With the UK starting out giving third doses - often using a different vaccine to the first two - while also beginning annual flu jabs - the medical staff involved must see this as a never-ending struggle.

Despite everything that has been done last week saw 241,000 new UK covid infections meaning that hundreds of thousands are not able to go to work or school. The shortage of HGV and tanker drivers illustrates how the pandemic has combined with an absence of EU workers and little economic planning to trigger a crisis.

Trying to look ahead through the growing panic it seems very likely that inflation will jump - and by much more than the Bank of England predicted. This would be bad news all round ...

Trying to be less downbeat, events at a local level have been quite benign - and even though Autumn is starting to bite, the Spring and Summer have been pleasantly warm. Warm enough to have the new sun lounger in action and forget about problems that we have no power to resolve ..

tags: virus, economy, vaccine, unrest, interest



Another Exit In Name Only

Well .. we have waited the required five weeks before our next opportunity to escape from the Government’s Covid restrictions. But next Monday’s billing as Freedom Day looking increasingly like a name taken from George Orwell’s 1984 new speak - being almost the complete opposite of the actual experience.

Man2The broad announcement that all (most) of the restrictions will be repealed next Monday - breaks down in practice. Firstly because there are so many politicians claiming they set the rules - not just Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but also regional mayors. This lack of common ground means that the rules could change at random on different days in different places.

Then the move to personal responsibility rather than Government requirements has the unintended consequence that companies - and public services - will be looking to avoid claims against them and enforcing their own versions of infection control.

So come Freedom Day wearing a face covering will not be a legal requirement - in England - but going shopping at Sainsbury’s or travelling by train would still require one to be worn. And anyone travelling over a land border between England and Scotland or Wales would need to know what they can or cannot do on a daily basis ... And travelling from, say, Essex into London could be equally disjointed.

But looking further ahead we must assume that the number of new Covid infections is likely to keep growing - along with an exponential (expotential?) growth in contacts to be traced (and pinged) for self-isolation- to the point where the politicians reverse gear and put all the restrictions back.

The vaccination programme may have taken the sting out of Covid but 2021 will not see the end of its debilitating effects. In fact they could be around for decades ...

tags: Covid, travel, holiday, rules, restrictions, freedom


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