The Anonymous Widower

Jaw Jaw Is Better Than War War!

There is an article in The Times today with a title of Britain Ready To Share Dutch-Made Vaccine With EU.

It talks of compromise and how Boris Johnson has effectively told his ministers to cool it.

I feel that Boris is right to seek a compromise. As Churchill said “Jaw, jaw is better than war-war!”

I wouldn’t be surprised that we have a lot to offer the EU about other things than making the vaccine.

Vaccination

There have been several examples published in this newspaper and other media outlets, about how we have squeezed extra doses out of the Pfizer vaccine and made sure we have potential recipients on hand, so that nothing goes to waste.

Perhaps we have a suitable brigadier, doctor, mandarin or project manager, who could put some drive and organisation into the EU’s flagging effort.

If it is a big loss of face to some EU politicians so be it.

AstraZeneca’s Problem

If AZ do have problem, it appears to be in the manufacture.

After all it is AZ’s first vaccine.

This surely, is a problem, that can be solved, even if it upsets AZ a bit on how it is done!

European Vaccine Reluctance

But I do think the EU’s vaccination is not helped by the population’s reluctance to have a jab.

We had Tom Jones and the US had Dolly Parton, amongst others who backed vaccinations.

Have stars of similar standing backed the vaccination in the EU?

Help From The Yanks

As usual, the Americans have arrived late to bolster the efforts.

Lets hope that their data published today persuades more EU citizens to take the jab and even one from the UK!

But surely any vaccine that gives you 100 % protection from severe disease, as the Yanks say that the AZ does, can’t be all bad!

Conclusion

I believe that as the UK and the EU share a common will to defeat the virus, that a good compromise can be developed over the next few days.

Let’s hope it goes better than the last time, we told the French what to do in a serious situation.

My father told me about Churchill’s dash to Paris in 1940 to offer union with France to try and save the country.

Read all about it in this article on the London School of Economics web site, which is entitled June 1940: Britain’s Forgotten Attempt To Build A European Union.

What Churchill Actually Said

In trying to find when Churchill used the title of this post, I found this page on the International Churchill Society web site, which is entitled Quotes Falsely Attributed To Winston Churchill.

The actual quote was “Meeting jaw to jaw is better than war” and it was misquoted later by Harold Macmillan.

Does meeting Zoom to Zoom count?

March 22, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Some Bad Vaccine News From Italy

This reassuring article in The Times with a reassuring title of Single Covid Vaccine Reduces Risk Of Going To Hospital By 90%.

But it does contain one piece of bad news.

An Italian study has suggested that the Pfizer vaccine is less effective in overweight people.

March 1, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , | 1 Comment

Covid: What’s Happening To The EU Vaccine Scheme?

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

These are the introductory paragraphs.

The European Union has been criticised for the slow pace of coronavirus vaccinations in member states.

It has introduced export controls on vaccines produced in the EU after the roll-out was hit by delays and supply problems.

The delays and supply problems seem to concern the AstraZeneca plant in Belgium. Get that running flat out would surely help to solve the problem.

Wikipedia has an interesting statement under Production and Supply for the AZ vaccine, in the Wikipedia entry for the vaccine.

On 13 June 2020, AstraZeneca signed a contract with the Inclusive Vaccines Alliance, a group formed by France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, to supply up to 400 million doses to all European Union member states. However, the European Commission intervened to stop the deal being formalised. It took over negotiations on behalf of the whole EU, signing a deal at the end of August.

It looks to me that the EU strangled a deal that could have saved their bacon, if Wikipedia is correct.

  • Did the delay mean that AstraZeneca delayed completing their European factories, as they were worried about getting any order at all?
  • Sometimes, it is difficult financing firm orders, let alone ones that might be cancelled at the whim of politicians.
  • Was Macron hoping the French vaccine was coming through and so could replace the AstraZeneca vaccine? But it didn’t appear, so the EU had to go cap-in-hand to AstraZeneca, who now had the problem of getting the equipment from suppliers, they’d mucked about.

It looks to me like an almighty coq-up!

The section about the Oxford vaccine in Wikipedia, also says that the vaccine has been licenced to the US, Argentina for Latin America and India and that production from the UK and EU factories will be between 100 and 200 million doses per month, when up to full speed.

Those production figures look like they could satisfy the UK’s order for 100 million doses and 400 million for the EU, if AstraZeneca can get the Belgian plant fully working.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a solution something like this.

  • Novavax gets UK certification very soon.
  • Novavax starts supplying doses to the UK, in perhaps March.
  • AstraZeneca sends some UK vaccine to the EU, with Novavax keeping the vaccination rate high.
  • AstraZeneca gets their EU factories up to speed in something like June.
  • The EU gets its vaccines and is now able to vaccinate at a vaguely acceptable rate if they get their systems right.
  • Moderna comes on stream around the middle of the year.
  • The UK has adequate deliveries of AstraZeneca, Moderna, Novavax and Pfizer vaccines and starts mass vaccination for everyone, around the start of September.

If the EU had allowed the original deal to proceed for EU vaccines, the timescales would probably be have been three months earlier.

Conclusion

The EU will get its vaccines, but later than if they’d placed their orders at the same time as the UK did.

January 30, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should Coeliacs On A Long-Term Gluten-Free Diet Have The Pfizer Or AstraZeneca Vaccine?

This is an interesting question.

I believe that coeliacs on a long-term gluten-free diet have a strong immune system and this is responsible for the group, to which I belong, having a 25 % less risk of suffering from cancer, according to Joe West at Nottingham University.

This strong immune system may react to and attack a two-dose viral-vector vaccine like the AstraZeneca, so would I be better off with the Pfizer?

I wrote about why this could happen in Coronavirus: Why Combining The Oxford Vaccine With Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine Could Make It More Effective.

This is an extract from that post.

A Possible Problem With Viral-Vector Vaccines

This is a paragraph from the article on the Conversation, which talks of a problem with viral-vector vaccines.

When a person is given a viral-vector vaccine, as well as generating an immune response against the coronavirus’s spike protein, the immune system will also mount a response against the viral vector itself. This immune response may then destroy some of the booster dose when it is subsequently delivered, before it can have an effect. This has long been recognised as a problem.

It looks like a case of shoot the messenger to me.

The Russian solution is to use different viral-vectors in the two doses.

Conclusion

As I believe, I already have a degree of natural protection from my diagnosed coeliac disease and long-term gluten-free diet and the resulting strong immune system, I think on balance, I’d personally choose the Pfizer vaccine.

But the choice of vaccine will probably not be down to me!

 

January 28, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 2 Comments

French Pharma Giant Sanofi To Produce Rivals’ Covid Vaccines

The title of this post, isthe same as that of this article on The Times.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A growing sense of national failure in France over the inability to produce a viable Covid-19 vaccine has been compounded by the decision of its largest pharmaceutical company to produce doses developed by its rivals, Pfizer and Biontech.

France doesn’t seem to have backed the right horse!

But at least producing doses of the Pfizer vaccine will help to solve Europe’s severe vaccine shortage.

January 28, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , | 1 Comment

Is The Pfizer Vaccine The New Betamax?

To me, the Pfizer vaccine may work well, but the precautions needed to deliver it safely are so onerous, I can’t see it being the most successful of vaccines.

If healthcare professionals and GP surgeries in the UK, are saying that the minus seventy delivery route is going to be difficult, then how difficult is it going to be to deliver it, in parts of India, Africa and South America.

I can’t see the current Pfizer vaccine lasting very long, before it is either overtaken by one of the many others vaccines under development or Pfizer reformulate it, so it has an easier method of delivery.

It truly is the new Betamax.

December 24, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , | 7 Comments

The End Of The Beginning

At 16:08 on the 9th of November 2020, I sent this text message to the BBC.

Churchill would have dubbed Pfizer’s news the End of the Beginning in the War against the Covids!

Then at 17:00 Boris used the same phrase in his Press Conference.

Wikipedia says this about Churchill’s use of the phrase.

A quotation from a 1942 speech by Winston Churchill concerning the Second Battle of El Alamein.

The Second Battle of El Alamein was fought between the 23rd of October and the 11th of November 1942. So exactly, seventy-eight years ago, the battle was coming to a close.

As a biographer of Churchill, did Boris spot the historical link?

Let’s hope Boris, Macron, Biden, Merkel, Trudeau et al, get the chance to paraphrase another of Churchill’s quotes about the very different battle.

It may almost be said, “Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat”

Let’s hope Pfizer’s vaccine is our generation’s Alamein and marks the turning point in the War against the Covids.

Certainly, the news has been well-received by experts, including Jeremy Farrar of the Welcome Trust, who was being interviewed by the BBC, when the news broke.

I am 73 and my parents told me how Alamein and other news like it, stiffened the sinews and summoned up the blood in the dark days of World War II!

November 10, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment