As pandemic deaths reach 5.4 million, campaigners support urgent call for global ‘vaccines-plus’ action.
– Vaccines and boosters aren’t enough on their own
– International solidarity is needed
– The Government’s laissez-faire approach is killing a thousand people a week and bringing our public services to their knees
A large number of public health experts, scientists, clinicians and medical and academic institutions have written an open letter to the British Medical Journal calling for co-ordinated ‘vaccines-plus’ action across the world to end the pandemic. The signatories include prominent academics based in the UK, as well as experts from around the world.
Zero Covid UK, which campaigns for the SARS-CoV-2 virus to be suppressed and eventually eliminated through a combination of infection-control measures, including vaccination, strongly endorses these calls. The Government’s reliance on vaccinations alone simply isn’t working. A thousand people are being killed every week by this virus. Hospitals are setting up tents in their car parks to cater for the deluge of sick people. Over a million people, including children, are left debilitated and, in some cases, unable to work, as a result of long Covid.
The Government’s approach isn’t even good for the economy. Businesses are unable to plan ahead and operate viably. Many theatres, restaurants and pubs have been operating at reduced capacity for months now, and things are getting worse. High infection rates mean that staff have to take time off work, often at a moment’s notice and for a week or more. Our public transport and schools can’t function normally, let alone our medical services. This causes even more problems. Shops and small businesses are going under, and our city centres are showing the effect.
Countries that have taken a more strategic approach to the pandemic have fared much better than the UK, both in terms of public health and of the economy. The official death toll in the UK stands at 150,000; in Japan, whose population is nearly twice as big as ours, it is 18,000. In China, 4,636 people have died, and the economy is booming.
Concerted action is needed to end this pandemic. We can’t just hope that it’ll go away of its own accord. The next variant could be more deadly than Delta and more vaccine-resistant than Omicron. For the tens of thousands of people who have died in the UK, it is too late, but many lives will be saved if we change course. The open letter to the British Medical Journal calls for measures that are known to be effective, namely the following:
– acknowledgement that Covid is airborne
– promotion of high-quality face-masks
– facilitation of enhanced ventilation
– provision of an effective find, test, trace, isolate and support system, and
– achievement of global vaccine equity, including via patent waivers and vaccine-sharing.
Campaign spokesperson Joseph Healy said, ‘Last February, the BMJ called Britain’s pandemic response “social murder”. Nearly a year on, tens of thousands more people have died. The Government’s actions amount to misconduct in public office. It has neglected its duty to protect us from this deadly virus and has instead lined the pockets of its cronies through irregular contracting. Staff at Number 10 enjoyed Christmas parties while elderly people were dying in care homes without seeing their relatives. This carnage must stop. The Government must change course now.’