December 4, 2020

Britain Approves COVID Vaccine

Sponsored by

You're Probably Using the Wrong Credit Card…

With the right credit card, you could be earning hundreds - even thousands - of dollars in rewards every year. GigaPoints uses data, not guesses, to match you with the credit cards that will earn you the most points, based on the way you actually spend, so you can score cash back, free travel, and more. Best of all, it's fast, easy and free. Learn More.

“Britain approved Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, jumping ahead of the rest of the world in the race to begin the most crucial mass inoculation programme in history.” Reuters

Both sides celebrate the development of the vaccines, stress their safety, and call for politicians and celebrities to urge the public to take them:

“The story of how these new vaccines came to us so fast would make a thrilling documentary. The accomplishments of these private-sector teams of scientists is a culmination of progress across decades, not least the identification of messenger RNA 60 years ago. Today, biological science has so many moving parts that it takes multidisciplinary teams to produce products like the vaccines heading this month to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency approval…

“The intellectual, technical and organizational firepower of thousands of men and women employed by pharma is what made these savior vaccines happen in 10 months rather than years. They won’t ask for anyone’s gratitude, but they deserve it… This is the moment to put into nomination the obvious recipient for 2021’s Nobel Peace Prize: the scientists at the pharmaceutical companies whose vaccines are about to rescue the world from the catastrophe of SARS-CoV-2.”
Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal

“It’s true that the COVID-19 vaccines have been developed quickly, in particular when — as is sometimes claimed — vaccine development can take anything from seven to 10 years. But this doesn’t mean the vaccine is rushed or unsafe… Vaccine development involves a hard scramble for funding, dominated by commercial decisions, full of red tape and stupid delays like contract negotiations that drag on for years…

“For most of the 10 years it can take to develop a vaccine, you are not running a trial. You are not getting safety data. In fact, you would normally end up with a smaller safety dataset than we have in the pandemic because the trials this time around are so blockbuster big. We now know running these trials quickly was ‘easy’: you just needed unlimited money, all the world’s formidable trial infrastructure pointed at one question, a huge pool of altruistic volunteers and some focused regulators.”
Dr. Mark Toshner, Spectator USA

Regarding public skepticism, “The anti-vaccination movement learned its way around the Web long before covid-19 struck, and the disinformation war it has started even before these lifesaving medicines are widely available must be countered with a preemptive defense…

“Researchers have identified the importance of filling ‘data deficits’ to give people the right answers before opportunists can give them the wrong ones. This must occur in a manner that explains without overwhelming, as complexity can push people toward the comfort of simple answers no matter their veracity. The government needs to figure out how to communicate with the country’s citizens about vaccines frequently, specifically and sensitively, tailoring its messages to existing misconceptions as well as to different types of audiences.”
Editorial Board, Washington Post

“On October 28, 1956, a young Elvis Presley went on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show.’… The crowd screamed so loud you could barely hear him sing. But what really makes that night so memorable is that before his performance, viewers watched Presley get his polio vaccine on television. It made headlines and, critically, also helped convince teens and young adults -- people who thought they weren't at risk -- that they needed a vaccine too in order to help defeat the deadly disease… Celebrity leadership and activism can be overrated, but there are moments in which famous and trusted people can sway mass opinion in ways vital to the public good

“Former presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton have all said they will take the vaccine publicly, which is great, but we're going to need to do a lot more than that… governors should all reach out to the stars of country music and pop, basketball and NASCAR, and get them on board. Beyonce and Jay-Z, Taylor Swift, the boys from BTS, LeBron James, Tom Brady, whomever we can. We're no longer in the concentrated media environment of the 1950s Sullivan show where a single star on a single station can shape the news of the nation, but the diversity of platforms and audiences can be a strength if everyone finds a known and trusted face within their media niche taking the vaccine.”
David M. Perry, CNN

Regarding vaccine distribution, Nirav Shah, Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, explains that “We began planning for COVID-19 vaccine distribution—in theory and in concept—back in mid-April… The first thing we did was we ordered freezers. We spent about $12,500 ordering two massive freezers for our central warehouse. The second thing is, back in September we did a needs assessment and needs inventory, so we already knew where in the health care system there were existing ultra-cold freezers… [In addition we found that] there are communities that don’t have hospitals in them, but for whatever reason they’ve got a community college that has an ultra-cold freezer…

“As to dry ice, one of the principal uses for dry ice in the United States is the packaging of seafood. The lobster industry is a large consumer of dry ice for their shipping and packaging. So dry ice is big in Maine, and we do not anticipate challenges with dry ice. We have mapped out everything, and now we’re focused on what is literally the last mile… If I showed up with a box of vaccines, I want to know how many vials you can accommodate in your ultra-cold storage freezer and still maintain -80°C. Another thing we’re working on is what we need for the first wave of vaccinators within health care systems: How many gloves are we going to need for them to handle the dry ice?… It’s all the things that you just never think about.”
Nirav Shah, Slate

Other opinions below.

See past issues

From the Right

From the Left

A libertarian's take

“The common theme [in these scientific breakthroughs] is one of outsiders, as women and immigrants have been prominent at crucial points… The swift development of all these vaccines could end up being the biggest scientific advance in decades — and it has been driven by people who, in another era, never would have had a chance…

“In business, academia and other fields of science, women do not have roles nearly as prominent as they do right now in vaccine development. Given what women have contributed to vaccines just this year, think what kind of impact they could have in other areas… the recent and unprecedented impact of women in this field means that there are other endeavors which society cares about that would greatly benefit from more involvement by women.”
Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg

Get troll-free political news.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.