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Adam Smith Inst - 2.1 Million Vulnerable Unvaccinated

Raft of measures proposed to protect human life and liberty as Covid-19 becomes endemic

  • 50,000+ UK lives saved in the most recent wave of cases thanks to a “vaccine dividend”
  • UK has fallen behind France in the vaccine race
  • Stalled progress and lack of children vaccinated means developed nations like Italy, Ireland, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Spain, Portugal and Malta and more are stealing a march on vaccination and a return to normal life 
  • 2.1 million vulnerable (“Phase I”) individuals still entirely unvaccinated and 600,000 yet to have their second dose
  • 10.4 million adults remain entirely unvaccinated
  • If unvaccinated rate stays the same this could result in 148,000 hospital admissions and 39,600 deaths from Covid alone
  • Rising Covid case numbers disrupt other care, resulting in longer term but preventable chronic disease, mental health challenges and missed cancers 

A new paper from the Adam Smith Institute calls for an urgent need to redouble vaccine efforts — as hospitals are alarmed by rising Covid cases and Government advisors discussing a new  ‘firebreak’ lockdown. 

Rising case numbers, because of lack of boosters, puts pressure on hospitals resulting in long term chronic disease, mental health and cancers missed will result in thousands suffering long-term. This is already being seen in Labour-run Wales with the North Wales Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board announcing that it was restricting access to hospitals in the region, SNP-run Scotland where two boards are warning of significant pressures, and will soon be seen similarly in England where the Conservative UK Government has responsibility for the health service.

The ASI wants the UK to adapt to a world where Covid cases are a fact of life but mitigatable for most by increasing vaccination rates and embracing booster jabs while rejecting another damaging lockdown and other restrictions on personal liberty like ‘vaccine passports’.

Extending vaccinations

The ASI are proposing to redouble efforts to vaccinate the millions in the “Phase 1” vulnerable group who have missed their second appointment or who are completely unvaccinated, with mobile vaccinations units and home visits — protecting those most likely to be hospitalised or die. They also offer a range of other campaign enhancements including offering booster shots to all adults, purchasing updated vaccines for the Delta variant and investing in advance-orders of promising next-generation vaccine technologies. This, they say, is necessary to help prevent a surge in cases over the coming months leading to demands for further lockdowns.

They also want to see the Government adopt a ‘mix-and-match’ strategy to vaccination and ensure the regulatory system is capable of quickly and safely approving new and updated vaccines. Children aged over 12 should also be offered a vaccine, with parental/guardian consent and without coercion or implied restrictions, the authors say. The entire population should be offered a flu shot to limit winter pressures on the NHS. They would also like pharmacies and private doctors to be able to purchase and offer vaccines.

Looking forward, there is a call to publish a detailed roadmap including delivery schedule of vaccines over the coming years.

Taking every step possible

The ASI would like the Government to invest more extensively and publicly in emerging treatments against Covid-19. The UK has orders of monoclonal antibody therapy Ronapreve, however has not ordered any Sotrovimab, despite GSK being a London-headquartered firm. By contrast, the European Union has ordered 220,000 doses of Sotrovimab. 

The ASI also points to the need to secure advance orders of antiviral treatments such as Pfizer’s PF-07321332/Ritonavir and ensure orders of other emerging drugs such as fluvoxamine. 

They would also like to see encouragement of ventilation in public and private spaces and the continuation of al fresco dining to help reduce the spread of the virus; along with encouragement of masks with respirators, such as N95, KN95, FFP3, and FFP2, for those most vulnerable from the virus.

Protecting liberties

The paper, Life with Covid: Boosting Vaccines, Injecting Resilience and Protecting Liberty, rejects further lockdowns or state-mandated ‘vaccine passports’ as a serious infringement on liberty. 

They are also calling for the ‘Coronavirus Act’ to be scrapped and the ‘traffic light’ travel restrictions to be simplified — removing all requirements for ‘Green’ countries, reducing requirements for ‘Amber’ countries, while tightening a more focused ‘Red’ list to essential travel only to protect against future variants. 

The Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell said:

“ASI have produced a thoughtful and stimulating paper which should be read by all those who care about how our country returns to normal and respects the civil liberties of us all“

ASI Senior Fellow and report co-author, James Lawson, said:

“Vaccines are our best weapon to win the war against Covid and return to normality. Our top priority should be to vaccinate the millions of “Phase 1” vulnerable who are receptive to receiving vaccines but have yet to get jabbed. As existing protection wanes over time, we also urgently need to offer boosters to those already vaccinated, especially in more vulnerable groups. We can strengthen and improve the vaccination campaign, helping to develop much greater societal resilience against Covid and other illnesses. Lastly, we must learn to live with the virus - restoring the personal liberties we have lost, ending the Coronavirus Act, and rejecting state-sanctioned discrimination through vaccine passports. It would be a tragedy to permit COVID to cause enduring erosion of our personal freedoms. It would be a tragedy to win the war but lose the peace through the enduring erosion of our freedoms.”  

ASI Head of Research and report co-author, Matthew Lesh, said:

“Covid is here to stay but the era of locking down and restricting liberties must come to an end. While Matt Hancock might have been distracted by his own issues to sort out the Pingdemic and get the vaccination rate up, the same cannot be said of Sajid Javid who is now months into the job. The Government has taken their eyes off the ball when it comes to boosters, procuring new treatments and next-generation vaccine technology. It’s incumbent upon our political leaders to take every step they can to avoid demands for new restrictions.”

Notes to editors: 

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact our press line, john@adamsmith.org | 07584667326

  • The Adam Smith Institute is a free market, neoliberal think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.
  • The report ‘Life with Covid: Boosting Vaccines, Injecting Resilience and Protecting Liberty’ is available here.
Original article link: https://www.adamsmith.org/news/21-million-vulnerable-unvaccinated

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