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Guest article: ‘Get back to normal*’ – leading medic Prof Kailash Chand on receiving his first COVID vaccine and why he ‘jumped at the chance’ to have it

“Don’t let misinformation be the reason you aren’t getting everything that you deserve to be your healthiest self.”

Leading medic and NHS campaigner Prof Kailash Chand received his first coronavirus vaccine this week. Here he writes about his decision to be vaccinated – and what the vaccine could mean for the country – if enough people take it:

Get back to normal* — that’s what a Covid-19 vaccine represents to me.

WE have witnessed a dreadful 2020 due to Covid 19,upending lives and economies. Now, with rollout of the first vaccines designed to protect us against the chaos and uncertainty, I am filled with hope.

That is why, when I was offered a chance to get vaccinated Saturday evening, I jumped at it.

Because I am a high-risk health care worker, I have to say, getting that shot felt like a profound and game changing  moment. And it didn’t hurt a bit.

But I didn’t make my decision lightly or instinctively . I considered all the evidence. And because I did the homework, maybe it will help address the vaccine concerns that some Britishers  have.

You might have noticed there is a little asterisk (*) after the word “Get back to normal” above. The asterisk — the footnote — is there because, for this promise of normalcy to be fulfilled, enough people have to agree to get vaccinated. Epidemiologists, estimate that 60% to 80% of the people of this country would have to get vaccinated to reach herd immunity.

But we are not there yet. Vaccine hesitancy is real and it threatens this new, fragile hope for ending the pandemic as quickly as possible.

Once that happens, our society will reach so-called herd immunity. That is, enough people will be immune to the virus, pushing down the infection rate. With fewer people to infect, the virus will gradually fizzle out and life can get back to normal — or settle into whatever will be the new normal.

But we are not there yet. Vaccine hesitancy is real and it threatens this new, fragile hope for ending the pandemic as quickly as possible.

The Public health experts tell us, the vaccine hesitancy is the biggest challenge remaining in the fight against Covid-19. I can’t address all the reasons for the hesitancy. I can only speak to the science behind the one -from Pfizer and BioNTech, granted an Emergency Use by MHRA.

In the Phase 3 clinical trial of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, more than 40,000 participants received either two doses of the vaccine or two doses of a placebo. Of the 170 cases of Covid-19, 162 were in people who got placebo, while eight cases were in participants who got the actual vaccine. Among the 10 severe cases, only one occurred in the vaccinated group. The vaccine was found to work equally well across age, race and ethnicity demographics. To be clear, these vaccines will reduce death and severe illness. They have been rigorously evaluated, and if enough of us roll up our sleeves and get vaccinated, we can eventually reclaim normalcy.

Baseless conspiracy theories about a coronavirus vaccine have been spreading on social media for months – and the latest vaccine news rekindled these pre-existing narratives online. These includes false claims that the vaccine is a means of inserting microchips into the population, altering our DNA, or are even a weapon of genocide.

Don’t let misinformation be the reason you aren’t getting everything that you deserve to be your healthiest self.

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  1. Do the anti-mask, anti-vaccine conspiracy nuts remind anyone else of youth movements rejecting adult authority – like punks, goths, emos or any of the others I’ve forgotten or never heard of?
    I’ve only the anecdotal evidence of my own eyes and ears to go by – the ones I’ve met just seem to have had their development arrested at about the Marlon Brando “What have you got?” stage – refuseniks just for the sake of it.

    1. David

      If you trust this govt BLINDLY, or pfitzer  (just type in to google pfitzer  court cases)  then perhaps  it is you that has arrested development…..

      David, please can you point me to proof that this rushed through vaccine

      Is safe,

      Provides  better immunity than our bodies immunity developed when we have contracted the disease ( and why the govt isn’t testing people’s antibodies, what what percentage of the population has antibodies? And why don’t we think this information is important?)

      How long immunity provided by the vaccine lasts in comparison to natural immunity, how often we will need to be vaccinated against a virus, that as such naturally mutates,p

      Whether infact a vaccine cert will be used to take away further rights in this so called democracy

      Is this chap a tin hatted emo too…

      Highly respected Professor Peter Doshi, Ph.D., has penned an opinion piece in the BMJ pointing out that current COVID-19 vaccine tests are not set up to tell us whether they can save lives.

      Doshi, an assistant professor of pharmaceutical health services research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, said: “None of the trials currently underway are designed to detect a reduction in any serious outcome such as hospitalisations, intensive care use, or deaths. Nor are the vaccines being studied to determine whether they can interrupt transmission of the virus.”

      While being hailed as the solution to the pandemic, Doshi wrote in the BMJ that we can’t fully judge the success of the late-stage vaccine efforts from the likes of AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech if we simply omit these key metrics.

      “Many may assume that successful phase 3 studies will mean we have a proven way of keeping people from getting very sick and dying from COVID-19. And a robust way to interrupt viral transmission. Yet the current phase 3 trials are not actually set up toprove either,” said Doshi.

      All the ongoing phase 3 trials are evaluating mild, not severe, disease, and they will be able to report final results once around 150 participants develop symptoms.

      The BMJ editorial points out that in the cases of Pfizer and Moderna’s trials, individuals with only a cough and positive lab test “would bring those trials one event closer to their completion.”

      Yet Doshi argues that vaccine makers “have done little to dispel the notion” that severe COVID-19 was what was being assessed.

      Moderna, for example, called hospitalizations a “key secondary endpoint” in statements to the media. But Tal Zaks, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer at Moderna, told the BMJ their trial lacks adequate statistical power to assess that endpoint.

      “Hospitalisations and deaths from covid-19 are simply too uncommon in the population being studied for an effective vaccine to demonstrate statistically significant differences in a trial of 30,000 people,” explained Doshi. “The same is true regarding whether it can save lives or prevent transmission: the trials are not designed to find out

      Zaks confirmed to the London-based medical journal that Moderna’s trial will not show prevention of hospitalization because the size and duration of the trial would need to be vastly increased to collect the necessary data.

      Peter Doshi is an associate editor at The BMJ and assistant professor of pharmaceutical health services at the University of Maryland. His research focuses on policies related to drug safety and effectiveness evaluation in the context of regulation and evidence synthesis. He is an advocate for greater public access to clinical trial data. 

      1. Any minute now McNiven will start talking like a patronising Guardian centrist about the Adults In The Room! FFS!

  2. There is no peer reviewed research that proves masks make any difference
    WHO said much the same at the beginning of the pandemic
    Now if you want to talk about cheap and nasty Tory snouts in the trough or why vaccine developers are being given immunity from liability
    By definition we have herd immunity when those it affects badly are vaccinated, the rest of us will get immunity naturally, its a virus ffs

    1. There may or may not be peer reviewed research on masks – I don’t need to check because only a fucking idiot would believe they don’t make any difference – or that they shouldn’t be worn until after 5 years’ research and peer review.
      If you were asked to produce a vaccine in a fifth of the normal time you wouldn’t want liability resulting from rushing the job either. Nothing unreasonable in that and a totally different argument to Tory snouts in troughs.
      Lemme guess – emo, right? Yeah, I knew it 😉

      1. David suspending liability from the vacinne sounds like a Tory big pharma dream….You couldn’t make it up?…but they have.

      2. Lemme guess your still hiding behind the couch shitting your pants
        For the 99.9% of the population who it doesn’t affect we have to wait for you to get your jabs
        Now how many of us have you fuckers killed

      3. See McNiven’s emotional blackmail below. Apparently…

        “As good socialists we should always place life over loss”.

        But not all life is worth EVERYBODY sacrificing EVERYTHING for a few coffin-dodgers!

      4. Boys and girls, who would you LIKE to produce your vaccines for you – since you don’t like the Big Bad Pharma Monster? Your local hairdresser? The butcher? They’ve got the tools to chop up viruses, haven’t they?
        Ooh, I know – Boots the Chemist knows a good bit about medicines doesn’t it?

        The alternative to big pharma is BloJob’s herd immunity – “Take it on the chin, Nana” – that’s where your antivaxx argument takes you.
        Just admit it.
        You want her house free and clear – don’t want to fritter it away on bloody care home fees for the next ten years – right?

        Oh, and by the way – when deciding one’s attitude to things like the EU, big pharma, government etc… there are intermediate choices between love and hate.
        It’s called “nuance.”

    1. That’s twice you’ve posted the same link so here, again, is why your priorities are wrong.
      False positives admittedly can cause inconvenience and financial loss – maybe even cost jobs, tenancies and more – I’m not diminishing the cost.

      False negatives though – and there are also admitted to be a very high percentage of those – give a false sense of security and cause the “victims” of the error to continue to spread the virus thinking they’re “clear.”.
      That causes deaths.
      As good socialists we should always place life over loss.

      1. False negatives though – and there are also admitted to be a very high percentage of those

        By whom? And remind us again what the flu mortality figures are this year…

  3. The AstraZeneca Oxford British vaccine is not safe, which such an esteemed university as Oxford should have known, as it is made in the old way the rabies vaccine was done, which risks incurable multiple sclerosis, which government’s compensation cannot pay for, as is life time disabling and life limiting.

    Based as it is on Chimpanzee virus, when monkeys and apes hold many incurable diseases, and is where we got AIDs.
    Source UK official MS Society – AUTHOR Professor G
    Professor of Neurology, Barts & The London. MS & Preventive Neurology

    1. Grey Swans, I was interested so I just visited visited your excellent link.
      Clearly very far from the kind of ant-vaxx website touted by some other – apparently now disappeared – commenters.

      Unfortunately neither mousedoctor nor Prof G supported your claim that the “Oxford/AZ” vaccine was unsafe – a better synopsis of what they DID say would be that for people with MS or TM it MAY – EVENTUALLY – turn out to be contra-indicated.
      TWO CASES of Adenovirus as a cause of TM were referenced – from back in 2000.
      They cite MANY instances of GBS from Covid itself.
      There are also many instances in the literature of neurological issues being caused by coronaviruses, other respiratory tract infections and even bacterial infections.
      MS also appears to have multiple causes, including viral, bacterial and many vaccines.
      I learned all this in the last hour from your link – thanks for that. 🙂

      It appears to be possible, even likely, that many, maybe even all challenges to the immune system carry a risk of life-limiting complications – but it’s also believed that the immune system is compromised by not being challenged enough – by our modern, over-sterile home environments.

      Your comment is actually an extreme and alarmist simplification despite the two doctors I mentioned being very careful to avoid causing alarm.
      Please stop being part of the antivaxx problem.

  4. There many many more dangerous reactions in Britain today than the virus and Tory Britain is the main one.I carry a Epi pen so will not be taking any vaccine against C19Big pharma or Chinese \Russian either.I recognise the front line health worker needs to balance the probability of catching the virus like I did and found very unpleasant and simaliar to Dengue fever but with the extra breathing problems..ITs all very difficult but for me personally and my family we feel that from what little knowledge we have of life in Britain ,the real and present danger is The Tory party and the daily freedoms you will never get back as you are normalized to taking direct pcontrol of your everyday life,….but not as we know it….?Paroniad maybe,but we are still in control and will not enter Britain that sounds like a old sci fi movie on thought contol.Are your neighbours curtains twitching?….a re you are them allowed out?…Do you have a permit citizen?….Can we have your passport citizen?and you do realise that you cant leave and having no permanent address in the UK,we have a nice little camp for you next to the beach 🌴 in wales citizen.?You voted them in,now you enjoy your public schoolboys government and your titled Labour party ?I once said to an Afrikaner policman who asked me “do you have a permit mr for mixed gatherings(going to mass)I replied” were I come from we only have permits for dogs “That cost me a night in the Pretoria prison,and I didnt regret that answer ever.Thes Torys are what the Arikaner is to a black person….rampant fascists .

  5. Hi There are are always some sort of problem re vacs . But I had co 19 last March 23 admitted into ICU in a emergency… The senior Consultant greeted me with the words hi Ian we will put on a ventilator it may work it may not . If it does not you wont know much about it . You wont feel anything not a bad way to go. with that onto the ventilator I went. for 8 days. All I remember is that I dreamt that I was in another world . first on the south coast than in Worcester than in the Caribbean someware. Than on a ship carrying care from Wick to Colchester…… very strange. When I woke up I thought I was back home . Saw square ceiling tiles wondered why my wife had put them there. Then saw Drs nurses. and thought that my wife who is now retired anaesthetist had let the house out as a clinic.. I was still in ICU where I remained for 10 days. Then to rehab ward for anther 10 days . Went home on 24 April. Now ok. I am now 85 was 84 when I went into Hosp… I would not recommend it. It is strange. I was very fit for my age. Had never had any serious illness at ant time in my whole life. How I got Co19 I do not know. I was very complacent and felt nothing affects me I am very fit.
    But it got me.
    I am still very fit for my age. However maybe immune system was compromised in some way. I was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer last July. Had major op Sept2 . It cleared out all the cancer cells. But I now have to ware a bag. It is a small inconvenience. Now back to 30 min exercise 5 x a week. Cannot do the 30 press ups.
    Saw my personable surgeon 3 weeks ago . He said you do not look like a person who had a major op just 3 months ago .
    So please do not take this virus lightly. It can be very lethal. Particularly to my age group.
    Although I believe that it you look after yourself keep awy from large crowds take vit s have sensible diet eat lots of fruit exercise you will be less vulnerable.
    Nevertheless I am taking no chances so have had my first jab last week.
    I just hope that eventually this deadly virus will go away. And that 2021/2 will be much better for us all.
    For me 2020 was nearly a disaster.
    Bojo made a big song dance about being in hosp for 3 days .
    Yes he is much younger, but is full og guff and bla bla nonsense. He is the wrong person in the wrong job at the wrong time.
    If he had locked at the end of feb like he was advised than many of would not have been effected and indeed sadly died. Again failure to do the same last Sept. Failure to test and trace. This gov and Bojo have a lot to answer for.
    Stay safe take vits exercise eat sensible stay away from any crowds or large groups and most people will not have a problem.. Have vac do not take any chances with this Virus.

  6. IAN kemp…thanks for enlightrning all of us just how dangerous the virus is to the elderly and vulnerable and your reflections on hospitalization is helpful…I never got near the hospital as although they try their best,here in Cambodia the medical profession and treatment are limited due to the intelligentsia were first on the list for execution along with many other thinking people.after Pol pot and the insanity started to re..educate back to the year dot.I wish you all the best for a happy and peaceful Christmas and a better new year.

  7. Thanks Joseph…. Cambodia which visited over 26 yrs ago may have a better system than the UK who knows. I live just outside Maidstone which is a pretty smart part of Maidstone / Kent . Yet we are for some reason high on infections at the moment. I fear the chaotic Gov we have at the moment has not helped.
    Have a good new yr surely cannot be worse. Take care

  8. All the best, Ian.

    Meanwhile, the schools are staying open; no ifs, no buts…

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