Shropshire Star comment: No alarm over vaccine trial halt

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

We ought not to be alarmed by the halting of a coronavirus vaccine trial. Such work is routinely beset with challenges and it’s perfectly normal that people occasionally fall ill as scientists work out how to combat Covid-19.


There has been much hope surrounding trials of a Covid-19 vaccine under development by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. In our rush to defeat the coronavirus, we frequently fall into the trap of being too presumptuous that everything will be okay. On occasions, it won’t.

Lest we forget, scientists are attempting to solve a problem that in the past might have taken years. They are charged with concluding their work in a matter of months. It is science at warp speed, an unprecedented response to an unprecedented problem.

The work already completed has been truly remarkable and the set back on the Oxford trial reminds us not to take for granted notions that there will be a silver bullet to end our coronavirus misery.

If and when a vaccine is found, and there remains much hope that one will be, it could be more than a year away, rather than before Christmas.

In the meantime, the false sense of security into which some were lulled during July and August is over. Boris Johnson told us that he would apply the brakes if the transmission rate went above 1.0 and that is the position in which we find ourselves. The Government must find the balance between protecting lives from the invidious disease while trying to keep the economy going. As schools and universities return and as the Government urges workers to get back to the office, the risks are higher than they have been since before lockdown.

The world class track and trace system that we were promised has failed to materialise and Health Secretary Matt Hancock has accepted failings at a time when we need it most. The young would appear to be most at risk as they disregard warnings to social distance. They are safe in the knowledge that they are among the least at risk, but complacent for not considering the effects that their actions could have on others.

As new measures come in, it is Now is the time to take stock and regain the mindset of ultimate caution as we approach winter. And if that means local lockdowns then so be it.


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