Letters: A resounding yes to vaccinating older people faster by working round the clock

·9-min read
Mary Heaword, 99, after receiving the Covid-19 vaccination at the Olympic Office Centre, Wembley - Yui Mok/PA Wire
Mary Heaword, 99, after receiving the Covid-19 vaccination at the Olympic Office Centre, Wembley - Yui Mok/PA Wire

SIR – No one has asked me if I would like a vaccination during the night. I am 76 and my husband is 77. We would go at any time to be vaccinated, as long as it was reasonably local.

Valerie Thompson
West Horsley, Surrey

SIR – Most people at some time in their lives have got up at an ungodly hour to catch a cheap flight. The same criteria must surely apply to a vaccine that will enable normality to return.

Management consultants who reach a different conclusion are asking the wrong question, or the wrong people.

Victoria Cockburn
Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire

SIR – Have received my vaccination appointment. Am planning my outfit.

Katie Buddell
Fetcham, Surrey

SIR – Almost two years ago, the spire of Salisbury Cathedral was claimed to have attracted two Russian Novichok travellers to the city.

How appropriate that the spire is now a beacon of hope over one of our nation’s new mass-vaccination centres.

Geoffrey Taylor
Salisbury, Wiltshire

SIR – I’m 75 and received a phone call on Sunday at 12.20pm inviting me for a vaccination at 1.45. I accepted and asked if my younger wife could also have one at the same time. We were home again by 2.10.

Many thanks to all.

Kit Slade
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

SIR – The figure of 140 vaccinations per minute that the NHS is achieving has been described as “mind boggling”. I beg to differ. In fact it is very poor.

If this rate of vaccinating was to be maintained 24/7 then the target of 15 million would not be met until the middle of March.

James Sutherland
Port Glasgow, Renfrewshire

SIR – I listened with increasing anxiety yesterday to Nadhim Zahawi, the minister charged with Covid vaccine deployment, heralding the proposed increased rollout programme.

It is clear, from the many qualifications he applied to the plans, that distribution of the vaccine is a problem that is not being solved. Some areas get adequate vaccine supplies while many do not. This leads to the frustration that numerous people are wrongly aiming at their GPs.

Brian Higgins
Eastbourne, East Sussex

SIR – The first minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, has explained his policy of not vaccinating vulnerable groups too quickly: “The sensible thing to do is use the vaccine you have got over the period that you have got it for, so your system can absorb it. You don’t have people standing about with nothing to do.”

Surely the vaccine has no value until it is inside a human body. The objective is not a job-creation scheme for staff doing the work. They have mostly been diverted from other medical work, also important. Is this why Welsh vaccination rates are so abysmally slow?

Chris James
Abergele, Conwy

SIR – For my 85-year-old mother to accept her invitation to be vaccinated would mean a 120-mile round trip. This is not practicable, given her needs. However, because she has had the invitation, she is now included in government data for those offered the vaccine.

Chris Beesley

SIR – I am delighted to hear that the over-70s are now beginning to be offered vaccinations.

My wife belongs to the over-80s group, and I to the over-90s, and we have yet to hear about vaccinations. Have we been forgotten?

Kyriacos Kaye
Telford, Shropshire

A horse at the border

SIR – I have read and listened to reports this year of border delays being blamed on the British Government.

In my very small sphere as an official veterinarian for the export of equids, I undertook my first export certification this year of a horse going to France, travelling to Holland then being flown to the United States.

I was aware of the extra health certification now for horses going to the EU and prepared to assist in all ways possible. But there is regulation and then there is bureaucracy to slow things up purposely and – dare I say it? – to punish Britain for leaving the bloc. This is all done under the banner of equine welfare and disease control.

I signed the multiple health certificates 110 times – mainly to declare that the horse showed no signs of diseases which hadn’t been seen in Britain for 100 years, or diseases much more prevalent in Europe – only to be told 24 hours later that the French authorities required two more signatures.

I could imagine the same scenario for each lobster being shipped from Stonehaven to Paris, with the British Government getting the blame.

C R McEwen
Swindon, Wiltshire

Stuck in a chain

SIR – Wanting to move house, we have been in a chain of six since September last year. The original completion date was set for October 15 last year.

The reason for delay is the amateur conveyancing by unqualified people who, due to the pandemic, have decided to advertise their service at rates undercutting qualified solicitors.

This important legal process needs to be carried out by registered conveyancing firms, not individuals following the DIY process.

Our qualified solicitor is annoyed and frustrated by the amateurs' incompetence because it reflects back on him.

Michael Marks
Llandrindod Wells, Radnorshire

White spirit

SIR – In order to maintain equality, will Greene King (Letters, January 18) now rename all its “white” pubs – White Swan, White Bear, etc?

Maurice Burbidge
Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex

SIR – Will the Brown Trout remain unchallenged?

Simon Mcilroy
Croydon, Surrey

No essential transport

SIR – How much does this Government really value frontline medical staff?

My daughter, who is working punishingly long shifts in a London hospital, often now has to wait an hour in a freezing mainline station to get home, thanks to the decision to provide just one train per hour instead of three.

For our lauded and applauded NHS workers, this is extremely unhelpful.

Emma Isworth
Tenterden, Kent

SIR – I agree with Patrick O’Flynn.

We have three sons living at home. They are 25, 23 and 20 and are conscientious individuals with much to offer and enormous energy. Job interviews have been on Zoom and communication between interviews not great. Our youngest, who is in his second year at university, has just two hours of online teaching a week.

Young people are the ones who are desperate to work their socks off and get this country back on its feet. We forget them at our peril.

Lady Quilter
Yoxford, Suffolk

Customer write-off

SIR – My experience is the opposite to that of John Smallwood (Letters, January 16), who found that a letter to a supplier received attention. I also write letters to suppliers, organisations and museums, but only 10 to 15 per cent of them reply. The rest are downright rude in not even replying by email.

James Ruddock-Broyd
Witney, Oxfordshire

Trombone practice

SIR – I was saddened to read of the potential demise of brass bands because of Covid.

For brass players having problems practising because they live in flats or have adjoining neighbours, the use of a mute considerably reduces volume.

Janet Newis
Sidcup, Kent

The shanty test

SIR – Our son, when aged just five, brought home his first school report. On all subjects he was found lacking. However, the headmaster wrote: “Giles has a very fine repertoire of sea shanties” (Letters, January 15). It was the most positive report he ever had.

Sue Palmer
Nether Wallop, Hampshire

A tall tale of Nelson and the drunken sailors

Nelson’s funeral barge rowed from Greenwich to Whitehall: a painting on glass (1806) - Corbis via Getty Images
Nelson’s funeral barge rowed from Greenwich to Whitehall: a painting on glass (1806) - Corbis via Getty Images

SIR – Edward K Stephenson (Letters, January 16) is, sadly, completely accurate in his description of the carriage of Lord Nelson’s body from Trafalgar to England.

I say sadly, because it has also been claimed by generations of matelots that the topsail schooner HMS Pickle (10 guns) carried him home in a cask of brandy that was tapped by the crew, whose state of advanced intoxication was observed at Falmouth, giving rise to the expression “pickled”.

Pickle was at the battle, and she did indeed make the dash from Trafalgar to Falmouth with news of the great victory and the tragic death. Moreover, her captain did ride what is now the Trafalgar Way to London with dispatches. However, neither brandy nor any other spirit was imbibed – apart from the customary tots.

Stephen Pound
London W7

SIR – I find it surprisingly satisfying that, in these days of doom and gloom, someone should care about what kind of alcohol was used to preserve the body of Lord Nelson.

Susan Coe

Why it takes a detective to avoid Chinese goods

SIR – If you are going to limit your purchases from China (Letters, January 18), you have to be determined.

We found that nearly all the suppliers of household shutters used Chinese-sourced products, and it took a lot of internet searching to find a small outfit in Northern Ireland (which also charged a premium price).

Meanwhile, when we asked a local furniture shop where the sofas (all with Italianate names) had been made, the answer was “East Asia” – so it took another question to get to China.

We need to get back to enforcing country-of-origin labelling, and fostering pride in buying British.

Ian Preston
Brookmans Park, Hertfordshire

SIR – Trying to buy women’s accessories for Christmas presents, I was disappointed to find that the only gloves, scarves and costume jewellery available in M&S were made in China or Myanmar. I emailed M&S, which apologised and said my comments had been passed on to buyers. I encourage others to speak up.

Andrew Saxton
Kettering, Northamptonshire

SIR – It is not just manufactured goods that are produced in China. We have heard much about the harmful effect on the environment of salmon farms, and the antibiotics and pesticides added to the feed of farmed fish.

Wild Pacific or Alaskan salmon, caught with nets in the ocean, appear to offer an ethical alternative. However, the small print on the frozen packets in our largest supermarkets reveals that, while such fish are indeed caught in the ocean, they are often processed and packed in China.

Nick Cowley
Nuthurst, West Sussex

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