Number of Inoculations in a Week Heralded
The government announced this week that they had administered 138,000 Covid vaccinations in one week. To be fair, they are just getting started so that number should move up. The US Centres for Disease Control by comparison, is projecting 7 to 10 million people receiving the vaccine. Taken on its face. The UK rate of 138,000 compared to the US is pathetic. The media loves to compare raw data and ignore population size difference, so let’s be fairer. If we agree that the US population is roughly 5 times that of the UK, our rate of inoculation adjusted for the US population would be 685,000 per week. Roughly one-twelfth of the US rate. At our current rate of inoculation, it will take 14 years to administer a two-part Pfizer jab.
Let’s define our variables. Total UK population is 68 million. Roughly 16 million Brits are 17 or younger. That group will not initially receive the vaccine. Which leaves us with 52 million people who need the vaccine. Again, let’s keep this simple. It will take 377 weeks to administer fully the first of two inoculations needed for the Pfizer vaccine if it is to be effective.
If we translate that to years? More than seven to administer the first half of the Pfizer vaccine to the entire population. 14 years to complete the task. Let’s say the University of Oxford’s one-part vaccine is approved. Currently, there has been little news surrounding where it might stand other than positive sound bites from the company. For argument’s sake, let’s say it does. People will only need one jab, and let’s also assume we are able to quadruple our jabs per week. We are down to 94 weeks to complete inoculating everyone above the age of 17. Just shy of two years.
Hold on I hear people say. What about all those Pfizer folks that have already had a jab? They haven’t gone away. In fact, those who need the second jab will be at the front of the queue. It’s reasonable to assume it could take a month or two to work through that backlog if the Oxford vaccine became available today. Without a 30-day booster, the recipients of the first Pfizer jab start all over again. Either way, they are still in the count.
It is unlikely that the NHS will have the internal capability to significantly increase the rate of patient flow related to administering the jab in the near term. They have few options that would allow that to happen which don’t require putting others in their care lives at risk. The NHS could do a number of things to free up capability to administer more jabs. They can ignore those presenting at A&E. They could cancel needed operations. Delay diagnostics for potential cancer patients and others with life-threatening conditions. There is any number of variables. All of them translates into pain, suffering and potential death for those they should be caring for.
In another post, I outlined a very effective way to administer the vaccine and free up the NHS to care for the patients who need it. If we don’t address this problem now, it is very likely we will still be talking about ways to get out from under the pandemic a year from now. Also, thousands will die needlessly, businesses will continue to close and we will have buried ourselves in a mountain of personal and national debt.
The elephant in the room is how long will the jab be good for? Even scientists don’t know the answer to that question. What if we have to start all over again in six months?