LAST week Guardian columnist Gaby Hinsliff (A Hard Lesson For Djokovic: Patience with vaccine sceptics is wearing thin) took a gleeful swipe at tennis star Novak Djokovic, who was initially denied the right to remain in Australia to defend his Australian Open title.
This was despite the world number one receiving an exemption from a review panel appointed by the state of Victoria’s Department of Health, which took into consideration Novak having previously been tested positive for asymptomatic Covid.
‘Few tears will be shed for the man now inevitably known as “Novaxx” Djokovic,’ opined Gaby, who has clearly never organised a tennis tournament.
She attacks the Serbian star for his ‘wacky beliefs’ such as ‘natural’ healing, as though natural immunity is a conspiracy theory, before equating him with the one rule for them, one rule for us elites of Downing Street, merely because he’s earned millions from being focused and talented. (A parallel piece in The Telegraph suggests they’re all still singing from the same hymn sheet).
But Djokovic isn’t trying to slip under the radar because he’s a millionaire. He isn’t trying to slip under the radar at all. Prior to the 2021 Australian Open, he quarantined as per the requirements of the Australian department of health. This year, having had Covid and therefore natural immunity, he applied for an exemption, which was granted. Djokovic’s only mistake was to travel to Australia during election year.
However, Gaby’s attack isn’t really on Djokovic, it’s on the unvaccinated in general: ‘Just over a month ago, I wrote about how the mood might harden as intensive care beds filled with patients realising too late that they should have got the jab, while restrictions once again loomed over people who had done what was asked of them.’
Sorry Gaby, but intensive care beds aren’t filling up with the unvaccinated. According to the latest technical briefing from UKHSA, Britain’s health security agency, emergency admissions up to December 29 consisted of 206 unvaccinated, 591 vaccinated and 18 unlinked.
As for restrictions once again looming over people who had done what was asked of them, more fool you for believing the Government. Three weeks to flatten the curve, a firm pledge to loosen restrictions once the vulnerable were jabbed, double-jabbed means fully jabbed – until you need a booster. When exactly are you going to catch on?
Like every other sloppy columnist with a ‘vaccine refusenik’ in their sights, Gaby clearly feels that as she unquestioningly followed the rules, so should everybody else, never stopping to ask who made the rules, why and to what end? History should have taught us that blindly following rules does not end well.
Vince Cable is another one who believes the unvaccinated are responsible for restrictions affecting everyone, sidestepping the latest UKHSA technical briefing to declare that the Covid circus is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. ‘The harm caused to society by the unvaccinated is partly that there is increased transmissibility,’ says Vince.
The UKHSA says otherwise, showing vaccine effectiveness against contracting the disease in all 18+ cohorts as a negative (the most extreme figure being minus 151.2 per cent in the 40-49 year-old cohort) which means you are more likely to catch the disease if vaccinated. If more catch it, more can spread it.
And let’s not forget the overburdened NHS, struggling to cope with a reduction in perfectly healthy staff who were sent home after testing positive using a lateral flow test that can find Covid in an orange.
The UKHSA, usually so reliable with a positive (if favourably skewed) spin on its own data, could manage only a crestfallen ‘among those who had received two doses of AstraZeneca, there was no effect against Omicron from 20 weeks after the second dose’. Oh dear.
Having dug himself into one hole, Vince – who is about as adept at statistics as he is at dancing – decides to dig himself an even bigger one, saying: ‘The most difficult objection is that there are distinct groups who have refused injection not as a result of laziness or bloody-mindedness, but because of widespread suspicion, based on experience, that the authorities are not to be trusted.’
Ignoring that something learned from experience is more than a suspicion, Vince goes on digging. ‘In the US, some black Americans cite the history of being used for scientific experiments (as to why they won’t get vaccinated) … but these arguments are wearing a little thin.’
Or to look at it another way Vince, perhaps being viewed as little more than a Petri dish by pharmaceutical companies and US governments alike for the best part of the 20th century is wearing a little thin for African Americans, or Guatemalans, or Africans.
Vince’s three options to deal with the unvaccinated in the UK (thankfully he had zero policy influence even when in office) are ‘compulsion through employment conditions; changes to rights of treatment under the NHS and a more comprehensive vaccine passport system’.
He does stop short of ‘refuseniks dragged away, held down and forcefully injected’, primarily because it’s impractical. A true Liberal.
Another Liberal (whilst at Cambridge at least) happy to inhabit the scientific wasteland of journalism is Matthew ‘How to wrongfoot an anti-vaxxer’ Parris, who trips over himself trying to prove in his Spectator article that those who choose not to be vaccinated against a disease with a survival rate of 99.98 per cent must be paranoid.
‘Mass paranoia is plainly a strand in the anti-vax movement,’ proclaims Matthew, whose Imperial College-worthy research includes a tale about a ‘lonely Arab boy’ who mistook a porch light for a death ray and one about a woman in Glasgow he has never met, whose neighbour believed someone was trying to poison the residents.
I wonder how he’d label those getting boosted against an Omicrom variant a third of the strength of the Delta strain, which is itself a twentieth of the strength of Alpha?
The Parris article is one of pure projection. He ‘cannot condone frightening people with stories that are not true’. Really? Then how about an article on wealthy Marxist pandemic adviser Susan Michie, or one on the government’s Nudge Unit, or the taxpayer millions thrown at PR companies such as 23red and MullenLowe, who are paid to frighten people into believing Covid is the new plague?
Parris’s claims that ‘viral ideas and beliefs’ fuel the ‘anti-vax rumour machine’ remain unsubstantiated, as he offers zero proof. Conversely, the unvaccinated have a plethora of government data from around the world to study.
Early data from Italy for example showed the average age of death from Covid was 84.1. In the UK, ‘deaths for any reason within 28 days of a Covid positive test’ in the healthy under-65 cohort – for the whole of 2020 – were 1,549. And on March 19 2020, both the Four Nations Public Health Group and The Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) were in agreement that Covid-19 need no longer be classified as an HCID – high consequence infectious disease.
But it isn’t just Cambridge graduates attacking the pro-choicers. Michael Deacon, in a particularly mean spirited piece in the Telegraph, singles out John O’Looney. He is he funeral director brave enough to speak out about the vaccine injuries he’s witnessed and the families who have opened up to him not only in regard to family members who died following the Covid jab, but also families of those who died with a Covid mention on the death certificate when their loved one clearly died of something else, like Alzheimer’s, cancer or a car crash.
Unlike O’Looney, Deacon does not attend autopsies of those who died with a suspected vaccine injury. Neither does Andrew Neil, who also claims those who choose not to get vaccinated do so through ‘fear, ignorance, irresponsibility or sheer stupidity’.
Or maybe they just studied government data or read autopsy report summaries of what the vaccines can do to the heart, lungs, liver and thyroid gland. ‘You can’t shout “fire!” in a crowded cinema if there is no fire,’ says Neil. But that is exactly what the Government did. And journalists either fell for it, or got paid to look the other way.
At least the ‘What Are We Going To Do With the Antivaxxers?’ pudding in Forbes magazine gets one thing right. ‘It is unacceptable,’ declares Enrique Dans ‘that millions of people, seemingly influenced by a small group of irresponsible idiots, have decided to endanger not only their own lives, but also the possibility of eradicating the pandemic’. Absolutely, Enrique. Here in the UK we refer to those idiots as the Government.
Thankfully, such rhetoric is already beginning to feel outdated. There is light at the end of the tunnel. ‘Mass population-based vaccination in the UK should now end,’ says Dr Clive Dix, former chairman of the UK’s vaccine task force.
Meanwwhile, Professor Angus Dalgleish, writing in the Mail points out that ‘the policy of obsessive Covid screening of the population using lateral flow tests has lurched into mass hysteria. Worse, it is tantamount to national self-harm’.
As Dr Steve James, the hospital anaesthetist who took on Sajid Javid over forced vaccination pointed out, there is no sense in a sustained boosting campaign when efficacy wanes after eight weeks and most will have been exposed to Covid by now.
But hold the front page. Researchers at Imperial College have now discovered the ‘Holy Grail’ of Covid resistance. News from the Telegraph heralds a ground-breaking study which found that – and I hope you’re sitting down – large numbers of Britons were already protected from coronavirus before the pandemic began because of previous exposure to common colds. Which is exactly what Mike Yeadon and every other sane scientist flagged up prior to the vaccine rollout, before being laughed out of town.
The net is tightening around the Johnson government. If Boris chooses to push forward with his NHS mandatory vaccination drive, come April 1, he could end up with 100,000 agitated NHS whistleblowers on his hands who now have a lot less to lose.
If he pulls back from mandatory vaccination for all NHS staff, he risks facing the wrath of both the sacked non-vaccinated care workers and those care workers forced to take the jab in order to keep their jobs.
And he will still have to answer to the millions (estimated prior immunity 30-50 per cent) of vaccinated who will surely want to know why they were hoodwinked into taking an experimental treatment when all along they could have been offered a T-cell test option which would have told them if they were even likely to develop Covid. Especially in light of the fact that the Johnson government invested taxpayer money in the very T-cell research that could have prevented any need for a jab – long before the vaccine rollout.
Whether or not Djokovic gets to defend his title, his greatest service yet may be worldwide publicity for basic common sense.
For here is a healthy, fit, intelligent 34-year-old sportsman with prior immunity who, having weighed up the odds of vaccine risk versus Covid risk, has maybe decided that taking an experimental treatment with zero long-term safety data and extremely concerning short-term safety data (especially amongst young, fit sportsmen) to ward off a much-weakened Omicron variant, defies logic.
Hinsliff, Cable, Parris and Neil meanwhile will no doubt continue to be guided by the voices coming out of the telly.