In another few days it’s officially spring and it’s already light until 8PM, perfect for and evening stroll along the shore to the pub. The mountains are still topped with fresh snow and the air is brisk but the trees are budding and the daffodils are out. Are we going to best this pandemic this year and will we be able to go to concerts and foot ball matches?  I could see my friend Campbell already seated at the window by the sea and I had a question ready for him. ‘Camp, did you know that we’re all part of a massive stage three trial for these vaccines?’

            ‘How do you figure that?’ 

            ‘Prior to this pandemic it usually took up to ten years to receive regulatory approval for a vaccine. The fast rollout of these covid-vaccines is basically an extension of the phase three trials. This means that we’re lacking info, statistics and peer reviews.’

            ‘But everybody wants these vaccines in their systems as fast as possible to hopefully stop this virus from spreading. Also, there is a question about the duration of immunity these vaccines confer. We only have a few months worth of data and therefore don’t really know. If vaccine immunity declines before ‘herd immunity’ is achieved, vaccinated individuals could become infected again. 

            ‘Looks like we have to live with this virus and it’s variants for a long time and every year we’ll have to get another shot just like the flu vaccines, to avoid catching the latest mutation, until there is a universal corona vaccine, probably years down the road.’

            ‘I guess the good news is that most people are not at risk to becoming severely ill from covid-19 and already a large part of the population has developed natural immunity; those who recovered and those who never knew they had it. The vaccinations will further bolster the herd resilience.’ 

            ‘It’s been a harsh year for many: isolation, job losses, business closures, mental health issues, increased drug overdoses and suicide. All collateral consequences of the pandemic. I can’t wait for it to be over. Hopefully before the next one arrives.’

            ‘Bottom line for me is: give me any vaccine that has a chance of reducing my risk of getting and spreading covid-19. Give me the cocktail of all vaccines combined. I’m good with that. I go by the maxim: better to have and not need than to need and not have. Even if these vaccines reduce the severity of illness and the death rate, it’s well worth it.’

            ‘And like electric cars, the vaccines will just get better over time.’

            ‘I think you’re right. Of course, we would all like to have natural immunity and I’m sure a lot of us already have that but we lack the data.’

            ‘I expect the vaccines will help to make it much safer to travel and congregate again,’ Camp said, ‘and what do you think about a vaccine passport, VP’s?’ 

            ‘I’m fine with those and all international travellers should have them,’ I said. I used to need a vaccination certificate to travel anywhere. Mine was blue and every vaccine was recorded with a date and official stamp: Yellow fever, typhoid, small pox, polio etc. We had to show them when entering countries like India or Iran.’

            ‘It was a good idea then and it is a good idea now,’ Camp said, finishing his first pint.

            We were both waiting for Vicky to pop by with our refills but apparently, she was off today. I was able to get Rosie’s attention eventually.

            ‘Would you two like another one,’ she asked. I thought the question was rhetorical and just smiled at her. ‘Long time no see,’ I said. 

            ‘Yes, it’s been a long winter and I think I had the virus. I had all the symptoms and just stayed home.’

            ‘Did you get tested?’

            ‘No, they just told me to isolate until I felt better. I’m as right as rain now. It was no worse than the flu. Two pints coming right up,’

            ‘I hope she is right. I wish we had these quick tests,’ Camp said.

            ‘As long as we can taste the beer, we’re alright.’

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