#vaccineprogram#Holidays in the Sun; 'claustrophobia, there's too much paranoia!'
Updated: Jul 3, 2021
Holidays in the Sun: the benefits of sterilising immunity
This essay is designed to critically analyse the UK State’s positioning on its own successful vaccine program, our freedom to travel abroad, and the media response to the so-called ‘traffic light’ system. The freedom to go abroad on holiday might seem a shallow and selfish desire, and to write about it banal. However, the success of the vaccine program means much more in terms of our escape from the contradictory policies of the government and the endless self-aggrandizement of the media in its incessant critique of our political class’s failure, and paradoxically, and thus hypocritically, its support of selected policies it approves of. Ironically, the one shining light of the government’s management of the pandemic in the UK is in fact the vaccine program.
So successful has it been that even in the face of the Delta variant[i], ‘sterilising immunity’ is apparently taking hold in the community. This can be defined simply as the number of people who are double-vaccinated being great enough to start to create herd immunity: transmission greatly reduces. However more importantly, it also refers to the neutralising antibodies (NABs) that the vaccine creates in the body, potentially in the nasal passages and the back of the throat: this then becomes the body’s ability to sterilise the Covid-19 pathogen; to neutralise the spike protein of SARS-COV-2 on contact. Studies have shown the American Moderna vaccine may at least do this, and NABs are created in the body by all the vaccines, regardless[ii].
Sterilising the government and media alike
This essay argues therefore, that if this process continues, and scientists produce a vaccine producing the optimum number of NABs we will be immune not only to the virus but to government fiats and, the moralising censure of the assorted British media and press; I argued in my last essay that we need to free ourselves from the daily existential crisis foist upon us by the State and the media. Neutralising antibodies and the notion of ‘sterilising immunity’ then, become metaphors for our freedom. Control over what we do and where we go will be a matter for us, not the government and certainly not the media pundits. This sentiment is perhaps summed up by the facetious lyrics of the Sex Pistols song, ‘Holidays in the Sun’, which to paraphrase some read, ‘Cheap holidays in other people’s misery. Don’t want a holiday in the sun, I want to go to the new Belsen, I want to see some history, because now I’ve got a reasonable economy – now I’ve got a reason, and I’m still waiting – the Berlin Wall... ...’. This is where the title of this essay is taken from and it argues most people do genuinely want a holiday in the sun, but are becoming as equally cynical and scathing, as the Sex Pistols were about the state of depression racked late 1970s Britain, and the tortuous monotony of the Cold War.
The Psychological-Deception of Immunity
Indeed, the myriad failures of the State and the political misjudgement of the crisis coupled with pandemic and lockdown fatigue have created another type of sterilising immunity – people are becoming immune, either because of lockdown fatigue, or because they misunderstand the new rules on social distancing; there have been many government ‘trials’[iii] at sporting events, (and despite the Delta variant advancing rapidly on us), so one might be forgiven for thinking the pandemic is all but over. And indeed, the pandemic is in fact all but over, as arguably people rationalise and silently internalise the daily threat of death and weigh up the risks of abandoning the remaining lockdown restrictions, even before the official government permission to do so is announced. The failures of the State seem to pale into insignificance as we let down our guard, however they are worth reviewing in brief, which the conclusion to this essay will do.
No immunity from political machinations
In fact, it is not only the UK government and complicit media that might prevent our holidays, but the German Chancellor, Mrs Merkel, who thinks it a good idea that UK tourists quarantine for 14 days on arrival at any European destination. Surely this can’t be taken at face value for the following reasons: first, despite our rising Delta infection rate; the variant formerly known by the title ‘Indian’ has spread in Europe due to contact with infections arriving directly there, not from the UK alone. Secondly, in light of the argument over Article 16 and Northern Ireland, and the involvement of Mr Macron (who unfairly and incorrectly criticised the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine as ineffective for political reasons), it is likely this is a political move; obviously no British tourist is going to book a two week holiday simply to spend it locked in a hotel room.
We all remember the attempts to disrupt the importation of our vaccines made on the continent, as the EU realised their own vaccine program was hopelessly behind those of other countries’, particularly the UK’s; again like the current row over sausages and other cold-meats, the EU threatened to weaponise Northern Ireland[iv], whose borders they claimed to be sacrosanct in the Brexit negotiations. Politics at its worst then and doubtless Germany’s defeat by England at Wembley will only encourage more of the same, given the immaturity of the political classes these days.
The Failure of Government
The myriad failures of the State in managing the pandemic at the outset include: the failure (ongoing) to set up an efficient track and trace system to which people adhere to; the lack of PPE; the failure to protect NHS workers; the failure to recognise the importance of face-masks in preventing transmission early enough, despite the overwhelming evidence from countries with experience of past coronavirus outbreaks and WHO advice; the care home scandal; the failure to lockdown early enough when faced with the second wave of the virus last autumn and winter, the recent resignation of Matt Hancock[v] in the face of his hypocrisy, chronic lack of judgement and cronyism; and of course the failure to prevent flights from India arriving once it was clearly established there was in fact a highly transmissible variant on its way to our shores.
Is the final nail in the coffin the failure to recognise the danger we are all in from the Delta variant?: media celeb’ doctors tell us holidays are morally indefensible, even with a double jab (which the government are proposing would allow travel to Amber list countries without self-isolation on return; presumably making these green list countries) because it would penalise the young - who have allegedly done the hard yards for the elderly in this pandemic. And this while paradoxically saying it will be individual choice on whether to wear a face mask when restrictions are finally lifted. This despite the transmissibility of the Delta variant – after all, it now transpires we’ll all probably require a booster vaccine in the Autumn - are they serious about lifting restrictions in July you might well ask? Why not have a holiday in the sun to escape the contradiction, hypocrisy, and just sheer lunacy of the government and the media alike; and, while we can still all breathe. Finally, and in echoing the concluding lyric of the Sex Pistol's song, a plea to politics and media when we return from our holidays: 'please don't be waiting for me!'.
https://patient.info/news-and-features/why-lockdown-is-making-us-feel-exhausted https://www.channel4.com/news/merkel-could-be-prepared-to-pay-eu-countries-to-quarantine-british-tourists-german-mp-says https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/britain-wants-allow-people-travel-again-minister-says-2021-06-24/
[i]https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01696-3 [ii]https://www.verywellhealth.com/covid-19-vaccines-and-sterilizing-immunity-5092148 [iii]https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-pilot-events-to-pave-way-for-larger-audiences-at-sport-theatre-and-gigs-this-summer [iv]https://social-epistemology.com/in-and-beyond-the-era-of-covid-19/#anarchy [v]https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-57631547