It is great to have good news to celebrate and it is truly good news that the whole of Africa is now clear of polio. This is a triumph of immunisation. There are only two vaccination campaigns left needing to succeed (in Afghanistan and Pakistan) for polio transmission to have been eradicated globally. With that a virus that killed and paralysed thousands of BrItish children into the 1950’s and has impacted hundreds of thousands globally since, will have have been defeated.
This is a global effort but the UK can be proud of its role as a world leader in both vaccine development and ensuring that they are spread around the world: this year alone we hosted the Vaccine Alliance virtual conference and pledged support to ensure the vaccination of a further 75 million children.
Progress continues on vaccines for Covid 19. The Oxford Team has moved incredibly fast and is currently closest to securing a safe and effective vaccine. However safety and effectiveness are key: nothing can or should be released for use until all trials are successfully completed. This is frustrating but wholly necessary: we know what can be achieved by vaccination but for programmes to work both doctors and recipients must have complete confidence in the product.
While we all hope to secure the vaccine, in the meantime we all want to see life continuing to return safely as close as possible to normal. Nothing in life is risk free. However there is now very clear and supportive scientific backing to schools returning this September. I know many pupils and parents were very frustrated that more students could not return last term and I know how much work schools have put in to ensuring a safe return.
It may be an anxious few days as students, for many of whom it has been a long absence from the classroom, get back into their stride. However we all know how vital it is that they get back to learning in that environment and are grateful for the teachers and school staff preparing for teaching under the new conditions.
Photo Credit: “At the weekend Jeremy Quin called in on a Billingshurst table-top sale for Macmillan in which in a socially distanced way funds are still being raised for a great charity.”