Last week saw the start of the first human trials globally for a Covid vaccine. It has been developed by a team of scientists from Oxford. For them to take such a step so quickly – the virus was only isolated some 3 months ago - is a truly remarkable achievement.
The UK team with contributions from several other of our leading academic institutions has been able to act so swiftly in part due to established working practices and ongoing focus and investment since 2009 when discussions were initially held on Swine Flu.
Whilst this is positive news and those working on the vaccine (and those volunteering for the trials to help beat this dreadful virus) all deserve our admiration and thanks, it is important not to assume this will definitely be the answer. No vaccine can be guaranteed to succeed. There are however, fortunately, many vaccine projects ongoing globally, indeed we have also contributed financially to support promising projects overseas. We can be proud of the work of our scientists but they would be the first to say that what we want is a successful outcome, from wherever it comes. This will however take time and no vaccine can be utilised until it is probably trialled and fully assessed.
Another area where we can be very impressed is the swiftness with which the NHS massively expanded critical care capacity. The nightmare faced by other excellent, developed health services of running out of capacity has not been repeated here.
The NHS is maintaining life-saving operations in hospitals kept completely clean of Covid. It is also is expert at keeping Covid and non-Covid patients safely apart when using the same site.
What is concerning the doctors is a 50% drop in suspected heart attack admissions since Coronavirus began.
The NHS, locally and nationally, has spare critical capacity and is there for everyone. I would encourage anyone who believes they require urgent care to please immediately seek the medical support you need. We do not want to beat Covid to find we have missed life threatening illnesses which the NHS can treat which huge success – and wants to do so.
Photo Credit: Happier times - a photo from this week last year when Scouts from across the District paraded to Carfax to mark St George’s Day.