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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Testing Times

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas JANUARY. 13, 2021

[165-365] 13th. January 2021- Our second car journey today, since the third lockdown started on New Year's Day. We have a new Click and Collect service available at our local supermarket so I tried it out last week and went for our second time today.

On the way we deposited our bottles at the bottle bank and right next to the bottle bank in the leisure centre car park is our local Covid testing centre. They were not very busy, no takers. I just took the photos for the historic record.

For some reason this lockdown seems worse than the first one. I suppose the first one had some novelty factor which is definitely wearing thin by now. That, together with the colder, wetter weather seems to be taking it's toll on every one we know. There is a general air of depression around. As a retired person who has not missed going to work one little bit, I actually found myself envying people who do have that excuse to leave the house at the moment.

The latest vaccination figures for the UK are nearly up to 2.5 million with the government target of 15 million by the middle of February. Currently we are vaccinating 145 thousand people a day with that rising fast as the new Oxford vaccine is rolled out to increasing numbers of small vaccination centres.

Back in July 2020 this was the headline.

UK has opted out of EU coronavirus vaccine programme, sources say. EU to invest €2bn on vaccines now being tested but UK officials say scheme benefits are ‘limited’. UK plan to shun EU vaccine scheme ‘unforgivable’, say critics.

In response to the UK government’s decision to walk away from the latest initiative, Munira Wilson, the Liberal Democrats’ health spokeswoman, said: “When coronavirus is such a threat to people’s lives and livelihoods, ministers should leave no stone unturned in their bid to end the pandemic.

“This government’s stubborn unwillingness to work with the European Union through the current crisis is unforgivable.

“The crisis does not stop at any national border. It is about time the prime minister started showing leadership, including fully participating in all EU efforts to secure critical medical supplies and a vaccine.”

Has anyone in the media interviewed Munira Wilson lately?

By December 2020 these were the headlines.

Botched EU scheme buys wrong Covid vaccines to please French – Europe lagging behind UK. After internal wrangling over how to please Paris, Eurocrats agreed to buy millions of doses of the French-made Sanofi jab that won’t be ready for approval before October 2021 after a significant production setback. As a result officials working on the Brussels-led procurement scheme shunned buying 200 million more doses of the German BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, despite evidence it is 95 percent effective against COVID-19. The European Commission was accused of prioritising EU unity over the health of the bloc’s some 450 million citizens.

By last Thursday Germany had vaccinated 477 thousand people.

But some of the hundreds of specially prepared vaccination centres are still not in use and even the government has admitted there simply isn't enough vaccine to go around. Angela Merkel and her health minister Jens Spahn have been accused of failing to secure enough doses. (BBC)

By last Friday France had vaccinated 45 thousand people.

Belgium where the first vaccine is actually produced.

The mass vaccination programme in Belgium began on 5 January, but has been criticised for starting slowly. Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke had promised in November that the rollout would be "seamless and fast", tweeting: "If that does not work, shoot me." The first phase looks to vaccinate up to 200,000 nursing home residents by the end of this month, or early February. (BBC)


Spain started administering the vaccine on 27 December. So far, 743,925 doses have been distributed to regional administrations, with 277,976 people vaccinated, according to the health ministry.

I haven't seen a single headline praising the British government for having the courage to go it alone. Of course it is early days yet and there's a long way to go.


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