April 2021. Jealousy and the Jabberwocky.

Jealousy and the Jabberwocky.

What a ridiculous controversy this has all become. One vaccine being better than another seems nothing more than an indulgence carried out by politically motivated organisations within the European Union hell bent on causing as much damage as possible to the United Kingdom – well, almost as much as the SNP, who like a raged Westie finds itself hardly tall enough to jump up and nip the English knee. Of course, probably all medicines, even the ubiquitous Aspirin which can cause a side effect as dangerous as cerebral haemorrhage, have to be treated seriously. The information, neatly folded in the package, make a good read if you have a penchant for nightmares. Dare I say, it’s there to lay the blame at someone else’s door. Cosi è la vita. These observations should not pass scrutiny by the English public trammelled by a furtive virus and jaundiced Franco-Germanic envy. However, damage by these ciarlatani has seemingly done little to slow the UK success in new economic trading adventures and the hopefully ongoing protection of its citizens from contagion. Personally, on the matter of trade, I’m rather glad that the UK is once again looking to weld together the loosened bonds of the Commonwealth, not only because it’s a staggeringly large market of 2.5 billion people, dwarfing all 27 EU nations put together, but because it represents a family of different races where the jaundiced eye of prejudice and chauvinism are kept in check despite it being more a case of some, as my father said many years ago, learning to live with us rather than us learning to live with them. Hopefully, UK citizens abroad - vice versa - also appreciate the necessity of fitting in.

Meanwhile, we, as émigrés, have had to cope while Italy has been shuffling from Yellow to Orange to Red and back again in an attempt to mitigate a “catastrof’’, as a dear Dutch friend who knew Italy well used to say. I’m tempted to agree that things haven’t, apparently, changed much, but in the quarter of a century we’ve been here it appears that the nation is actually on something of a roller coaster, seeming to climb arduously to momentary success before rushing down to unexpected débaclê. The latter is where we are at the moment. Much has been made here of the successful UK vaccine roll out and the disastrous efforts of EU countries, unable by edict, to manage their own vaccination programme. The blame has been wholly placed on the Brussels bureaucracy, while our personal experience has been that given the tools, Tuscany at least, can do the job. Albeit, after a shaky start, we have at least received our first vaccination, though a continuation depends on the precarious supply of vaccine. Draghi will probably persuade his friends in Brussels to divert a batch to Italy from one of the lesser fry, but I’m not holding that out as a certainty. The whole fiasco makes the case for sovereign nations patently obvious.

In the UK, the arguments now seem to be all about the horror of vaccine passports! Heavens help us.  Being a ''Big-Brother'' moment, is quite obviously a ''red herring'', as no one in the UK has ever complained about the driving licence which gives the constabulary access to a great deal of knowledge about the recipient. This misleading fearmongering and bogus onslaught on civil liberties actually impairs a practical and simple method of delivering efficient health care to a nation. In the circumstances it doesn’t take a great deal of intelligence to realise that if you need to roll out a programme, such as this over Covid, then, as in Italy, every citizen should have, a ‘carta sanitaria’- a small plastic card, like the forementioned driving licence, with a code number on it. At the same time, every citizen generally signs up to a family doctor, with access to that code, as indeed, has every hospital and medical centre. Literally, they can sensibly trace past problems, diagnostic outcomes, medication and, if necessary, get in touch with you at a moments notice. This may seem intrusive but I can assure you, as it has been to me, an asset when push comes to shove and they wheel you into the Outpatients department. As a contemporary example, arranging a vaccine can be left to your doctor working in tandem with the local hospital. They will know your age and past medical history, leaving the computers to sort it all out for them. And also, you! Not that its universally worked that way in Italy due to the bureaucratic disarray, but it was heading in the right direction if only the provision of vaccines could have been properly organised. Something else that wasn’t handled with a great deal of nous. In the UK it seems you were asked to phone up and make an appointment, or alternately you might be contacted by the NHS, which undoubtably must have encouraged those with a positive attitude, but would leave the apathetic at risk, or a risk! At least, one supposes, it allowed the national roll out to be manageable.

Nevertheless, friends in Italy have reported that some older members of their family have been very reluctant, and in some cases downright obdurate, in refusing the AstraZeneca vaccine. You can almost certainly put this down to a pessimistic anxiety caused by Brussels approach to their bungled arrangements, and the subsequent blame game to obfuscate their error. The evidence that only 4 in 1,000,000 have a chance of developing a blood clot, and only 1 of actually dying from the problem seems to cut no ice. They’d scoff when you tell them they’re probably more at risk having a car accident. Apparently, there is no scientific evidence that vaccines actually cause blood clots, a fragment of blood hardening in the veins – a natural body mechanism that protects you from losing blood by clotting, which suggests that there’s a high chance that those who developed blood clots after being vaccinated would have developed them at some time anyway. Next time you scratch yourself, you’ll know the reason for the hard crust that forms on top. One interesting fact for us oldies is that blood clots, due to present vaccination research, show a consistent decline with age: 1.1 under 30 years of age, down to 0,2 under 70 (based on 100,000 people). Various other problems have become associated with these vaccines, having nothing to do with AstraZeneca – well, as far as I’m aware. “Zero Hedge” reports that “The Centre for Disease Control” in the USA have reported that following Covid vaccination, blood clots and other related disorders have been associated with the vaccines the USA are using: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. Just as an example: 678 cases of Bell’s Palsy have also been reported – 59%for Pfizer, 38% for Moderna and 4% for J&J. How strange that such headlines don’t seem to have appeared in the European media to frighten the public. It would seem that the sheer volume of vaccinations has thrown up all sorts of anomalies that were not apparent before.

As an overview, I believe many citizens have acted sensibly and have done fairly well so far in combatting the virus. A great deal of this is due to communication where important information has been shared despite the ongoing EU squabble, and, most importantly, a majority of people respecting other members of society, and the advice of their scientists. Long may it continue.  A tragically large number of souls have still been lost, but it falls into perspective when you consider that Bubonic Plague, also believed to have originated in China, caused the estimated death of up to 200 million people. Half of the European population died in its onslaught. Today a vaccine exists for Bubonic Plague, and the bacteria can be quickly mitigated with antibiotics. Therefore, we may well look back on COVID 19 and bless the speed of modern pharmaceutical research capabilities with gratitude.

So never fear. Go on. When the moment comes, treat yourself to a jab! It’s our “Vorpal sword”, and you’ll probably be protecting us all from the Jabberwocky.