The data is in, and it is overwhelmingly positive:
— Public Health England (@PHE_uk) June 14, 2021
Pfizer and Moderna – the MRNA vaccines – provide 97% protection against hospitalisation. Astrazeneca, the more traditional vaccine, provides 93% protection against hospitalisation. In other words, if people are vaccinated, then (this part is going in bold, in case any politicians happen to read it) there is no threat to the health service from the Indian/Delta variant.
That is important because the point of the restrictions, the point of all that we have gone through over the past 18 months, was and is to protect the health service, and flatten the curve. Covid itself, if reduced to the status of mildly annoying, but not lethal, infection, by dint of the vaccines, is not a threat, or anything that requires shutdowns and lockdowns. So why aren’t we opening up fully today?
After all, while it is true that we have not reached a herd immunity threshold for vaccinations, it is true that in Ireland, those who are at the greatest risk of hospitalisation and death have been vaccinated, many of them have been vaccinated for months, in fact. If the objective is to protect the health service, then the mission has long since been accomplished.
Anyway, how do we explain this RTE headline, in the context of the figures above?
Dr Gabriel Scally said some Covid-19 variants are becoming more infectious and are slowly, but steadily, increasing their ability to "dodge" vaccines https://t.co/fMG8XOmMdx
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) June 14, 2021
It is not fake news, exactly, because it is true that Dr. Gabriel Scally said that some variants were in the process of escaping the vaccines. But his comments are entirely at odds with the actual data presented by Public Health England. What it is, though, is an editorial choice.
And once again, the editorial choice is to highlight the views of the ISAG/Zero Covid people, who have long since morphed from helpful outside commentators to extremist fringe who want to keep the country in lockdown in perpetuity. Their views are consistently presented to the public, by RTE, as unchallengeable fact, when in fact their views increasingly appear not to be based on science at all.
There is, after all, no other explanation for how Dr. Scally could be quoted raising fears about the efficacy of the vaccines on the very day we learn that they are, actually, more effective than hoped.
What RTE is doing, by virtue of that editorial choice, is misleading the public. People will read that headline and fear that the vaccine will not keep them, or their loved ones, safe from the Indian variant. They will believe, perhaps, that more restrictions are required, and that another deadly surge is just around the corner, because the virus has taken on a vaccine-busting form. And yet, none of that is true.
We do our best, here at Gript, to point these things out. But when the national broadcaster is engaging in this kind of abject misinformation, it is very hard to see how the country will be getting back to normal any time soon. Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, Nevada, they just don’t seem to share Ireland’s concerns about “the variants” at all. Go figure.
As a giant clock counted down to 12:01 Tuesday morning, crowds cheered as downtown Las Vegas reopened completely for the first time in more than a year, with live music and no mask or social distancing required https://t.co/JCan44pLOA pic.twitter.com/LcB7HZbURP
— CNN (@CNN) June 7, 2021