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Vaccine is the surest way out of this crisis | Fight to save wildlife | Retail therapy is okay

·3-min read
 (Christian Adams)
(Christian Adams)

Vaccine is the surest way out of this crisis

A safe and effective vaccine is the surest route out of this pandemic. Without it, and the extraordinary efforts from scientists, doctors and patients, we could be stuck in 2020 forever.

It is therefore disconcerting to see the results of a recent poll, which found that a quarter of Londoners are unlikely to take the Covid-19 vaccine.

It is particularly worrying that the figure rises to 37 per cent among people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, who are more at risk of dying from the virus, according to studies.

Anti-vaccination sentiment has been exacerbated by the widely circulating conspiracy theories and online disinformation campaigns, designed to sow doubt among the public. The Government, health experts and community leaders must push back hard on these conspiracies.

The three vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford will not be given final approval unless proven safe. That they have arrived faster than previous vaccines is not because scientific or ethical corners have been cut, but because of the urgent public health crisis facing us.

Anti-vaccination sentiment is a danger not just to those who refuse immunisation, but to the whole community. The World Health Organisation lists “vaccine hesitancy” as one of the top 10 threats to global health, alongside climate change and HIV.

Such unfounded worries are nothing new. In 1998, a study by British doctor suggesting a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism was published in The Lancet. The study was subsequently widely discredited.

The MMR vaccine does not cause autism. Andrew Wakefield was struck off the medical register. But it led to a fall in MMR take-up and was linked to outbreaks of measles in the UK.

We therefore wholeheartedly join with health experts in saying that everyone who is offered the vaccine should take it, without fear.

Fight to save wildlife

Arise Sir Lewis. Today, seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has backed the Standard’s Stop The Illegal Wildlife Trade campaign, which raises funds alongside our sister title The Independent.

It is shocking that one in four elephants alive in 2007 has since been killed, most slaughtered for their ivory. The devastation of our natural world and illegal trade in wildlife is not only cruel and wrong, it makes pandemics like Covid-19 more likely.

Our campaign is working to spread awareness around the scale of the situation, change attitudes among consumers and raise funds to support conservation work.

You can donate at uk.gofundme.com/c/space-for-giants.

Retail therapy is okay

Happy Black Friday! A holiday marking the day after Thanksgiving, an American celebration that, thanks to the internet, we now celebrate in the UK by purchasing discounted goods.

But put the cynicism aside for this year. From independent shops to major players, many retailers have been hit hard by endless restrictions.

So if you spot a great deal, engage in a little retail therapy. And when lockdown is over, come out and support your local high street.