Should celebrities and politicians be shoved to the front of the vaccination queue?

Ooh! Ructions in Poland. Some celebrities and politicians there were given the Covid vaccine, despite being neither vulnerable nor front-line workers.

By Tony Gillan
Monday, 11th January 2021, 10:13 am

Polish outrage at certain people becoming even more privileged is genuine and understandable. It would be replicated in the UK if we followed suit. Yet…

Somebody, somewhere, like an inverted lottery winner, may react badly to the vaccine. However, medical experts (real ones) put the chances of serious side effects at about one in 25,000, with the chances of life-threatening side effects at one in a million. Bad news for one in a million, otherwise job’s a good ‘un.

However, to achieve the coveted herd immunity requires possibly a 70% take-up of the vaccine: about 46 million UK citizens. Therein lies the problem.

Would it encourage vaccine doubters if public figures were pushed to the front of the queue?

Many people don’t want it. This may be due to understandable caution; or because they are gullible social media users who do their own research” and take medical advice from attention seekers on YouTube.

Choices should be respected and forced vaccination would set a dangerous precedent. So some reassurance might be helpful. If, say, 100 high-profile people could be televised receiving the jab, the encouragement could be worth the opprobrium seen in Poland.

This would mean injections for cross-party politicians, royalty, showbiz types, sporty types, etc: preferably appealing to a wide age range.

(We note the Queen and Prince Philip have now had theirs, owing to their age bracket – ed)

Famous oldies such as Tom Jones and Joan Bakewell have already been jabbed without regret. David Attenborough and Paul McCartney are keen to have it.

But if the likes of Lewis Capaldi, Adele, Sooty and entertainers with huge Twitter followings (whom the likes of your columnist usually hasn’t heard of) also set an example, it could ultimately benefit everyone.

It’s hard to quibble with those who couldn’t give a hoot what politicians, royalty and celebrities say or do.

Televised vaccination will also fail to satisfy conspiracy oddballs who would inevitably claim (without foundation, as always) that the public figures involved had received placebos.

It’s impossible to convince everyone. After all, the people who received the first smallpox vaccines in 1798 have, without exception, since died. Still, we’re obliged to point out, yet again, that thalidomide was not a vaccine.

Nevertheless, would celebrity vaxing be worth trying to persuade thousands, perhaps millions of people who harbour doubts? Or would we merely be indulging entitled queue jumpers? Your thoughts please.

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