Comment: Threatening the vaccine rollout for the sake of beach holidays seems like a spectacularly bad idea
In the depressing depths of winter, the vaccination of 90-year-old Margaret Keenan, the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer jab, was like a ray a sunshine, a cause for cautious optimism.
In those early days of the UK’s vaccine rollout, there was a lot of idealism about.
“Nobody is safe until everyone is safe,” was a common refrain from those who stressed the importance of equitable access to vaccines across the world.
Yet less than six months on, we’ve arrived at the all-too-predictable point of a world divided between those who have been vaccinated (or are about to be) and those who haven’t.
At this point it seems just plain wrong for Brits to be considering a foreign holiday while India deals with an unfolding humanitarian crisis.
Indeed, browsing the front pages of various newspapers over the past week, you’d be forgiven for thinking the pandemic is over
‘HOLS BOOST FOR BRITS’ will no doubt be welcome news for those for who consider a year without a trip to Spain as the very epitome of hardship.
But on the same day it emerged travel restrictions are likely to be eased in some parts of the EU in the coming months, India passed the grim milestone of 20 million COVID infections.
If things aren’t quickly brought under control, not only in India but a number of other countries seeing a worrying uptick in cases, we could be left with the frankly appalling situation where vaccinated travellers jet off across Europe as thousands continue to die gasping for breath in hospital waiting rooms elsewhere in the world.
But even putting aside the catastrophe in India, do we really need to go abroad this year?
Like everyone else, I would love a foreign holiday this summer.
The briefest of looks at the exorbitant prices being charged for hotels and cottage rentals elsewhere in Scotland underlines why, along with the guarantee of better weather, so many of us opt for a foreign holiday each summer.
But opening up for travel puts us all at risk.
Despite being given assurances about the safety of so-called travel corridors last summer, we were later told foreign trips had helped seed new variants in the UK.
While the vaccine rollout has given many millions of us better protection and reduced transmission rates, opening up for travel potentially increases the chance of Britain being exposed to new forms of the virus.
The Prime Minister is no doubt under heavy pressure from the tourism and airline sector (they’re probably texting right now).
But undermining the vaccine rollout so some of us can have a beach holiday seems like a spectacularly bad idea.
I won’t be going on a foreign holiday this year and, frankly, I think it’s crass to even consider it.
At a time where, globally, the pandemic is at its most deadly, we should not be signaling a return to normality for those of us lucky enough to have had our jab.
Anything that sets back our recovery or plunges the NHS back into the crisis we witnessed last winter would be simply unforgivable.