On Monday, both France and Germany chose to follow a number of other major European nations in suspending AstraZeneca jabs over blood clot fears. This decision was the latest crisis to hit the EU’s already chaotic vaccination drive.
Back in the UK, Government sources have said it is likely that a review will take place in regard to the role of Sage over the course of pandemic. The review would commence once the pandemic is declared over and would be expected to scrutinise the body and decide whether such a group should hold so much power.
Read on for what our readers had to say about these topics and more of the biggest discussion points of the week.
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Anne-Elisabeth Moutet assessed the consequences of being left behind in the race to roll out the vaccine, including in the polls, for Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron. Our readers expressed their despair at the decisions made by the two leaders, arguing they could ultimately be putting more lives at risk.
‘It is so depressing to watch’
“I wonder what the scientists at Oxford and the bosses of AstraZeneca (which is the only company distributing a Covid vaccine at cost) really make of all this.
“Their work will save hundreds of thousands of lives – perhaps millions – with little to show for it and yet they are constantly slandered. Meanwhile the other vaccine makers are laughing all the way to the bank.
“It is so depressing to watch. Those leaders who are more interested in scoring political points than protecting their own people should hang their heads in shame. I give up.”
‘I hope the EU will send the unused AstraZeneca vaccines to the UK’
“I hope the EU will send the unused AstraZeneca vaccines to the UK or if that is unacceptable – for obvious reasons – then send the vaccines to Africa.
“The EU Commission’s reputation for reliability, efficiency, effectiveness, morality and integrity is shot. The reputations of Macron and Merkel are tumbling with it.”
‘They have a lot to answer for’
“The most worrying aspect is that people in this country are failing to turn up if they are having the AstraZeneca vaccine or creating havoc by insisting on the Pfizer jab. They have a lot to answer for.
“This is an inevitable consequence of this political game. It is very dangerous and stupid.”
Government insiders admitted that they “bowed to” Sage too often, rather than appointing a team whose specific purpose was to challenge its advice. Readers emphasised their belief that the Government only has itself to blame for allowing Sage the power it currently has.
‘They don’t understand the complexities of everyday life’
“There is a reason why scientists must not be allowed this level of power, they don’t understand the complexities of everyday life and they see everything through the prism of their chosen field.
“Lockdowns might get the numbers down on a graph but it completely ignores the massive damage they do to other parts of society and the economy.
“Lockdowns are essentially like setting fire to your face to get rid of a bit of acne.”
‘Half the country has been banging on about this’
“Half the country has been banging on about this and only now are questions being asked as to the power of this politically motivated quango Sage and the enormous influence it has on the likes of Johnson, Hancock etc.
“Sage is crippling society as we know it, they have not taken into account the overall human cost in their blinkered assault on Covid-19. Some might even say they don’t care as it does not affect them in any way.”
At the start of the week, Miranda Levy joined readers in the comments section of her article on vaccine side effects. Levy, who had her first jab at the end of February, discussed why different people are experiencing differing side effects after receiving the vaccine. Our readers chipped in with their own post-vaccination revelations.
‘I’d rather a week of side effects from the vaccine than Covid-19 itself’
“I was fine for 24 hours after the AstraZeneca jab, then had fatigue, chills, aching limbs and a headache. The side effects lasted seven days, with the fatigue being the worst aspect.
“However, at 66, I’d far rather have a week of side effects from the vaccine than Covid-19 itself.”
‘It is important that people are fully informed before giving consent’
“My reaction to the AstraZeneca vaccine was so severe that I have been advised by a doctor not to have the second dose.
“We certainly do need an honest conversation about the vaccines because it is important that people are fully informed before giving consent.”
‘It’s better than the alternative’
“When we had our first dose of AstraZeneca at the local Pharmacy, we were told to drink plenty of water before going to bed. The next day I had slightly achy joints and between us we drove 200 miles to a funeral and back.
“We are both in our 60s. We have no complaints. It’s better than the alternative!”
Eddie Jones’ broad grin after England’s win said it all – he may as well have stuck two fingers up at critics
Following England’s impressive Six Nations victory over France, Brian Moore explained why the result was vindication for head coach Eddie Jones. Many of our readers, still on a high from the result, offered their praise for the boss.
‘Eddie Jones is one of the best’
“Eddie Jones is one of the best, if not the best, coach in world rugby and it’s going to be fascinating to watch him build England’s World Cup game over the next two years.
“Lots of dull criticism on here, but the article points out why the side was rusty for the first game of the Six Nations and but for a dreadful refereeing performance in Cardiff, they would have been in the mix for another championship next weekend.”
‘I’m very happy he proved me wrong at the weekend’
“I find it very sad when some England ‘supporters’ want England to lose just so that they can be proved to know more about rugby than the coach. It’s bizarre and selfish.
“I think Eddie makes some odd decisions and I get frustrated with his stubborn selections but I want him to prove me wrong because I want the team to win. I’m very happy he proved me wrong at the weekend!”
‘The Saracens contingent were immense’
“At last – recognition of the hand Eddie was dealt due to the punishment dished out to the Saracen’s brigade.
“There will be some who would take the opportunity of proposing the solution of blooding others rather than continue with the ‘untouchables’ but such a proposition would probably stem from those who dislike Saracens.
“On Saturday, the Saracens contingent were immense and none more so than the much-maligned England Captain, Owen Farrell; his performance was simply amazing.”
Tom Fordy paid tribute to Drop the Dead Donkey this week, a comedy show from the 90s which offered a unique mix of office humor and topical jokes. Readers reminisced on some of their favourite moments from the show, while making comparisons to the topical programmes which we find on our screens today.
‘Comedy, satire, topical news all in one show’
“Thank you for brightening up my day with wonderful memories of this very funny show. Comedy, satire, topical news all in one show. And what have we had recently? Mock the Week, Have I Got News for You and the Mash Report!
“The talent is still out there to make very funny TV, but nobody seems to be brave enough to commission it.”
‘The superb acting of Robert Duncan and David Swift made it for me’
“I remember really enjoying this show at the time. A bit smug sometimes sure, and pretty frantic but the superb acting of Robert Duncan and the late lamented David Swift made it for me.
“Also, I was extremely irritated by the Haydn Gwynne actress though, but I don’t know if it was the character or the actress or both. The character seemed too one dimensional, too hard and charmless.”
‘It was a brave gamble that paid off handsomely’
“Writing comedy based on events that happened on a Tuesday for a show to be broadcast on Wednesday? You ain’t serious!”
“Putting out a comedy based on incidents that had just occurred was a brave gamble that paid off handsomely. Learning lines and introducing clips with little time for rehearsal must have shredded nerves everywhere.
“Thankfully it was all in the hands of the genius Andy Hamilton, who turned out a topical, top-drawer programme that remains among my all-time favourites. Every single character was perfectly drawn and the internal banter and strife was a gem to behold.
“Hamilton’s eye for excellence also gave us Outnumbered, another sit-com featuring ad-libbing on a grand scale. Only the advancing years of the children could withdraw the essential bite from the show. Andy Hamilton stands as a giant within the entertainment industry.”
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