Vaccine not a Brexit issue

Steve Halden appears to have made the same error as Matt Hancock, Jacob Rees-Mogg, and Nadine Dorries in suggesting that Brexit had some influence on the approval of the Covid vaccine in the UK. All EU states are able to individually approve medicines in the event of an emergency, such as a pandemic. Having the vaccine approved so quickly is a remarkable feat, but it's nothing to do with Brexit.

Corinne Mildiner


An approval myth

Steve Halden, in his letter of 11 December, adds yet another myth to the falsehoods about the EU that have been invented over the past 60 years or so (including by Boris Johnson).

During the 2020 transition period, the UK is following EU regulations, including those dealing with the approval of new medicines. The UK invoked the emergency procedures under the EU regulations to rush its approval of the Pfizer vaccine. The EU countries, on the other hand, have chosen to use the normal approval procedure so as to inspire confidence in the vaccine within their populations. But to re-iterate, the UK and the EU-27 are abiding by the same regulations and procedures for the approval of the COVID vaccines

Tony Mayer

Haydon Wick

International effort

I hope that you will allow me to take issue with Mr Halden's claims that Vote Leave and Boris Johnson are the reason why the UK has the first Covid-19 vaccine.

May I respectfully remind him that it was an Irish immigrant to the UK who received the first shot of vaccine and that it was administered by a nurse from the Philippines. Furthermore, the vaccine was imported from Belgium, developed by a German company founded by Turkish immigrants and distributed by a US firm whose CEO is a Greek Jew.

Steve Cowdry

Saddleback Road


Not scaremongering

Des Morgan and I disagree on the question of how much lock down is needed to protect public health and to support the NHS in maintaining its role in that. He agrees with me that the Government were slow to act at the start of the year, but he wants to maintain that the Government has scaremongered and that the NHS would have been fine without lockdown. He rests the first part of his argument on a partial definition of “scaremonger”. Yes, the Government said “scary” things about Covid, echoing medical and scientific findings but that’s not the same as scaremongering. When Dr John Snow investigated the mid-nineteenth century Cholera outbreak in London and tracked it down to the Broad Street water pump he warned people, in the face of establishment opposition, about the danger. Scary? Yes. Scaremongering? No and not just because the word hadn’t yet been invented. When schools warn children about road safety they aren’t scaremongering. It isn’t scaremongering to say smoking causes cancer.

The graphs of cases, hospital admissions, deaths and so on, show exponential increases stopped when lock down measures were introduced. Unless we believe in unfeasible coincidences the lock down measures, even with their multiple loopholes, worked. While scientific and medical views are contested, I think they remain a more secure basis for action than, for instance, the shrieking of opinion formers like Piers Morgan. (I’m not equating Des with these of course.) Hence, I quoted the BMA and could add the Royal College of Surgeons.

Peter Smith

Woodside Avenue