For its vaccination programme, the government has put it all on NHS blue at the Covid roulette table. Although the vaccine rollout has been a success so far, the Conservatives just can’t help themselves but tell a narrative different from reality.
You must have heard or read in various media (including the BBC), cabinet ministers and the prime minister himself (today again) repeatedly claim that more than half of the UK’s adult population has already been vaccinated, without being challenged once by any journalist on the fact that this is only part of the story, and that it is very much a misleading claim?
The truth is, it is pure propaganda.
And all the media fall for it — as they actually do on every other occasion and for everything the Conservatives throw at them. Again and again, journalists forget to scrutinise, challenge, and question this government’s claims.
Firstly, the success of the vaccination rollout is entirely due to the NHS (you know, that very thing the Conservatives have always wanted to get rid of by privatising it) and the NHS workers (you know, those very people the Conservatives value so much that they are prepared to offer them a generous 1% pay rise after a nightmare pandemic year).
Secondly, the government is misleading people with their claim.
As Dr Nisreen Alwan, Associate Professor in Public Health at the University of Southampton, tweeted on Monday, “A reminder than vaccinated against covid means having received 2 doses. Partially vaccinated is what someone is after receiving only one dose. Language matters.”
Whilst the government likes to claim (or rather… boast) that over half of UK adults have been vaccinated (the exact number as of 21 March is 27,630,970 people) these 52.46% of UK adults have, in fact, received one of two doses of vaccine. They are therefore partially vaccinated, not fully vaccinated.
Only 𝟮,𝟮𝟮𝟴,𝟳𝟳𝟮 people (𝟰.𝟮𝟯% of UK adults) have so far been FULLY vaccinated with the two doses.
However you look at it, the UK is still VERY far from reaching 50% of its adult population being FULLY vaccinated.
Opinion polls rule the world
As last January’s YouGov opinion poll showed, 81% of Conservative voters approved of the government’s handling of the vaccine rollout (+17% from an earlier poll). Even other voters thought they were doing well — 68% of Lib Dems voters (+37%) and 48% of Labour voters (+24%).
A 61% approval overall looks pretty good. But is it enough for the PM and his supporters?
Since previous opinion polls showed that voters thought the government had handled badly the pandemic — especially with the dodgy contracts, the lack of PPE, the failed track and trace app, etc. — for its vaccination programme, the government has put it all on NHS blue at the Covid roulette table, and it looks like it is working, the rollout is a success.
So, why misleading the country with alternative facts then? It’s in Boris Johnson’s nature: make Conservative voters happy with alternative facts, misleading claims, and lies if it is deemed necessary (we know where it led the country last time…), and prepare for when it is time for him to call the next general election.
Boris Johnson and the Conservatives just can’t help themselves but always tell a narrative different from reality. And it is a match made in heaven as they say because, as many will have noticed over the years, in Boris Johnson’s world, facts don’t matter.
Actually, nothing matters but Boris Johnson. ■
“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” — John Adams