S2 Ep. 31 - The vaccine story


Manage episode 290422563 series 2652992
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At the start of world immunization week show hosts Dan Mikulskis and Mary Spencer take stock with Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard of where we are in the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, reflecting back to the uncertain moments of January 2021. We cover what to look out for in coming weeks, what the medium term future looks like and some of the lessons learnt in terms of risk communication and data. We discuss: The last 12 months have really highlighted the language and communications used around risk, and how crucial this is. We discuss work from David Spiegelhalter early in the pandemic and the Covid-19 actuaries response group whose work estimating vaccine impact on deaths and hospitalisations become widely cited. Could we be looking at a new conversation / new paradigm around health and vaccinations in particular? Given the positive profile vaccinations have now, and the momentum behind the rollout, might this help get on top of persistent issues for example with MMR vaccine hesitancy? Understanding data has also been vital, there’s been no shortage of numbers but how is best to look at them? LCP Health Analytics Covid-19 tracker World Immunization week Our last episode with Jonathan – Covid-19’s most uncertain moment Two trends picked up ahead of the data Uptick of national cases driven by London and the South East – early indication of the new “Kent Strain”, picked up around mid-December. Tiers – did work, lower increases in tier 4 pre-lockdown. Relatively early in January that picked up the turning point – in hindsight this proved correct with official estimates but statistical techniques allowed this to be shown earlier. A lot more testing now vs last summer, so it is getting harder to compare the data. Optimistic outlook for here – International differences and travel restrictions will drive measures from here. Hard to see non-quarantined travel beyond Europe – but this goes beyond epidemiological considerations and into the political. The most important thing Understanding of risk – it’s all relative. Clinicians, or policymakers weigh up the risk and benefits and what’s being offered. The debate in public health is always what’s the risk, who’s the risk to and what’s the cost of any imposition. The most underappreciated thing Decisions have been an almost an impossible job. What’s gone under the radar are all the civil servants who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to inform all the decisions as best they could. It’s shown the civil service in the best light, even if we never get to appreciate it fully. It is underappreciated how rigorously analysed each decision has been, in the knowledge that every decision has been an almost impossible one.

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