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Scott Begbie: Vaccine is a real shot in the arm to end lockdown

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If I was told I had to drive to a field in Dyce at 3am on a wild and stormy Saturday morning to get a Covid-19 vaccine, I would be there without a second’s hesitation.

So it is an absolute mystery to me that a recent poll has found almost a quarter of people in Scotland are reluctant to have an anti-coronavirus jab when it’s offered.

What is wrong with these people? I mean, you are being offered the chance to shake off the shackles of lockdown and somehow think that is not a good idea?

Seriously? These guys must have plush houses if they would rather stare at their four walls all day than get back to living life as normal.

Either that or they have been spending too much time sailing the dafter tides of the internet listening to nonsense about global conspiracies to inject microchips in everyone so Bill Gates knows where they are at all times.

While the poll is new, the “they’re no sticking that stuff in me” approach is not new.

I remember a casual conversation with a random back in the summer about the hope for a vaccine being met with a horrified “would you really get injected with that?”

They were as horrified by my “in a heartbeat” response as I was by their “no way” stance.

Fortunately, the anti-vaxxers are in the minority. But 25% is still a substantial chunk of change in a population where the more people who are vaccinated, the less chance the virus has.

No doubt, the number of die-hard “nos” will diminish as time goes on.

But there will still be those who refuse outright to take the vaccine. That is, of course, their right and no one can, or should, force them otherwise.

But the rest of us have the right not to be put at risk by ignorance and fear by people who won’t see sense.

We have to tread warily on this road, though. I mean, the knee-jerk self-preservation instinct is to say anyone without a vaccine shouldn’t be welcomed by the rest of society.

Without a jab, you should be treated as if you are carrying the virus and still facing lockdown restrictions.

For example, flight and border rules not allowing people to fly on their summer holidays without having been vaccinated might help enlighten some. But that is too much, too harsh, too authoritarian. Taking away individual freedom of choice is never a good thing. It also feeds the nutbar conspiracy theorists.

What is clear, though, is some people, for whatever reason, fear the vaccine. Those fears must be assuaged by clear and calm education.

The rollout must be seen to be smooth and organised, with no hint of confusion. There needs to be a sense of purpose it is for the common good of everyone. A civic duty. That is down to the powers-that-be.

For the rest of us, take the jab as soon as it is offered – then encourage everyone around you to do the same.

We are all on the frontline in the battle against Covid-19.

Let’s all do our bit to consign it to history.

Seafood industry done up like a kipper

“Food exporters are finding the door to the EU is now shut”.

So, that’s Brexit off to a roaring start then, according to James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink.

And, as millions of pounds of shellfish is dumped in landfill instead of going to French markets, week two will be worse, he reckons. Now Mr Withers says emergency financial aid might be needed.

All this because of a Westminster government that doesn’t know what it’s doing. Boris Johnson promised Brexit would be great. Tell that to our seafood industry that’s been done up like a kipper.

Attack on democracy should not be repeated

CanI just warmly thank President Donald Trump for solving a problem for me…

There I was on Wednesday desperately trying to find something to watch on the telly when he decided to incite an armed coup against the government of the United States. That kept me riveted to various screens all night in a way not achieved since I binged The Queen’s Gambit.

After all, it’s not every day an unhinged lunatic in charge of a global superpower instigates an assault on a beacon of democracy.

This wasn’t a work of fiction. This was disturbing reality as an armed mob waltzed into the halls of American power to create carnage in an attempt to overturn a free and fair election while the world watched in horror.

The sinister nature of this insurrection cannot be played down. These thugs were baying for the blood of “weak” politicians. Some had plastic cuffs with them ready to take hostages. This wasn’t an opportunistic, riled-up mob. It was a co-ordinated assault on democracy. All this while Donald Trump was telling them they were special people and he loved them.

There must be consequences, starting with marching Trump out of the White House now. Otherwise the message to the world is clear. Any president can stage a treasonous coup with impunity. Democracy counts for nothing. To make sure it can’t happen again, it can’t be allowed to happen now.

This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.