Bill Harvey: Give a little bit
Author: Bill Harvey
How many more news interviews can you bear where someone, having looked at the many, sometimes less than clear, guidelines, has asked ‘why can’t I play golf?’ or ‘what is meant by local?’ or ‘can I drive to a local footpath’ or ‘do I need to wear my mask outdoors?’ You only have to look at the high streets and main roads to see how many people are out and about. Whether this is a breach of guidelines or not is, surely, not the point. There is a highly infectious virus that has caused the greatest increase in deaths since the war. Stuff the rules; stay away from others unless seeking or offering care services. The vaccines are coming.
Dissemination of information seems to be the theme for 2021. Should people with dodgy views have their social media accounts suspended? No; dodgy views must be challenged and met head on rather than foment away from the spotlight. Should universities prohibit certain speakers at student debates? No; for similar
reasons. Should Optician refuse to publish one interpretation of a valid evidence base? Of course not. Debate is healthy; the trick is to ensure falsehoods and inaccuracies are easily spotted, and that any profiteering from one view is implicit.
Primary care workers are in the frontline when it comes to ensuring public understanding of the current information tsunami. Has anyone had to deal with an anti-vaxxer yet? You will. My view is to side-step any issue of ‘personal choice’ by emphasising ‘interpersonal choice’ – ‘it’s not for you, it’s for everyone else.’ For the same reason, I was glad to see the AOP clarification about employers being able to ensure staff are vaccinated for the greater good.
If I have gone a bit Victor Meldrew this week, blame the 24-hour news. I have just seen a 10-minute interview with someone moaning about having to wait an hour for their vaccine. Mmmmm...