The Spectator

How quickly could we vaccinate the entire country?

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A ferry tale

Gerry Marsden, who died aged 78, was credited with making the ferry across the River Mersey world-famous. But it has another claim to fame: as possibly the oldest continuously operated ferry service in the world. The earliest record of a regular ferry was in 1150, when monks at the then newly built Benedictine Priory in Birkenhead set up a ferry service. It was not, however, reliable; bad weather frequently caused delays, so that in 1317 a licence was granted to build lodging houses for people waiting to cross the river. Those who didn’t want to wait, or wanted to avoid the fare, could try their luck wading across: until the river was made navigable for large boats the Mersey was fordable at low tide.

Quick shot

How quickly could we vaccinate the population if adequate supplies of vaccines were available?

— Disregarding specially set-up vaccination centres, there are 6,993 GP surgeries in England (according to an analysis of NHS digital data in 2019).
— If each of them had a pair of doctors or nurses administering the jab at three-minute intervals (the interval some surgeries are using for the Pfizer vaccine) they could vaccinate 280,000 an hour.
— If they operated like this for 12 hours they could vaccinate 3.36m in a day.
— The job of vaccinating all 44m over-18s in England could be completed in 13 days.

Healthy sums

How did the first wave of Covid-19 affect the wealthy? Change in number of dollar millionaires in first half of 2020:

China +365,000
US +58,000
Germany +58,000
Switzerland +53,000
France +23,000
Japan -47,000
Canada -72,000
Australia -83,000
UK –241,000
Source: Credit Suisse

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