Rachel from Friends Face Palm
Rachel from Friends Face Palm

Twice in a week, Isle of Man Government Ministers have revealed dangerously dumb thinking on their silly plan to keep vaccines in storage rather than use them to protect people’s lives.

Gef the Mongoose reports on the Chief Minister answering a question in Tynwald today:

We have dropped our vaccine reserve stock but we do need to keep some as we’ve been warned about supplies.

Chief Minister Quizzed by MHKs

On Manx Radio Update last Wednesday 17 March, reported on the Health Minister making similarly dumb comments:

ASHFORD: We are aware that at the start of April, there will be a drop off. But we have planned our programme to ensure that we can continuously continue with vaccinating. We’ve been vaccinating 1,000 a day, last week, this week. And we will be heading towards that sort of area again next week. But after that it will reduce for a couple of weeks. But what I can assure people this is why the much of the buffer people may have heard me talking about a stock we hold is for precisely this reason. That is precisely why we have this buffer to ensure that we do not run out of stock.

JOURNALIST: So how many hoping to be able to maintain then with that buffer in place? Is there a target amount you’re still hoping to reach?

ASHFORD: So with the buffer in place as a bare minimum, we would hoping for roughly around about 500 a day. But we may be able over the period to continue with 800 a day. But it literally depends upon the stocks that come in. It is important to emphasise as we have since beginning that we will vaccinate to supply. But we have to prepare for second doses as well. But we’ll still be carrying on. And that is one of the reasons we keep that buffer in stock so that although sometimes stock might run low, we don’t actually run out and have to pause the vaccination rollout.

Manx Radio Update, 17 March 2021 (my emphasis)

Keeping vaccines in reserve is an incredibly, dangerously, dumb, thing to do. Vaccines only offer protection if they’re put into people. Leaving them in storage puts Manx lives at risk.

If we use up all the vaccines we have, that would be unreservedly GREAT! It would show the local deployment system is working! It would mean Manx people are getting maximum protection from the doses that have been delivered to our island!

The IOM Government’s thinking here is unreservedly dumb, because vaccines don’t save lives, vaccinations do. Leaving vaccines stuck in the freezer is inanely dumb. Vaccines aren’t saving lives in they are sitting in storage. Vaccines only offer protection if they’re actually used.

It’s like a seat belt: a seat belt in a car doesn’t do anything to save lives by itself. The seat belt only helps to save lives if you use it.

Back in mid-January, discredited Welsh Minister Mark Drakeford made similarly dumb comments about wanting to keep vaccines in storage, and was mocked globally for his bad leadership. Leading economist Alex Tabarrok explained why this sort of thinking is dangerously dumb and leads to people dying:

Bonkers! A vaccine isn’t like a limited supply of water that needs to be rationed until you arrive at the next oasis. The sooner you get the vaccine out the better! Start lowering R now! If you run out of vaccine, well scarcity is bad but running out means that at least one part of your system is working well! It’s a bad idea to kill people to make it look like you are following some sort of numerically neat plan.

One year into the pandemic and people still don’t understand vaccines or viral growth.

Vaccines Are Not Like Emergency Rations!

Note: In the quote from Gef above, when I copied it, the underlying comment from the Chief Minister said “We have dropped out vaccine reserve stock”. I’m pretty confident that’s just a typo, and “out” should be “our” as reflected in the quote above.

Michael Josem is a long-term consumer advocate, most prominently as a global leader in combating fraud in the online gambling industry. He was in part the inspiration for the 20th Century Fox Movie, Runner Runner, starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake.

Josem has over a decade of experience as a senior business leader working across various high-tech and online industries, and takes action to build a better community. His primary volunteer roles include service for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and Graih, the homelessness charity.