Blair’s 4 Step Plan to Prevent More Lockdowns

In a report optimistically entitled “Light at the end of the tunnel“, Tony Blair’s Institute for Global Change has come up with a plan to avoid more lockdowns. Speaking to the Today Programme this morning, the former Prime Minister said that efficacy scrutiny for vaccines should be loosened, while maintaining the strict safety criteria. Tony made a cogent case:

“Don’t just leave this to the normal process, interrogate it. Because if you do get to the point where you know that it is at least reasonably effective, there is no point in waiting in order to see whether it is actually 60 or 70 per cent effective. Even if it’s 40 or 50 per cent effective it’s definitely worth having.”

Blair also urged the Government to begin enrolling people for vaccines now, before they are available so the distribution can faster and be more orderly.

The paper posits a four pronged approach covers therapeutics, vaccinations, testing, and data. It suggests that November lockdown should be used to:

  1. Expand therapeutics. Rather than offering therapeutic drugs only to those in the RECOVERY Trial, any hospitalised patients at risk of serious illness should be offered drugs now that are safe and meet a minimum level of efficacy. We should give these patients the drugs and track the data from them.
  2. Speed up vaccines. should keep to the vaccine development process envisaged but shorten every element of it insofar as is humanly possible, and aim to get the first vaccinations underway in December. It is reasonably clear there is no safety issue with the vaccines like that of AstraZeneca’s and efficacy even at 50 per cent is worth having.
  3. Mass Testing. The Government should organise the provision of the rapid tests so that we’re testing people rather than quarantining them for long periods. This needs full-scale organisation for schools, universities, workplaces and other categories to participate, which is not presently in place.
  4. Data. All the information on patients; recording of every test, including those not carried out by the government; and the setting up of a vaccine registration system so that as we vaccinate, every part of the experience is recorded.

Echoing Boris’s positivity in tone, Blair ended his foreword to the new paper with a surge of cautious optimism:

“Britain ironically is better placed – in theory – for a second wave. We have probably the best vaccine in the world; probably the best therapeutic drug; and at least some of the best testing devices.”

Blair sounded passionate about avoiding future lockdowns. Is he ideologically closer to the Conservative Prime Minister than the Leader of the Labour Party on this issue?

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