Covid vaccines are working. Large parts of the world urgently need more of them: labour movements must press for requisitioning of Big Pharma and vaccine know-how to enable a rapid drive to expand manufacturing, distribution, and donations of vaccines to poorer countries. Africa is still on only about 0.1 jabs per 100 per day (a quick jab drive is about 1/100/day). Maybe the fact that much of Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, where the seasonal factors are favourable in the coming months, will give more leeway (case and death counts have been decreasing in Africa); but Africa still has only 4.5% of people fully vaccinated.
The UK and world death counts, and even the death count in the USA, where vax-refusal is wider, are edging down. But experience in Israel, and lately Serbia and Russia, shows that wide vax does not rule out new surges. In the Northern Hemisphere winter, ill-understood seasonal virus patterns, more indoors crowds, and fading of voluntary precautions make measures such as full isolation pay for all, workers’ control of workplace safety, better ventilation, emergency boosting of the NHS, mask mandates, still high priority.
Australia has become the first of the countries with rigidly closed borders to announce a reopening plan. The federal plan is to reopen borders from when 80% of over-15s are fully-jabbed (it’s currently 57%, but 80% first-jabbed).
Queensland, where Covid rates are lower and vax rates too (49%), has said it will “not necessarily” reopen its borders with other states and with the world when it reaches 80%. It is using that stance to press the federal government for more cash for hospitals to cope with the inevitable rise (smaller or greater) in Covid cases that will follow reopening.