What caught my eye this week.
I got the call to be vaccinated against Covid this week. I admit that being in the midst of reading about super-rare blood clots linked to certain Covid vaccines at the exact time didn’t fill me with joy.
But as Tim Harford says in the Financial Times:
An educated guess, based on UK data, is that being vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jab carries a one-off risk of death of one in a million — not much higher than the risk of dying in an accident while travelling to a vaccination clinic.
Compared to all manner of sacrifices and gambles we take every day – for ourselves, and for the people we care for – these are tiny odds.
And in particular, as someone who spent the first few months of this pandemic wondering whether perhaps a persistent lockdown for all was the wrong strategy, given the low risk for most (a position regulars will recall I’d abandoned by the end of summer, in the face of the evidence) it would be hypocritical indeed to try to duck a one-in-a-million dice roll.
Not least on a personal selfish basis.
Even if you believe that your personal odds of a truly bad outcome from Covid are very low, as I do, I would definitely not claim mine are anything like as low as one in a million.
Or even one in 250,000 for that matter (the rough estimate of suffering a non-fatal clot).
Or even one in 50,000!
But that’s the human brain for you.
Odds that you can persuade yourself look long in the abstract can make you queasy when you will take even more unlikely ones in the next 15 minutes.
Vacillated or vaccinated?
I’ve included lots of links below for anyone who wants to know more on this blood clot issue.
All my friends have been thrilled when they’ve got the call to be vaccinated. Now my generation is on-deck, my social media is ablaze with vaccinations. My co-blogger The Accumulator booked his shot the moment he got the link. Most readers will be equally keen to get vaccinated ASAP.
A few readers are borderline anti-vaxxers, though they may dispute it. I appreciate I’ve opened the subject here. But that’s because I want to do my bit to make the case for taking the vaccine, even if you’re of a nervous disposition, as a coda to our discussions on Covid over the past 14 months.
In any event, all comments I personally consider unscientific or conspiracy-based will be deleted at my whim. (Hopefully this won’t happen. I very rarely delete comments.)
Ready or not
Ultimately it’s still a personal choice in the UK. For most adults, the best decision clearly looks to get vaccinated.
For ourselves and the wider good.
Let’s not forget that those arguments some of us made about deaths due to NHS disruption and so forth from a hard lockdown hold equally true here.
If the entire UK population of roughly 67 million could get vaccinated tomorrow and a worst-case 67 people died, who could argue more lives wouldn’t be saved overall by the health service, society, and the economy (and tax take) getting back to normal…
Will having the shot involve a dice roll?
Yes, like everything else in life.
But as a friend of mine quipped to me as my own jab approached, you’re rolling a dice with 1e6 sides!
As for the usual side effects, I’ve been lucky. Just feel a bit congested.
Hopefully many millions more 30-minute sessions like mine will soon put this thing behind us.
Have a great weekend!
Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE): my journey from first steps to leaving work – Monevator
Lars Kroijer on…dividend stocks, emerging and small cap trackers, and cash – Monevator
From the archive-ator: Shares deliver the best long-term returns, so why invest in bonds? – Monevator
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Mortgage war rejoined as UK market confidence grows [Search result] – FT
Rightmove says Cornwall’s Newquay is hottest UK property market – BBC
Reopening verdict: “Buzzing, chaotic, crazy” – BBC
Jimmy Lai: The Hong Kong billionaire’s last interview as a free man – BBC
Pulled down by London, the average UK rent is up just 4% over the past year – Which
Products and services
Halifax relaunches its £100 switching bonus – Which
Fintechs are making trading apps more social – Protocol
Marcus, Kent, and Paragon kick off a [still puny] cash ISA bonanza – ThisIsMoney
Sign-up to Freetrade via my link and we can both get a free share worth between £3 and £200 – Freetrade
Books & manuscripts: from the Middle Ages to the Moon… – Christie’s
…including this very interesting journal featuring that Mr. Sharpe – Christie’s
Get ‘work perks’ and a cash bonus with a new ISA – Be Clever With Your Cash
Homes for sale near pubs, in pictures – Guardian
A bit about Bitcoin
Chris Dixon: the potential of blockchain technology [Podcast] – Invest Like The Best
Bitcoin arrives on Wall Street – Wired
Coinbase’s direct listing to drive ‘wave of innovation’ in cryptocurrency – Crunchbase
Revenge of the Winklevii [Week old, good updater on the space] – Forbes
‘Phony money paying for real money’: Jim Cramer sells some bitcoin to pay off a home mortgage – CNBC
Comment and opinion
Risk: deep and shallow waters – The Financial Bodyguard
Beware graphs bearing outperformance – Occam Investing
Taper traps can leave you paying 60% taxes [Search result] – FT
It’s all in the mix [On the efficient frontier] – Humble Dollar
New wealth comes along with new emotions – Abnormal Returns
What happens after the stock market is up big? – A Wealth of Common Sense
You ever notice? [On perma-gloomsters] – The Reformed Broker
The real story of Weimar hyperinflation [Podcast] – OddLots
Naughty corner: Active antics
The 28 investment trust ISA millionaires – IT Investor
Hype cycles [Podcast] – Telescope Investing
The pros and cons of discounted dividend models – UK Value Investor
Three takeaways from the Archegos disaster – Morningstar
Games – Enso Finance
Thematic investments have a dark side… – Morningstar
…not to mention all the overlap within thematic ETFs – ETF.com
Benefits of Oxford/AstraZeneca jab still outweigh risks, despite more cases of rare blood clots – ITV
Why we shouldn’t worry about vaccine blood clots [Search result] – FT
Hard choices emerge as link between AstraZeneca vaccine and rare clotting disorder becomes clearer – Science Mag
Communicating the vaccine’s risks and benefits [Presentation] – UK Gov
Risks of rare blood clotting higher for Covid-19 than vaccines – University of Oxford
Another blood clot explainer… – The Vaccine Alliance
…and another, more neutral tone – Statnews
Pregnant women given the green light to have Covid jab in UK – Guardian
Russell Brand on vaccine passports: this is where it leads [Video] – YouTube
Is vaccinating enough? Lessons from Chile, Israel, and the UK – Guardian
“Not what people deserve”: Pandemic funeral services [Video] – BBC
Kindle book bargains
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss – £0.99 on Kindle
Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking by Matthew Syed – £0.99 on Kindle
Real Life Money by Clare Seal – £0.99 on Kindle
Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Turbulent, Triumphant Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made by Jason Schreier – £0.99 on Kindle
EV charging: State of play and investing options [Podcast] – Motley Fool
Scilly to explore potential of wave, tidal, and floating wind power – CNBC
Off our beat
Life is about what we can do for one another – Ryan Holiday
What will happen to friendships as we crawl out of our pandemic hidey holes? – Vanity Fair
Jeff Bezos: “create more than you consume” – Inc.
Non-fungible Taylor Swift – Stratechery
How do we exit the post-truth era? – The Walrus
Tributes to Prince Philip have revealed so much… about other people – Marina Hyde
A few short stories – Morgan Housel
“The poor and the middle class work for money. The rich have money work for them.”
― Robert T. Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad
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