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Weekend reading: Vaccinated

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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!

From Monevator

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


Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view you can click to read the piece without being a paid subscriber. Try privacy/incognito mode to avoid cookies. Consider subscribing if you read them a lot!1

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 MoonChristie’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

Covid corner

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

Environmental factors

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

And finally…

“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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{ 89 comments… add one }
  • 1 G April 17, 2021, 11:56 am

    Had Pfizer yesterday. Felt a little tired, slightly heavy arm and that prickly feeling on the top of my mouth you get just before a cold so went to bed early. Fine this morning except my left arm feels like it’s been punched by the school bully. If one good thing comes out of C19, it’ll be the massive boost that mRNA based therapeutics have had.

  • 2 BerkshirePat April 17, 2021, 12:14 pm

    I had the Oxf-AZN a month ago – and will happily get the booster asap!
    I felt like I was coming down with a bad cold about 12 hours after the jab, which cleared up after less than a day, but I felt really tired for nearly a week.
    I must have had an ‘antibody app’ running in the background, draining my battery…
    The fatigue coincided with an ‘even more frantic than usual’ period at work, so I’ve been inspired to get my pensions and savings sorted out 🙂

  • 3 JimJim April 17, 2021, 12:14 pm

    Booked my jab before the email, text and reminder from my G.P. came by watching the booking site every day when I was close. Near total acceptance is the only way we will start out of this state of limited freedoms with any safety for all, not just the vaccinated. From the way people are behaving around here in supermarkets, pubs and parks, it would seem that a lot think we have already finished the fight and the safety measures need not be heeded. A mistake we can ill afford to make.

  • 4 Fremantle April 17, 2021, 12:18 pm

    Had the AZ on Thursday after booking online. Have had two separate invites subsequently. Got a bit of an ache in the spot were I was injected and maybe felt a bit peaky, but I still managed a bike ride on the same day and a run yesterday.

    Get the jab. Be a citizen.

  • 5 BerkshirePat April 17, 2021, 12:26 pm

    @ JimJim – I found the dual approach a bit confusing – I managed to book on the NHS website, but then got an invitation from local GP group – so I cancelled the NHS appointments.
    I would generally support people’s right to refuse vaccination – but the unvaccinated pool form a ‘mutation factory’ -which increases the risks for everyone. There is also the risk to people who can’t be vaccinated/haven’t responded to the vaccination.

  • 6 David April 17, 2021, 12:50 pm

    Got the AZ one on Thursday. No sleep Thursday night (uncontrollable shivering, fever, headaches etc.) and felt fairly “off” on Friday. Still a bit tender today but feeling much closer to normal. Had been told that you might have a stronger reaction to it if you’ve already had C19 (I have). Definitely small price to pay for lowered C19 risk (for me personally and for others).

  • 7 Griff April 17, 2021, 1:28 pm

    Had the AZ about 8 weeks ago. Arm still
    aches as does shoulder. Keeps me awake every night. Have to go for physio. Would I do it again, of course. Roll on 2nd jab. Roll on the pubs opening proper and the skies opening. Would probably have retired this year but having been able to work from home, there was no point. However had the phone call from the boss saying its getting time to come back. Probably throw my hand in in a few months. Ready for a month in lanzarote come December. Hopefully.

  • 8 xxd09 April 17, 2021, 1:33 pm

    Wife and I -74 years old -daughter a GP so no leeway for doubt!
    Had our first AZ about 8 weeks ago-second one next week
    I felt a “hit” after about an hour and that was it
    My wife had a more severe “take” -to bed early and OK next day
    3 adult children ( one a Type 1 diabetic) plus their spouses all vaccinated-some twice -mixture of AZ and Pfizer
    One 18 year old grandchild has had two vaccinations-works in a hospice
    No side effects reported except for one or two sore arms

  • 9 MB April 17, 2021, 1:37 pm

    Worth noting that if you do take the vaccine, you are volunteering to be part of an ongoing study, whether you acknowledge it or not. E.g., the Pfizer-BioNTech has an estimated study completion date of Jan. 31, 2023. Moderna, studies are expected to end on Oct. 27, 2022. Standard practice they say. Mind you, they say a lot things. Each to their own.

  • 10 Chiny April 17, 2021, 2:02 pm

    Within seconds of receiving my NHS text, I was booking online for a jab the following day; absolutely no doubts whatsoever. I’m old enough to recall all the terrifying diseases in the 50s, polio, smallpox, my mother forever fretting about diptheria, tuberculosis and I’ve probably missed a few. Ah yes, whooping cough that floored me for 6 months.

    I wouldn’t want to pass on any such disease either. Vaccination is surely a social duty, unless you live on an otherwise deserted island.

  • 11 Griff April 17, 2021, 2:17 pm

    @MB desperate times and desperate measures, it would be nice to sit it out and wait for herd immunity, but how many more would die before that happens. I expect a lot of anti Vaccers will roll up their sleeves in the end. As for those that don’t, they are in their own little experiment.

  • 12 JP April 17, 2021, 2:26 pm

    Had AZ about 3-4 weeks ago. Didnt think twice about it. Other than some tiredness and decreased appetite on and off for about a week, felt fine. Husband the same. Relieved we were able to get it and looking forward to second jab.

  • 13 Tim Azzopardi April 17, 2021, 4:24 pm

    I find John Campbell’s almost daily YouTube video chat’s very balanced and informative. One of his most recent he looks at the blood clot question. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Xvdc5V2pOo&t=83s
    This one is also interesting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=md8pJFbMVnk is also interesting as it looks at the Danish approach to the problem with a different recommended injection technique. IMO, he tries to be objective and science based and succeeds most of the time.

  • 14 Tim Azzopardi April 17, 2021, 4:31 pm

    (Just to be clear, I had first dose of Oxford/AZ n 29th March with and I will be delighted to get a 2nd (or 3rd!) next shot of any vaccine offered.)

  • 15 Learner April 17, 2021, 4:32 pm

    Getting a Moderna shot in the US was a unique experience: the only time I’ve had medical care without an insurance card and co-payment being required.

  • 16 SurreyBoy April 17, 2021, 4:42 pm

    My wife had the AZ 11 weeks ago. Felt a bit shivery on the evening, was fine the next day. Her second jab is tomorrow. Yesterday I had the AZ jab. Arm is a bit tender but no other side effects.

    What genuinely surprises me is people are reluctant to take it because they don’t know if it is safe. How often have you seen anyone in the supermarket waving round a loaf of bread and demanding to know if it is safe? I bet most people with blood clots ate bread in the days beforehand but there isn’t hysteria over that. I don’t want to generate a debate on causation and correlation, but my point is these people only display these sensibilities when they are offered a life saving vaccine.

    I know one person who smokes 20 a day and told me he worried about whether the vaccine is safe. So to me, the reluctance to take a vaccine is genuinely bewildering.

    Instinctively I am a libertarian and I want to say people should take their own chances. However, with the vaccine appearing to have some impact at reducing transmission, I think its a civic duty to take the jab.

    AZ have not always helped themselves with their messaging about efficacy, but overall I think we should be deeply grateful they developed the low cost easy to transport vaccine with no desire to make profit. After the undeserved flak they have received I wonder if they would bother next time.

    Oh, and I just heard on the news that the US CDC has announced we now have over 3 million reported covid deaths globally. Assuming that there isnt 100% reporting, you can guarantee real figure is higher.

    And people worry about a one in a million chance of a blood clot – which you have a good chance of being successfully treated for. Wow.

  • 17 Vanguardfan April 17, 2021, 5:17 pm

    So my call up came just as the CVST/VITT complication was starting to be recognised. Since it is a particularly gruesome condition, I can’t say this didn’t dent my enthusiasm somewhat. Of course I understand perfectly well the relative risks of vaccination vs not vaccination (such as we understand them – I also understand better than most, that much remains incompletely understood). Still, it felt different to willingly offer myself up for this small but definite risk of catastrophic complication – whereas I seem to have been quite good at avoiding covid infection thus far.

    I would have far preferred the option of an mRNA vaccine, but choice isn’t on offer in the UK. I understand the reasons for that too, and on balance I accept it as a necessary compromise between individual vs collective good in these particular circumstances.

    Anyway, I did overcome my monkey brain fears to get the jab. Having braced myself to feel grim for a few days, I was pleasantly surprised to have very minimal side effects. Now of course I’m wondering that I haven’t had a strong enough response!
    There’s no pleasing some people eh.

    I only hope that our collective willingness to participate in this amazing effort pays off. It’s looking quite promising but we still have about 20 million adults to vaccinate. And we could probably do with including older teens too. Fingers crossed.

  • 18 Learner April 17, 2021, 5:34 pm

    I’ll just add that the vax rollout (in lucky western nations) is absolutely amazing. Even early this year I thought it would be well into summer before general availability. Extremely glad to be proven wrong.

    Now get it to the rest of the world.

  • 19 The Investor April 17, 2021, 5:54 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experiences @all.

    There was something vaguely cinematic about getting the call up and going to the vaccine centre.

    It seemed a little bit like a history documentary — one that was happening with you in it.

  • 20 The Investor April 17, 2021, 5:58 pm

    p.s. Eventually got a headache worth taking two paracetamol for, they took care of it. A bit tired on my usual walk so came back early. Small beans. I think people are way more fearful of side effects (the non 1e6 ones I mean) then they should be.

    I kept telling friends that I had plenty of friends who reported just a sore arm at the most, and the others perhaps a headache. They all have that one friend though…

    From my wider circle (e.g. my sister, who is a nurse) it seems people in their 20s and 30s can get bigger side effects. Maybe they’re stories have carried a lot of weight, too?

    In general from what I’ve seen though, it’s maybe 1/10 who have any sort of proper disruption afterwards, which from memory is pretty much in line with the side affects leaflet. 🙂

  • 21 The Investor April 17, 2021, 6:00 pm

    p.p.s. @Vanguardfan — I believe there is no relation to affects and future level of protection. A man in the Guardian in his 30s wrote about this a few weeks ago (he was very pleased to have been one of the unlucky ones who was knocked over, and medical experts he interviewed said it doesn’t work that way, everyone seems to get the same sort of pretty good but not MRNA-vaccine level of protection).

    Can’t remember his name or the article re: Googling I’m afraid.

  • 22 The Accumulator April 17, 2021, 6:36 pm

    Heartwarming to read this thread. Looking forward to my turn.

    @ surrey boy +1 on civic duty, plus lowers my own chance of rolling snake-eyes on the covid dice.

  • 23 The Rhino April 17, 2021, 6:38 pm

    I got covid back in Nov, been suffering from long covid since. I’m hoping that if I get a vaccine it may help. I have read some reports that this has been the case. Fingers crossed.

  • 24 Michael April 17, 2021, 6:38 pm

    Booked mine as soon as it opened to my age locally on Wednesday.

    Had the AZ jab on Thursday afternoon, Friday afternoon / evening I was hot and under the weather. Saturday completely back to normal on.

    No concerns at all about taking the vaccine – everything we do is a risk. The AZ vaccine is an incredibly tiny risk. We all need to do our bit

  • 25 Vanguardfan April 17, 2021, 7:06 pm

    @TI, yes I’ve read that too. But my monkey brain thinks otherwise and no doubt would have felt some satisfaction in feeling unwell…(I know plenty of 50s and 60s who’ve felt lousy afterwards, but I’m sure we hear (or notice) more about those than the ones who feel fine).

    What I do really want to know is whether the VITT risk is a purely first dose issue. Unfortunately the UK is pretty much the only place where we will have large numbers of second doses of AZ in the under 60s, and the last numbers I saw suggested we’d only done just over a million. I will be annoyed if the MHRA don’t give a dose breakdown in their future updates on its prevalence.

    @rhino. Fingers crossed for you. I have to say the emerging evidence relating to long covid has seriously caused me to revise my perception of my personal risk, and my general view of the potential risks in younger adults. Another area where I was overly optimistic last year. It’s certainly a learning curve.

  • 26 The Investor April 17, 2021, 7:19 pm

    What I do really want to know is whether the VITT risk is a purely first dose issue.

    I believe I’m right in saying that all but one of the blood clots has been on first dose in the UK. The remaining one that was on the second dose they think may have possibly involved other factors, IIRC.

    It does seem to suggest something very specific to a handful of people going on, if it proves true. (Which could lead to a test for that situation, maybe?)

    Of course, as you rightly reminded us about many things this time last year, we are dealing with early uncertain data here. And many many more first doses have been given than second.

    I expect by the time our second doses come due (i.e. three months) a fair bit more will be known?

  • 27 windinthefens April 17, 2021, 7:48 pm

    Thanks for the sensible comments above! I’m a doctor involved in doing some of the vaccinations and had the Pfizer vaccine myself (because it was the one in the syringes on the day I was offered it). We had lots of worried calls to the surgery from people not knowing if they should chance AZ. It is hard for a lot of people to picture a tiny risk of a major thing going wrong. Most people can imagine driving and car crashes however. The chance of dying after an AZ vaccine is comparible to dying in a car crash on a single 200 mile journey in the UK. I personally don’t update my will before driving this distance. In percentage terms it’s about 0.000095%. In comparison, the risk of dying from long term smoking is about 50%.
    Because of the anti-vaxxer movement you can’t really win- if they hadn’t publicised the risk the anti-vaxxers would have claimed a conspiracy, and when they do there is some degree of panic. I know it’s no consolation to their families, but we will never know what effect actual Covid infection would have had on the unfortunate people who have had these horrible outcomes from their vaccination,

  • 28 Bobb April 17, 2021, 7:49 pm

    It seems the risk of blood clot is slightly higher than being in ICU with Astra. vaccine (https://fullfact.org/health/astra-zeneca-clotting/) but it’s good that the MHRA stopped it for under 30s so I will still be going to have my vaccine.

    Ashame the MHRA was not honest and transparent about possible risks before while the European continent (EMA) had been talking about it for months before. Weird Astra. never gave data to begin with regardless to spot this earlier. (https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN2930XC)

  • 29 Vertigo April 17, 2021, 7:54 pm

    Those with vaccine hesitancy must consider both sides of the equation – if you don’t take it there’s a (much higher) risk of death, hospitalisation, long covid etc. from the virus. The rational balance of risks is clear, but humans are not good at intuitively evaluating small percentages, as @windinthefens’ experience shows.

    Plus, of course, there’s the risk of transmitting the virus to other people, which should be a major factor in the decision, to my mind. As @SurreyBoy says, there is an element of civic duty here, which the Ryan Holiday article from @TI’s links argues for powerfully.

  • 30 Tyro April 17, 2021, 8:24 pm

    I’m not so interested I can be bothered to look closely into this, but it appears that the risks of CVT are much the same for all the vaccines currently in use in the UK. Also, CVT induced by getting Covid itself is 8-10 times higher than CVT induced by a vaccine. Reported by:


    For those who can be bothered, the Oxford paper they base this on is here: https://osf.io/a9jdq/

  • 31 Jonathan B April 17, 2021, 8:36 pm

    I got my second dose (AZ) yesterday. Until now only symptom, like the first one, has been a sore arm. But tonight I am feeling a bit washed out and will probably go to bed early, might be the vaccine but could conceivably alternatively be being out in the sun in the middle of the day.

    And on topic (investing) I enjoyed Occam’s guide to how to mislead buyers when selling an investment fund.

  • 32 Jonathan Mk1 April 17, 2021, 8:54 pm

    Presently keeping a watching brief on the vaccine rollout. Where I live I am not seeing Covid in any numbers and have not since the very start. I know nobody who has died with it or from it and I have heard stories of a few who have been ill. So on the basis of a threat analysis based upon what I am picking up compared to what the BBC is broadcasting the threat is and has been minimal.

    So whilst in my 50’s I am in the group that they want vaccinated I will just see how it goes and let others have my jabs. As someone who cycles and walks in the fells on a daily basis I will take the risk in using my own immune system.

    I struggle with the narrative and don’t really go with it. I don’t believe most of what comes out of Ferguson or Whitteys mouth. And as for Hancock its not a single word. The worst thing is that I used to believe when we were told something that it was real. 77 Brigade and behavioural scientist professors within Sage has made me question what is right. With the Flu of 1919 the army carried stretchers and administered care and were the main casualties. In 2021 the army is used to infiltrate social media and set an agenda. If that is needed I struggle to grasp that there actually is a pandemic and what I am seeing supports this. Yes people have died however they had pre-existing conditions in the main and were predominantly in the old people’s homes.

    I have tried not to be controversial however the real death numbers will be coming to us when we start trying to balance the books with the extra 500 thousand million £ national debt. Cancer treatments maybe limited in the future. FIRE is going to be interesting for many when the floodgates are opened up to inflation and will those portfolios survive a return to 7% inflation.

  • 33 Tyro April 17, 2021, 9:11 pm

    Apologies TI – just noticed you’d already mentioned the Oxford paper (risks of CVT higher from Covid than from vaccine) in the links …… Doh …. feel free to moderate my last post out of existence! Can’t even claim it was brain fog due to the AZN jab as I had it five weeks ago. Still have a painful arm, though, like Griff. No other side effects at all.

  • 34 Tyro April 17, 2021, 9:19 pm

    @ Jonathan MK1 : I know nobody who has walked or cycled on the Fells. So obviously they don’t exist. Where do you walk and cycle really?

  • 35 Gary Cooper April 17, 2021, 9:29 pm

    Had my Covid 19 jab 6th March (A-Z) slight pain around injection point for 30 minutes or so. I was dreading it as I have had bad reactions in the past to the influenza Jab.
    I was in Taiwan last February where they had constant news coverage from China and I definitely wanted the inoculation !

  • 36 Jonathan Mk1 April 17, 2021, 9:53 pm

    Hi Tyro

    I live in Cheshire on the edge of the Peak District National Park. Probably worth looking it up as has some of the best scenery in Britain and is where the Ramblers were founded in the 1930’s. It was also used as part of the Tour de France route when it last came to our shores. Not all of us are city folk.

  • 37 Mr MedFI April 17, 2021, 9:57 pm

    I think the media furore over the rare cases of thrombosis is pretty shameful. The same media that have lambasted the government at every turn (rightly or wrongly) for their COVID response are now whipping up angst over the very things that will help us all get back to a more normal life.
    It’s such a low risk, lower than the risk of thromboembolism from COVID itself, not that this fact is making headlines. We had many patients with COVID whose lungs recovered but ended up dying, or surviving with lifelong ailments (e.g. dialysis dependent renal failure), from the absolute havoc that it wreaked on their bleeding/clotting balance.
    I can only hope that those with common sense who were going to get vaccinated anyway still do so. I imagine the “issue” provides a nice sound bite for anti-vaxxers to hang their hat on instead of their usual spurious diatribe.

    @Jonathan MK1 we had a multitude of patients on our ICU in their 30’s, some as young as 26. Most of them had no health conditions, unless you consider a continental European birthplace or non-Caucasian ethnicity to be so.

  • 38 Matthew April 17, 2021, 10:00 pm

    Congrats @TI, definitely safer than the covid, which without the vaccine you’d prolly eventually get anyway. You are not safe for 3 weeks at least, I’ve known people catch the covid before the vaccine could properly work.

    Me & wife had Pfizer 2nd doses at work and had only the heavy arm first time but achy & chills 2nd time, since the body then recognises and reacts. My Dad and MIL had AZ, with side effects 1st time but not 2nd, MIL caught the covid 2 weeks after 1st dose because her defences werent yet up. My mum had pfizer because the GP had a delivery they needed to use up.

    Its one of those cases where being overcautious about AZ or JJ is more dangerous than going in aggressively. We will have to get used to rapid rollouts of boosters, much quicker turnaround of vaccines. I would get my son vaccinated with any of them if it was allowed.

    I believe that vaccines will change our perception of the threat posed by covid.

  • 39 Factor April 17, 2021, 10:17 pm

    As I said here at the time, I had my first AZ at the end of January and had not even a hint of a side effect, of any kind whatsoever. My AZ booster is due next week, so we shall see what happens with that.

    I served in the armed forces for 12 years, and well remember the vaccination process when heading off on an overseas posting. You formed a queue, hands on hips and both shirt sleeves rolled high, and had two separate jabs in each arm; I know that one was for yellow fever but I don’t recall what the others were for.

    During that tour of duty we also took an anti-malarial tablet every day, a large thing about the size of an old penny which you allowed to dissolve on your tongue and which I think was called Paludrin. I’m happy to say that I avoided malaria, but couldn’t avoid many a sleepless night under the mandatory mosquito net, listening to the little beggars buzzing away as they tried to get at me!

  • 40 Matthew April 17, 2021, 10:32 pm

    My uncle, when he was at school had 3 of the same vaccine once because they were giving out sweets and he re-joined the queue to get more, until they recognised him.

    Once my GP texted that they were giving out lollipops with the flu Jab, but I had already had one at work and only got a sticker, I will suggest it next time.

    BTW shouldn’t we have booster BCGs too? I go near TB sometimes, and I read somewhere that it might help against the covid.

  • 41 Weenie April 17, 2021, 11:01 pm

    I had the AZ jab, felt shivery for a couple of days, but not so bad that I couldn’t continue working. Paracetamol and early nights did the trick. Arm was sore for about a week though.

    If this is something to be offered every year like the flu jab, then I’d choose to take it – hospitals and long covid scare me more than a side effect.

  • 42 Reactionary Investor April 17, 2021, 11:17 pm

    Are the current vaccines going to be that effective against the Brazilian, South African and now Indian variants of the virus? At this point its not looking good, especially when no controls have been put into place on arrivals from India at this point. Keeping the airports open all the way through this “pandemic” has always raised more questions with me than answers with what is supposed to be a critical life or death situation.

    Can anyone say what the long term effects are of all of these “vaccines” are say 2, 3, 5, 7 years down the road? With only a small timescale of testing done who is to say we couldn’t end up with another Thalidomide? Some things shouldn’t always be taken on blind faith. The Flu vaccine itself after decades of development was/is only 37 to 50% effective and after 5 months a Covid vaccine is 90 odd percent effective? Does this not in itself raise eyebrows amongst anyone? Can anyone tell me how many unfortunate people have died of Flu this year? The UK always has several thousand every season but curiously I’ve not heard of a single case this past year…

  • 43 SurreyBoy April 17, 2021, 11:25 pm

    A friend of mine in Spain said they have the daily report of Covid deaths there, and that these days the numbers no longer shock. You cant relate to them, unless perhaps you have lost a loved one. He said there are 2 people with blood clots that are reported on the news almost hourly – you see their photos, their family, their home, their workplace and the nation connects with them and the concern over blood clots. The media have some thinking to do.

    I just think the risk is tiny compared to the Covid risk, and I would hate to inadvertently spread the disease to others who could then die or suffer long covid.

    I honestly am a libertarian and while people have the right to not get vaccinated they don’t have the right to infect others. Personally i wont want to be served in a shop by someone who isnt vaccinated, I dont want to sit near them in an office or a restaurant or fly with them on a plane. Its not a moral judgement by the way, its just the maths of transmission. Im not going to risk catching Covid from someone so I can take it home to my family, just so someone else can exercise their freedom to not be vaccinated.

    If someone wants to exercise their freedom to not be vaccinated then whilst i think its a dereliction of civic duty, it is afterall their right. But dont be surprised when businesses wont serve them because they are a danger to their staff and customers and businesses wont employ them for the same reason.

  • 44 The Investor April 17, 2021, 11:49 pm

    @Reactionary Investor — 880 million doses of different Covid vaccines have been administered so far.

    If this isn’t going to satisfy you in terms of a widespread test of safety, I’m afraid you will never be satisfied.

    The vaccines have not been taken on blind faith. They were been rigorously tested in the same sort of trials as usual, albeit with the paperwork and approvals expedited — trials which included brave human volunteers who took the first doses who were prepared to trust the medical establishment to help us get out of this mess.

    Thank heavens for them. With 880 million doses now deployed, we can maybe be a bit brave too, eh? 🙂

    There’s nothing being hidden, to the extent that even a tiny handful of blood clotting cases have been brought to the fore and widely reported, and some countries have stopped using entire classes of vaccine as a result.

    The flu vaccine is less effective because there are lots of different strains of flu circulating in any given year. It’s not so much that it doesn’t work against a strain it was designed for in any one year — it’s that we have to ‘guess’ which strains are most likely to be dominant in advance and that’s an inexact science.

    The lack of flu cases recently is well-known and not especially curious. There’s something going on at the moment called a ‘lockdown’. This lockdown involves people staying indoors, not touching or seeing each other, frequently washing their hands, and wearing masks around other people.

    You may have seen them in the shops, or at least on the news? This has the effect of reducing Covid transmission; a side-product is it reduces the transmission of other airborne virus such as flu. This same effect was seen very early in the pandemic in Hong Kong, if you want to go back and have a read. It’s nothing new.

    I agree there could be long-term unknown consequences of any medical advance. That was true of all the previous advances, too. I’m no expert — unlike the medical and pharma firms who have brought us these lifesavers — but I don’t see any reason to believe the AstraZeneca vaccine should do anything particularly untoward.

    It’s basically just vial full of a weakened cold virus that has been altered to be unable to replicate — so it can’t take off in our bodies — that is able to distribute a bit of the Covid virus around our bodies. This way our immune system responds and knows to look out for it in the future.

    It’s not a much different process to the real live virus that all our bodies fend off all the time — except a real virus can replicate and run out of control and the altered one used in a vaccine can’t.

    For an example of a virus that can run out of control see, for instance, Covid, which has now killed 300 million people worldwide. Even if most of us will shake off the infection without big problems (which a majority of younger people do) it’s still sad maths that because the virus is now so widespread, that still leaves millions of people being left with long-term damage to a whole range of organs.

    Unlike the potential for some long-term consequences from these vaccines, that damage from Covid isn’t hypothetical. It’s been unfolding in hospitals across the land for 14 months. We need to put an end to it.

    @Jonathan Mk1 — I’m afraid you’ve missed @Tyro’s point. He is saying that just because you haven’t seen any Covid cases doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Same as he hasn’t been to the Fens but he believes they exist, because of all the abundant evidence in literature, movies, photos and so on.

    Similarly, Covid has dominated all news headlines for over a year. It definitely exists, and while I’ve left your comments up to represent that particular side of the discussion in exemplary fashion, further comments of this ilk will I’m be removed as I noted.

    I do appreciate you made an effort not to be controversial, as you state, and genuinely don’t detect anything particular malicious in your comments. I certainly wish you the best of luck with your Fenland walks, and I hope you and yours are forever unmolested by this disease and you can therefore go to your old age believing it was a hoax, as presumably you do from these comments.

    As for the countryside, I’m very jealous. I can’t wait to get out there again myself someday after being cooped up in London for the best part of a year. Enjoy! 🙂

  • 45 The Investor April 17, 2021, 11:52 pm

    @algernond — I deleted your witless comment stating that Covid was a strain of the common cold. Feel free to decide this site isn’t for you if this annoys you.

    As for taking the red pill you mention, if this is what it does to one’s thinking, I guess it’s made of ketamine.

  • 46 algernond April 18, 2021, 12:54 am

    Well. In hindsight, I didn’t have to use the work ‘common’.
    Coronaviruses do cause ~ 25% of colds for modern humans though.

    The hill to die on will be vaccine passports and the Chinese style social credit score system that it will lead to (unless people are not aligned with the Nuremberg Code of course).

  • 47 BeardyBillionaireBloke April 18, 2021, 4:04 am

    Risk: deep and shallow waters – The Financial Bodyguard

    But it says:
    Shallow risk – precipitous equity market crashes that recover relatively quickly

    The most recent example of this type of risk occurred during the credit crisis between 2007 and 2009.

    It’s writing as if 2020 was completely unnoticed!

  • 48 Matthew April 18, 2021, 6:10 am

    @Algernond – If covid were happening even 10 years ago we probably wouldn’t be able to vaccinate and we probably would be coming to terms with living with it, and it may well be a valid point that the deaths that happen are not many years of life lost and even if horrific numbers might not be worth locking down permanently over – BUT looked rightly or wrongly lockdown is what will happen, so the quickest way to obtain true freedom is to follow through and try to finish the covid off. I wear a mask even outside just because it’s an easy, undisruptive way I can help slightly, also you will not get freedom until people are vaccinated, people realise this.

    If there was a conspiracy you could not keep it secret. Who gained from covid? No governments, even then nobody predicted it on financial markets. If it came from a lab it’d be more about incompetence than malice.

  • 49 Tom-Baker Dr Who April 18, 2021, 8:37 am

    I had the Oxford vaccine on the same day Boris Johnson had his. A few days before taking the vaccine, I followed the recommendations from a New Scientist article I read on how to boost the vaccine immune response: do as much excercise as possible on the days before the shot, make sure that you get enough sleep, and try to arrange to get the shot in the morning (this last one is apparently only important for men, women do not seem to get any extra benefits from having the shot in the morning).
    Unfortunately, the earliest appointment my GP was offering was at midday. I’ve got everything else right though.
    Apart from feeling a bit tired in the evening on the day of the shot and then having one of the best night sleep I have had recently, I did not have any side effects from the shot.

  • 50 Vanguardfan April 18, 2021, 8:48 am

    @TI re second dose complications – yes, I am aware of what little we know so far, my point was that we haven’t amassed enough second dose experience to know whether it’s a non issue. The VITT complication only started emerging in number in the UK during March, so we’d need to be 11 weeks on to have clocked up similar numbers of second doses (though now everyone is alerted I expect there will be faster recognition and reporting).

    Re effectiveness against variants – there’s been a lot of unhelpful alarmism (IMO) about this. From what I’ve read we can anticipate some effectiveness from any vaccination, and good effectiveness from the best vaccines. I also expect there will be tweaked autumn boosters (not sure if I will get one, depends whether they only do groups 1-4 or the whole of phase 1 again). I’m choosing to be optimistic on this one, although I acknowledge there’s loads of uncertainty as to what exactly will unfold in the next 6-12 months. I am expecting next winter to be difficult but I very much hope we won’t ever see the like of Jan/Feb 21 again. I think (hope) we’ll see diminishing ripples over the next period of years and eventually we will build up enough immunity (especially in children) that it won’t be anything remarkable. But that’s just informed lay person guesswork rather than expert comment. It’s certainly a once in a lifetime experience, and I hope we have all developed a bit of humility about what may be around the corner as a result.

    I have zero worries about negative long term effects of vaccines, personally. I’m sure we’ve all had dozens of them after all. This is not new technology fundamentally. It does look as though the rocket boost to mRNA technology will have some very positive wider effects. Gotta find some silver linings..

  • 51 Algernond April 18, 2021, 9:01 am

    @Matthew – It’s no secret. There’ll be hundreds of thousands at the marches in London & Glasgow next Saturday. And look at the protests around Europe. So it can’t be can it? Many won’t see it unless they switch off MSM and start to do their own research.

    Coronavirus vaccines have been researched for decades (since the 1960s) with apparently no success, and now we are meant to believe they have been miraculously successful with not just one, but multiple versions of it ?

    ‘It will never end’ & ‘vaccine passports’ were apparently conspiracy theories less than a year ago. But now they are conspiracy facts.

    If you are interested in investing, you should at least be able to see the glaringly obvious relating to who has benefited from what’s happened over the last year.

  • 52 Harps April 18, 2021, 9:12 am

    I second Tim Azzopardi #13 on John Campbell – he and Roger Seheult, MD at MedCram.com continue provide great sources of well considered, science & research backed information on Covid-19.

    In particular, one of Campbell’s more recent videos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuyAtvwP2H4) highlights a possible issue with vaccination protocols which is well with watching; the bottom-line of which being: I will certainly be asking my nurse to aspirate before injecting when I get my second dose of AZ.

  • 53 The Investor April 18, 2021, 9:26 am

    @Algernond — I’ll leave those comments up to remind other readers that some people think this way, but if anyone wants to continue that conversation please do it elsewhere.

    Anything more from anyone in this vein is getting deleted.

  • 54 Matt April 18, 2021, 10:31 am

    It’s been really good to see such high take up of the vaccines in the UK. As a healthy man who’s still (just!) in his thirties, I’ll be further down the queue, but I’m OK with that. Agree with others that it’s definitely a civic duty to get it, whatever your age, but I’m also glad it’s not compulsory. That feels instinctively wrong to me (maybe slightly un-British!). There’s some evidence that by making vaccines voluntary, we actually get a higher take up too!

  • 55 Matthew April 18, 2021, 10:53 am

    Vaccine passports might look restrictive but actually are a way to open up freedoms sooner – from this point we’re not having freedoms removed but added and there’s every intention for vaccine passports to be temporary – a capitalist country won’t want restrictions slowing down the economy for no reason, and every law and limit to freedom we had pre covid also had a reason. It goes against the concept of capitalist profitability to hamstring the economy by hamstringing freedoms needlessly.
    (Off the record also I think our personal data isn’t interesting to the government so much as marketing, and that’s available through phone data anyway).

    RNA vaccines are a fantastic breakthrough previously not thought possible, we can develop better vaccines for other stuff off the back of this. Also I hope we can develop phage like viruses to attack cancer eventually, or use viruses in gene therapy.

    I can’t imagine so many people, including mother in law, lying about what they had – like watching a James Bond film could you really plausably expect so many of the villian’s minions to keep a massive underground lair secret? Why would they?

    Protests now: Outside, masks, not touching much, moving, concious of public perception if not distancing, and occurring in a time of lower infection prevalence.

  • 56 The Accumulator April 18, 2021, 12:10 pm

    It’s a shame Monevator’s comments plug-in doesn’t have the option to check a contributor’s past comments. Then you’d be able to see that they buy into every alarmist theory going – fiat currency, hyperinflation, pension wealth confiscation and on and on. They’re either incredibly well informed or… not.

  • 57 Juan April 18, 2021, 12:26 pm

    My vaccination is booked for 08:40 tomorrow morning. More than a small link between reading these comments and pulling my thumb out and getting it done.

  • 58 The Investor April 18, 2021, 12:40 pm

    @Juan — Good man, and thanks for sharing that small link, too. If posting this article and the follow-up comments have tipped a few hesitant people into getting protected, I’m super pleased.

  • 59 SurreyBoy April 18, 2021, 3:41 pm

    I say well done to this site for getting this discussion going. Its not too dramatic to say if it has persuaded anyone to take the jab, it has likely saved lives.

    The whole of humanity is deep in the shit people. Every vaccine is one small step out. Every vaccine in the UK means the faster we will export to poorer nations. End of sermon.

  • 60 Naeclue April 18, 2021, 4:20 pm

    Had my AZ jab a few weeks ago. Negligible ill effects – flu jabs and other vaccines have been worse.

    For those concerned about blood clot risk, why not offset the risk through lifestyle changes? Eat less and more healthily, drink less, get fit, give up smoking, get proper sleep, chill out.

    It would not surprise me to hear that the lockdowns end up causing more strokes than the vaccines due to lack of exercise, etc.

  • 61 Vanguardfan April 18, 2021, 4:33 pm

    The blood clot risk is an idiosyncratic auto-immune reaction. It is very rare but also unpredictable – its not at all like a ‘normal’ stroke with the known lifestyle risk factors (not that you can modify those meaningfully in the short term anyway).
    The random nature of it is what makes it feel a bit risky. Especially if you are in a (non modifiable) risk group where the majority of European countries have advised against use. (personally I think we are going to end up not using the adenovirus type vaccines in the longer term, but right now we need to take the risks.)

  • 62 The Investor April 18, 2021, 5:52 pm

    @Raj — You made a comment in which you speculated that you as an engineer knew more about the best way to protect against the coronavirus that has killed 3 million people than the world’s scientific and medical experts. That’s probably extremely misleading, hence I deleted it. If you actually do know more than the world’s scientific and medical experts, then instead of wasting your time writing comments here I suggest you alert them immediately to help us get out of this mess.

    As for what comments are ‘allowed’ on this website, ‘alternate’ or not, it’s entirely at my discretion. My total whim. I can and do choose to delete whatever I like.

    Maybe I just do it for a laugh and cackle and scream? Perhaps I’m a petulant child? Who knows?

    Suggest anyone who has seen through the lies etc of the “MSM” doesn’t waste their time here, anyway, because we’re chugging it big time. 🙂

  • 63 Naeclue April 18, 2021, 7:55 pm

    @Vanguardfan, yes sure, I appreciate that the vaccine blood clot risk and lifestyle factors are not linked. As you say, lifestyle changes can do nothing to offset the short term risk of a blood clot caused by a vaccine. It was more along the lines of considering ones overall risk of dying early.

    There is a hell of a lot that many people can do to reduce the risk of dying within say 5 years to way below any increase that the vaccine might add. If someone is not interested in taking some simple steps to significantly reduce the risk of early death, why are they concerned about about something that increases risk by a trivial amount?

    Every time someone takes a long haul flight they are putting themselves at comparable risk of a blood clot. And that is before you consider the other risks of flying.

    Drinking more than 2 units of alcohol a day increases the risk of a blood clot. How about sticking to that limit for a few months and avoiding altogether on long haul flights?

  • 64 Jonathan B April 18, 2021, 9:29 pm

    @Vanguardfan, the one good thing about the work on the clots is that now it is known they are essentially the same as a previously described very rare condition, doctors know how to treat anyone with symptoms. A much higher proportion should recover.

    Although the clots do create a doubt about the adenovirus vaccines – though even that is unsure, see that Oxford paper – it may be that the reason can be understood and then avoided. They may still be a good initial solution to any new infectious diseases though, particularly in locations where lack of infrastructure favours a vaccine stable at fridge temperatures. But one has to say the success of mRNA vaccines – with almost no track record previous – represents a massive lucky break for mankind (not underestimating the decades of research underpinning them, just the lack of prior use for mass protection).

  • 65 Vanguardfan April 18, 2021, 10:07 pm

    Yes, understood – and there are many good things about the AZ vaccine.
    Plus it is of course early days in terms of really understanding the duration and breadth of effectiveness for either type.
    We will see how it plays out, in the meantime we plough on and hope for the best. Tbh I think we’ve got the vaccines much more right than almost anywhere else. So if this strategy doesn’t work out at least it won’t be for reasons of incompetence or misjudgment, which makes a welcome change!

  • 66 JimJim April 19, 2021, 9:17 am

    @Factor (39)
    Your comment got me thinking about my own mindset. Thinking back to the number of times I have gone to the nurse for jabs to travel to far flung foreign countries and never once questioned the safety of the needle or the serum, and thinking of the heightened risk of blood clot from those long haul flights, let alone the side effects of the anti- malaria tablets (Both myself and Mrs JimJim were given a full years supply of Larium by our G.P.! – I went psychotic after five weeks and had to stop!). So, my mindset is obvious. I take calculated risks to achieve rewards, and I trust in the medical profession, mainly because I believe that they have my best interests at heart and they have the evidence to prove that their work is relatively (never totally) safe. A sane investment? You decide, I have already made my mind up.

  • 67 Algernond April 19, 2021, 10:22 am

    @TA – I’m very honoured that you’ve referred to me as a ‘contributor’ 🙂

  • 68 britinkiwi April 19, 2021, 11:01 am

    One of the aspects that seems to challenge many people is weighing up the risk in both having the vaccine – or not. For every choice there is an opportunity cost of some sort.

    An colleague academic from the UK has a blog (he specialises in pharmacovigilence) which discusses this issue – https://anthonycox.substack.com/p/is-it-safe-az-overall-benefit-risk – which may be of interest to readers of Monevator.

    @JimJim is correct – a lot of what we do in life is a measured risk, some of which is societal – such as the acceptance that around 1 in 240 of UK residents will be killed in a motor vehicle accident in their lifetime (In NZ it’s a little higher). I can recommend a very readable book, which demystifies quantifying and expressing risk, by Gerd Gigerenzer called “Reckoning with Risk”, published in 2003.

    As a health care professional here I’m slightly privileged in getting the Pfizer vaccine relatively early – although I’m aware of the value of having it for myself, the community and my whanau (family). (The vaccine rollout here is a little different to other countries as we don’t have community cases so priorities are different). Had a sore arm and a day of feeling under the weather but that’s it.

    We’ve just had a public meeting which I attended around the pandemic and the current issues and there were a number of very vocal protesters there who were difficult to engage in a reasoned debate and seemed very concerned about their individual liberties and choices. In these situations I’m reminded of the great libertarian J S Mills quote:

    “A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury”.

    @TI – this rambled a bit so feel free to edit!

  • 69 Michael Harper April 19, 2021, 11:10 am

    @ Algernond #67 – I think @TA’s Spellchecker may have made a timely intervention…

  • 70 Tyro April 19, 2021, 11:26 am

    @Britinkiwi – exactly.
    Much of modern liberal and libertarian thought is based on or heavily influenced by Mill’s work, the canonic statement of which is his famous ‘harm principle’: “… the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” (J S Mill, On Liberty) Many of today’s tuppenny libertarians loudly endorse Mill’s claim to wide areas of personal freedom (as do I!), but have failed to notice that his principle requires a person’s freedom be limited where doing so would prevent harm to others.

  • 71 The Investor April 19, 2021, 11:34 am

    Via @britinkiwi’s link, here’s a moving video interview from a pharmacist whose own brother died of a blood clot, and yet still strongly encourages everybody to take the vaccine:


    Impressively rational at a terribly difficult time.

    It seems her brother tragically took eight days of headaches before he went to A&E. I can quite imagine that would have been me, who tends to just tough pain out, prior to this publicity.

    Hopefully people can get treated sooner, too, now we all know about it, and better protocols will fast emerge.

  • 72 Tyro April 19, 2021, 1:45 pm

    Revision of my last post … I should have said the harm principle *permits* freedom to be limited (etc), not that it *requires* freedom to be limited (etc). I fully recognise the difference probably doesn’t matter a jot to anyone here but me. Thanks for your indulgence.

  • 73 No longer civil April 19, 2021, 4:17 pm

    Just to say we are due to have our second AZ jabs tomorrow without demur. I feel I am far more likely to experience a clot from my HRT than the vaccine, so why the fuss? I reckon TI is yet more likely to suffer from clots when moderating the website but only has himself to blame by straying outside the topic of investing.

    My experience of anti-vaxxers is limited to an 82 year old cousin who refuses any vaccine because she believes in homeopathy and that her homeopathist has given her immune system a boost. She was always claiming the royal family as evidence because of which she ascribed their longevity to their homeopathic leanings, notwithstanding all the other medical support they get whenever they so much as sneeze, but she’s stopped doing that since they all so publicly took their jabs. She won’t discuss her beliefs however, any more than she is prepared to discuss her belief in religion or support for Brexit.
    We love her dearly though and are happy to restrict our discussions to gardening, art and family history. We do worry however how she’s going to emerge from her neighbour-supported self isolation once things get back to something more like normal, particularly if new variants of Covid are going to be circulating for years to come.

  • 74 Tony April 19, 2021, 5:20 pm

    It’s not the death risk that’s material for most people. It’s post viral damage- “long covid”. 10% of all infected is a common figure. With the caveats that a) they’ll be studying this for years, b) they define it as continuing symptoms/effects for 12 weeks, which doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be affected permanently, that’s a material risk for everyone. Some will be permanently damaged. The even scarier thing is just as one in three of us won’t know we had Covid, many will have internal organ and other damage/effects that may not manifest for years. Early dementia, heart, lungs etc. It’s minimisation of this risk which motivates me. They don’t yet know if vaccines will protect against Long Covid risks (per Sage minutes, end of February).

  • 75 E&G April 19, 2021, 11:51 pm

    To use an investment analogy, it’s risk and reward and while at a societal level we want everyone to invest in getting the vaccine at a personal level the risks may outweigh the rewards for some. I’ve not looked closely at it at all as I’m months away from getting the letter but in my circumstances I’d think twice about getting the AZ jab. I’m relatively young, fit and healthy and have barely had a bad cold in my adult life and have (knowingly) avoided getting the virus even when it was rife pre-vaccine. Do I want to take the very slight risk that I’ll get a blood clot and die to save me the outside potential of a bad dose that worst case is likely to give me nothing more than some flu like symptoms? Probably not. I know the risk is around the same as a long motorway drive which you wouldn’t think twice about – but I’d also not make that journey unless I had to. Give the under 40s Moderna and Pfizer please.

  • 76 Matthew April 20, 2021, 7:41 am

    @E&G – as a 30-40 year old the risks are such that you face more danger from delaying an AZ or JJ jab than you would face having it – every day is one where you might catch covid, which itself causes clots to a far higher degree. You also don’t want to be a link in potential transmission or even mutation.

    If you totally wanted to avoid death risk we’d never drive, at least not to anything non critical.

  • 77 The Investor April 20, 2021, 8:49 am

    @E&G — That was the nature of my own unease, as described in the article. However I decided I was actually deluding myself with sloppy thinking, and falling prey to a behavioural flaw.

    Essentially the vague uncertain possibility of getting Covid feels more under control than the very tiny risk of getting a blood clot from a jab.

    If you literally don’t ever leave the house and get everything delivered online etc, then I suppose you can rule yourself out of getting Covid. I have been fairly self-isolated, but only up to the ‘normal’ levels — so I have gone into supermarkets, have occasionally queued for a takeaway coffee, have walked in the street around people without a mask.

    And while Covid is around, that means I can still get it.

    The scientific advisors’ slide is adjusted both for the chances of *getting* Covid (even at a time of low prevalence, such as now) and then the chances of something bad happening:


    For all but the youngest group you can see the risks of avoiding the jab were worse. That was why I say I realized I was thinking sloppily out of fear by having nerves.

    On a purely logical (and even ‘selfish’, non-civic) level I should have been nervous for any more delays, if I was honest with myself about the maths.

    Consider too that the personal benefits of the vaccine should continue for many months, and possibly (unproven so far) even years to come, at least to some degree. So the odds keep moving your way.

    I’m older than you though, and I accept it’s harder the closer you are to the younger age bracket. As I say in the article it is a personal choice.

  • 78 The Investor April 20, 2021, 8:53 am

    @E&G — p.s. Oh, and the ‘worst case’ is definitely not some flu like symptoms, even if you’re young. There are healthy young people who’ve been killed by Covid (or made cripplingly ill, organ damage etc).

    The numbers are very small, I agree. When it comes to the excessive fear felt by some of the young about personal consequences of Covid over the past year (as opposed to locking down for the wider good, say) I agree with you.

    But even though the numbers are small, they are far higher than the even-smaller number of blood clot deaths to-date across the tens of millions of AstraZeneca jabs.

    Again, I think it’s faulty thinking, though I really do understand where it comes from. Your choice though.

  • 79 E&G April 20, 2021, 9:09 am

    To be fair I’ve not looked into it in any detail, but perhaps the frustration – to stretch the analogy – is that if I was making the long drive from, say Glasgow to London, I’d take the option of the train. I’m not being given that and am being forced to drive even though the authorities accept that places a greater risk of death on me than it does a fat 50 year old in his sports car or the old codger in his 30 year old Volvo.

  • 80 Matthew April 20, 2021, 9:24 am

    @E&G – not forced, but being offered a safer road than what is otherwise available.
    Sometimes risks force themselves upon you, without your consent – like cancer for example, or an idiot driver who ran a red light and knocked my parents off their motorcycle forcing them to have amputed legs, or a meteor strike, or a brick falling off from scaffolding, or an incompetent maternity nurse allowing a baby to die, or an allergy you didn’t know about causing anaplilactic shock.

    When people are young they feel in control of their health, until they’re not anymore, and even then the cost of long term care is ours to bear – in the example of my parents the court case has dragged on 3 years and the insurers dont want to admit liability, so there’s been no settlement.

    30+ although relitively young isn’t as young as you might feel, you don’t have the same energy a 20 year old might have (i.e. can’t stay up as late, wounds & infections take longer to heal, less stamina, etc).

  • 81 xxd09 April 20, 2021, 9:33 am

    Daughter a GP so have some knowledge of current situation
    Long Covid is definitely not a condition to get!
    Long Covid appears not to be a respector of age sex or fitness
    Perhaps some genetic susceptibility explains results in affected patients
    Much higher incidence of long covid than vaccine side effects
    Long covid appears to be a fairly devastating condition with long if ever recovery periods
    A nasty virus indeed -to be avoided by all means possible

  • 82 Brod April 20, 2021, 2:14 pm

    @E&G – the train is not without risk either.

  • 83 cleanshoes April 21, 2021, 12:07 pm

    I am still not 100% sure how it was offered to me back then (mid-30s, no underlying health conditions), but I had my first AZ does back in mid-March.

    My only hesitancy at the time was that I would be taking a dose away from somebody in a higher risk group than myself but the GP surgery assured me not so off I went!

    I am not sure if there is anything definitive but I had read that younger people potentially have more severe side effects – I certainly felt pretty ropey for a few days (fluey cold symptoms) but I may have been a bit run down with a busy time at work beforehand which didn’t help.

    The more serious side effects didn’t trouble me at all, it seemed a pretty rational trade off to me vs. the very real potential damage that covid could cause…

  • 84 xxd09 April 21, 2021, 4:41 pm

    I gather that the current medical advice at the moment is not to vaccinate the under 30,s as the potential harm of the vaccine outweighs the harm from a Covid infection
    No doubt as vaccines evolve lower age groups potentially could be offered vaccinations if it is thought necessary

  • 85 Vanguardfan April 21, 2021, 5:27 pm

    No, the advice is that under 30s should be offered an alternative to AZ, if available. They are most definitely still on the list to be offered! The target is all over 18s offered by the end of July – that hasn’t changed. And AZ is not prohibited in that group, just not the preferred option.
    Hopefully there will be enough Pfizer/Moderna being held for that age group, when they (finally!) reach the front of the queue. Certainly the young people in my family are very keen to be vaccinated, they want their university education and rest of their lives back as much as the rest of us.

  • 86 xxd09 April 21, 2021, 7:11 pm

    I was.speaking about the reality on the ground
    Under 30,s down to age 16 with underlying conditions have ben vaccinated but the under 30,s cut off is in place
    Hopefully as you say different vaccines with side effects less than the disease will be coming on stream soon


  • 87 Vanguardfan April 21, 2021, 7:20 pm

    Not sure what you mean by ‘reality’ – we haven’t yet called those under 45 unless they are in a risk group, let alone the under 30s.

  • 88 xxd09 April 21, 2021, 7:33 pm

    In my local area 34,s and older have been vaccinated
    This may be ahead of the general curve

  • 89 Andrew April 22, 2021, 6:46 am

    What has been lost in this debate is the perception of risk.

    Almost any intervention the NHS does carries a far far higher risk.For any operation, test, medication a 1 in a million risk would be thought to be really good. Even taking 2 paracetamol carries a far higher risk. This debate is crazy.

    The AZ vaccine is one of the safest medical interventions there is.

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