RECENT broadcast news items have featured Joe Public repeating views on the Covid vaccines which are just plain wrong. Statements that the vaccine development was too fast gives the implication that it was developed on the back of the proverbial fag packet, concocted in a backstreet drug lab and just “thrown out there”.

Some commentators and writers imply that anti-vaxxers’ views should be accepted.

The mRNA vaccine developed by BioNTech/Pizer and Moderna has been in development for decades.

Statements that it was developed too fast just create unnecessary anxiety and unfortunately feed the fears of anti-vaxxers. There are more than enough conspiracy theories swirling around Covid and its origins, without extending this to vaccine development and production.

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I recommend an article published in the New Scientist on October 13 which explains the history of the development and testing of this vaccine.

Development of this mRNA technology started in 1990, where mice were used to produce the proteins for our bodies to detect and manufacture anti-bodies. Breakthrough occurred in 2005 when another technology development improved mRNA to increase protein production by 1000 times.

In 2010 human trials took place for a drug called patisiran. In 2013 100 people were infected by H7R9 bird flu and a vaccine was produced within eight days, showing its development speed.

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Big Pharma did not see this mRNA vaccine development technology as being a project to invest in. This was a Big Pharma miss. The smaller pharmaceuticals companies continued development.

A further point regarding claims mandatory vaccination programmes are against a “free society”. Free to whom? Don’t the rest of society have a right to be protected from infected individuals?

Omicron is predicted to generate higher infection rates, which will translate into higher hospital attendance over a shorter period, which means other critical operations in hospitals will reduce. These are the critical outcomes that we as a society must avoid.

Alistair Ballantyne
Birkhill, Angus

BEST wishes to Joanna Cherry for a speedy and full recovery from Covid; and thanks also for confirming in her column that even this Tory government doesn’t intend to withdraw as a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights (Catching Covid denied me the chance to put Raab on the spot, Nov 17).

So, our rights will remain with the convention, but access to them will be restricted by the prohibitive cost of having to seek redress through the European Court of Human Rights rather than our own courts.

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In this way this Conservative and Unionist Party government proposes to reduce the internationally recognised political decency of fundamental human rights for all to just another commodity, available only to those who can afford to access them.

Who doubts this Unionist government’s deconstructed human rights law will be the bedrock of assault against ordinary people in all manner of subsequent legislation; issuing challenge to those legislatively assaulted to oppose Westminster government through legal action while knowing full well that inability to afford to access justice in the more complex arena of international courts will stifle any challenge, and there is nothing poorly resourced ordinary people can do to oppose it?

Except, there is the ballot box. And we Scots can take heart that independence can rid us of divisive and oppressive Unionist Tory government, along with every tenet of a wealthy minority protecting corruption, selfishness and greed that it stands for.

Westminster is incapable of protecting the rights of ordinary folk, the underclass it’s intent on creating.

Isn’t a vote to maintain this unequal alleged partnership of the UK Union just acceptance of being of less value in society to the vested-interest paymasters of the Unionist Tory party and the despicable privilege system it promotes?

Set the date!

Jim Taylor

I REFER to the letter from Alex Orr (Dec 17) detailing the danger from the dumbing down of regulating hazardous chemicals after Brexit.

We are all told how we must protect the NHS from the latest dangers from the virus and its mutations. No mention of the danger to public health from the chemical lobby who are knowingly and deliberately adding hazardous chemicals into everything we eat, drink and breathe, thus causing our medical services to be inundated by cancer. Unless and until we wake up and fight back against chemicals in everyday life, the NHS has no chance, and neither have we.

Rachel Carson published Silent Spring in 1964, in which she alerted the the American public to the catastrophic effects of pesticides on the natural world. Her book had a phenomenal effect, but it was not enough to stop the poisoning of the planet. Toxic chemicals and pesticides are still being poured into the earth by the ton, while we recycle our bottles.

Margaret Forbes