Ilfracombe joins Premier League in battling Covid

North Devon Gazette

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been in town. He was touring Ilfracombe’s Pall Corporation factory, a major contributor to the global vaccine programme. It’s just unbelievable how essential its work is. Â

Pall specialises in providing critical equipment for biological developers and manufacturers, among them, AstraZeneca, with single-use consumables and high-quality filtration equipment. Â

All this kit is essential in the vaccine development processes. The American-based company has announced a £60m investment into Ilfracombe’s manufacturing plant, signalling the creation of an extra 200 jobs, nothing less than a major boost for a small Devon town like ours. Â

Pall’s expansion catapults Ilfracombe’s contribution to defeating the pandemic into the premier league of Covid elimination. Many indiscretions occurred within Downing Street, but they are surely dwarfed by the surprisingly effective alliance of government, science and the NHS in tackling Covid with a successful vaccination programme. Â

The worst effects of this mystifying, mischievous, yet deadly virus, alongside its malign offspring, Omicron, have been mercifully avoided. Â

Some 90 percent of the country’s adults are now fully immunised against serious illness offering the hope that the United Kingdom will emerge before any other nation from Covid’s cruel intervention into our lives. Â

Watch out for jubilant splash headlines about to declare ‘Britain Unmasked’. We can expect this to see this summer joyful photographs featuring kids at Platinum Anniversary street-parties stuffing themselves with cake beneath miles of union-flag bunting. Pub-goers will be crammed into their locals and swigging pints until 1am as they celebrate the seventieth year of the Queen’s reign. Â

Widespread relief surrounding the end of restrictions has been the happy outcome of mass vaccination, and the UK is set to enjoy further freedoms, whilst dozens of other countries continue to endure the misery of lockdown and social distancing.Â

Britain can boast world leadership in pharmaceutical innovation, but Sunak’s visit to Ilfracombe attracted that oddball fraternity of anti-vaxxers plaguing test centres and laboratories. Â

Outside Pall’s premises, these latter-day puritans brandished placards demanding that parents ‘protect’ their children by refusing to let them be vaccinated against Covid-19 and its various mutated strains. Â

I challenged one of the more vocal High Street protestors demonstrating against non-existent plans to impose a compulsory vaccination regime on Britain’s population. Were such an imposition to be introduced, the agency designated to fulfil the task would most probably be the NHS, but this much-loved and respected service could find itself permanently alienated from the public’s affection should it cooperate in any scheme that required unwilling patients being held down onto the floor in order to be jabbed. Â

Such a practice would, in any case, amount to assault, possibly GBH. Meanwhile, anti-vaxxers proselytise their deeply-held conviction that enforced vaccination is inevitable, and is central to some mythical government agenda. Â

Their newspaper of choice, ‘The Light’, postulates absurd dystopian conspiracy theories blighting our future, whilst lending support to one-time BBC sports reporter and vaccine opponent, David Icke, who claims to be the Son of God. Â

Ilfracombe’s anti-vaxxer warned me that I would ‘pay the price’ for allowing myself to be injected with ‘gene therapy cells’ and ‘microscopic semiconductors with radio frequencies’, enabling police to constantly track me. Â

‘What about compulsory seat-belt wearing, MOTs, and speed limits?’ I asked her, all principally designed to save lives. ‘They’re not invasive’, she barked. Nevertheless, all medication carries elements of hazard, including X-rays and CT scans, which expose patients to radiation, but with benefits outweighing risks. Â

Mass inoculation schemes have eliminated polio, smallpox and tuberculosis from our lives, yet in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, vaccinators determined to rid the world of calamitous diseases have been shot at and murdered, as have the police and soldiers guarding them. Â

Do anti-vaxxers stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those who see fit to gun down men and women whose singular mission is to preserve and extend the lives of vulnerable children, and prevent diseases from wreaking havoc upon the economies of developing nations? Â

Anti-vaxxers are a tiny minority, but minorities cannot be permitted to dictate to the majority. If you don’t want a jab, don’t have one, but if you catch Covid, find a private hospital and pay for your treatment.Â