Publishing data on unvaccinated patients in Northern Ireland hospitals is a good idea

News Letter editorial of Tuesday October 26 2021:

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 10:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 10:56 am
News Letter editorial

With government expenditure so vast, and public demands for yet more funding in a wide range of spheres, there are those who think that people should be made aware of where their money goes.

One way of doing this is to detail on their tax return where, in proportionate terms, their contribution to the exchequer is sent. So if someone pays, say, £9,812 in tax, you show them what percentage of that sum goes to health or to defence.

If such a taxpayer finds that they are spending, say, £2,000 towards the NHS, they have a greater sense of stake in that expenditure, and might be less likely to demand that health funding goes ever upward.

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In other words, information is used in a way that might change how people see a particular matter of public policy.

The SDLP is proposing something with a similar logic with regard to vaccinations.

The party’s MLA Colin McGrath said that if the number of unvaccinated patients in hospital with coronavirus is published by the Department of Health each day it could encourage some of the adults still to take up the offer of vaccination to do so.

This is a sensible proposal.

It involves no compulsion, but it tries to open people’s eyes to elementary statistics.

The utterly disproportionate number of unvaccinated adults in hospital with Covid is a stark figure.

They have been a clear majority of the patients who are in intensive care, yet are a tiny proportion of adults at large. Only around 10% of adults have had no jab at all.

Publishing easy-to-understand data on this is one simple way of highlighting the risks to people of not getting vaccinated, and so making inroads into that unvaccinated group and reducing the likelihood of a deadly new variant of Covid.

We have come too far with vaccines to squander their great benefits now.

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