Success of vaccine programmes should put Northern Ireland on a path out of lockdown

News Letter editorial of Saturday February 2021:

By Editorial
Saturday, 20th February 2021, 9:21 am
Updated Saturday, 20th February 2021, 10:09 am
News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

If anything shows the advantages to being part of the United Kingdom, the vaccine rollout has done.

The UK has been one of the most successful nations in the world at dispensing jabs to its population. Northern Ireland has had a particularly high rate of implementation.

A reason Britain has done so well is that its world class scientists at Oxford University and elsewhere have been key to developing these revolutionary medications.

Given the rapid rates of vaccine administration, it is disappointing that Northern Ireland’s schools are returning in a haphazard and slow way.

Children are least at risk from Covid and should already be back. As the ex principal Hugh McCarthy wrote on these pages yesterday, their education is being blighted by this long absence from the classroom. The risks to teachers are no greater than they are to people who serve in a shop, who have been working without complaint since last March.

Now that the vaccine programme is making such headway, we need to see a path out of lockdown — and out of the grave injustice of some types of business and employment facing ruin and other types being completely untouched.

Robin Swann says lockdown may remain in place at Easter. If so that will have been three months of severe restrictions on core liberties. The damage done to mental health, the economy and other important aspects of human existence cannot go much beyond that.

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Editor