Pecs, flags and vaccines

Simon Chater gets the vaccine in Devon
Johnny Mercer receives the vaccine at Derriford Hospital as part of a trial

Action Man Johnny Mercer, Conservative MP for Plymouth Moor View (or ‘less view, please’ as one wag tweeted) is quite keen on posting shots of himself in various stages of disrobement, albeit often at the beach. He has even appeared semi-naked lathering up Dove shower gel for an ad run in the USA. He’s rather pleased with his physique, too, proudly stating that he has never used steroids as “why put diesel in a Ferrari?”.

He recently had part two of the vaccination routine. In the first round he was quite happy to spare the staff and wear a polo shirt.

So what happened when it came to part two? Apparently, he could not wear anything because it would be too difficult to get the sleeve up over his bulging biceps and he was…wait for it…too embarrassed to explain that reason. Hmm. It’s all a bit Vladimir (Putin).
Twitter quickly began to speculate as to the true motive behind the great reveal.

We will never know for sure. Good on Johnny for being part of the trial, though. But maybe spare the staff in future? At least he had a mask on, so I guess one thing off and one thing on, diddle diddle dumpling, MP John. (Note that the other MP is posing for a flu jab promo about 10 years ago, hence mask-free.)

Getting vaccinated in central Devon, septuagenarian Simon Chater went for a rather different look:

He wrote about the experience:

I’ve just had my first COVID vaccine! A new question has been added to the list of questions they ask you beforehand: how do you describe your ethnicity? No prizes for guessing my answer!
The NHS staff gave me an enthusiastic reception. As I drove into the centre, the car park attendant said “I like your hat”. The second car park attendant turned out to be German and applauded both the hat and the sweatshirt.
So too did the nurses and doctors inside the building. A doctor kindly found the time to take this pic.
The whole operation was brilliantly organised. I thanked the NHS staff for working so hard to make us all safer.
Wearing our EU regalia for vaccination looks to be a good campaigning ploy. If anyone objects, remind them that the EU co-funded the AstraZeneca vaccine’s development.

Simon makes an important point about the funding. One that Johnson is keen not to hear made.

Another reader attended a vaccination centre with her mother:

I took my mum for hers yesterday. On each table they had little union jacks. I dont know why. It bothered me. There’s no medical need to have union jacks on each vaccination table. So why were they there?

Johnson and his government have seized on the NHS-run (brilliantly run, incidentally) vaccination roll out as evidence of British superiority in the vaccination ‘arms race’. They have wrongly claimed that they were able to fast track the Pfizer vaccine approval because of Brexit, when in fact all the approval was done while we were still members. Again, fair play to Matt Hancock. He watched the movie Contagion and knew you had to get a wiggle on to secure vaccine supplies in the event of a pandemic. Now Johnson wants to ram home that the so-called Oxford vaccine is British vaccine (for British people). Hence the flags. It is so straight out of the school yard, isn’t it?

We pay tribute to the many scientists around the world who have put their all into coming up with vaccines. Cross border collaboration has been key and those involved are focused on defeating the virus rather than scoring cheap nationalistic points. But, amidst the disastrous figures for deaths, the failures of the privately-run test and trace and the bungling of lockdown, airport quarantine etc not to mention the utter horror show that is Brexit, Johnson will clutch at anything for a jingoistic fix.

People are surely beginning to tire of the endless gaslighting and dead cat throwdown strategies to bludgeon us into submissive adoration of superman Johnson and his team. Don’t look at the PPE cronyism scandal! Look over here! See? We have the Oxford vaccine! We have flags! We are world-beating!

World-beating? Please. Enough. We just want better. We want better from our politicians. We want better from our media. And we want to BE better. Every day. In every way.