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The HfP chat thread – Saturday 27th March

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We are running this daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Comments (285)

  • ee says:

    Re the comments yesterday on the Viking offer, I have the same issue – I tried querying the missing 1000 points with Nectar and they couldn’t help and said it was a Viking issue.

    • John says:

      If your employer doesn’t pay your bonus your bank won’t be able to help either

      • ee says:

        Nectar have more skin in the game than my bank given it is their brand also being damaged if organisations they choose to partner with do not honour offers. I imagine Nectar take a dim view of this kind of behaviour and if consistently reported to them they may put pressure on Viking or ultimately review the relationship. Plus there is always the chance of a goodwill gesture from Nectar to keep the peace.

        • Chrisasaurus says:

          But the point remains it isn’t Nectars problem to solve and the skin they have in this game is not sufficient for them to be paying out bonuses that other companies choose to offer and not fulfil.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            It’s Nectars reputation on the line as well as Vikings.

            If Viking are continuously underpaying then that’s not a good look for Nectar.

            Completely different the an employer bank employee relationship.

      • Christopher says:

        Whilst understanding your point, that’s not a very appropriate analogy.
        Viking and Nectar have more than just a transactional relationship for such trades.

  • gareth says:

    Sorry for the basic question but do you get Amex offers on the Amex issued nectar card? Thanks

    • Harry T says:

      Yes, you do. My girlfriend has a nectar card and we receive offers on the main card and the supplementary/additional card.

  • The Lord says:

    Seems sensible

    • Andrew says:

      For those that want to know what the link is to – it’s an “exclusive” from The Sun on “ ALL passengers arriving in Britain will have to take a rapid covid test under ambitious plans being considered to get Brits back on holiday this summer”

      • Anon says:

        what about the £1,750 rip off fine to return? When is that being scrapped. No one can afford this in the pandemic.

        • BuildBackBetter says:

          No one ‘travelling unnecessarily’ can afford this in the pandemic.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            There are plenty of necessary reasons to travel. The world didn’t stop turning because of Covid no matter out much you’d like to believe it.

          • Oh! Matron! says:

            Tgloyalty… care to share? Unless you are Stanley Johnson in disguise 🙂

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Freight still needs to move
            machinery still needs fixing
            families split across countries are unfortunately losing loved ones (even without Covid)
            Engineering is still taking place
            Extreme weather testing still has to happen
            Planned Immigration / new jobs etc etc

            Zoom can’t replace every aspect of human life.

          • Lady London says:

            The problem is that it hits those travelling necessarily.
            Which I was one of recently.

            Left me disgusted with the UK as it was a documented urgent exempted reason and not just a Stanley Johnson rich man’s second property reason.

        • Patrick Cold says:

          Many people are in a significantly better financial situation now than they were pre-CV19.

      • DT says:

        Thank you, really annoying when people post links with no description of what it is and just two random words.

      • BJ says:

        Doubt overseas holidays are going to happen, at least in anything approaching the normal sense. Schools return in Scotland already largely responsible for bumping the R number back up to 0.8-1.0. Rest of UK will follow shortly. On top of that the easing of lockdown is now coming so that will feed through too. Only thing that’s different this time is whether vaccine effects on serious illness, hospitalisation and death are such that ‘freedoms’ can be sustained despite an inevitable increase in infection rates – let’s hope so.

        • Harry T says:

          I’m still cautiously optimistic about travel this summer, especially to the USA. Ultimately, Covid is here to stay. If vaccinations prevent the overwhelming majority of hospitilisations and deaths, then we can then live with the virus. Constantly keeping the country and economy locked down is unsustainable and bad for public health.

          • Andrew says:

            I agree. There will be a bit more hassle and queues for things at the border in/out and back again, and wearing masks on the plane and the airlines with their Covid excuses why they can’t serve pre-takeoff drinks anymore etc – but if you can deal with all that, then certain destinations will be within reach this summer for certain. And agree USA probably most likely.

          • Chris Heyes says:

            Harry T Although I agree with all your comments
            It isn’t to say there hasn’t been winners and losers lockdown has seen my shares fly upwards (lol) the last month or two, bought 2020, plus my bank balance has also risen
            Public health may have suffered but mine hasn’t (I think)
            The economy will have certainly suffered a lot, but has I said my economy is up
            We haven’t been able to travel but we haven’t been able to spend either
            I’m sure there will be other winners like me, but also a lot more losers

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Why would England follow Scotland when all English schools went back before all Scottish schools?

          Also a rise in the infection rate isn’t so bad if the link between infections and hospitalisations and deaths has been broken by the 30m vaccines (given to 99% of people who do and 95% who end up in hospital)

          • The Lord says:

            Exactly, cases not the indicator to focus on now

          • TGLoyalty says:

            In case anyone is interested as at 21/3/21

            c93% of over 60’s have had atleast 1 dose
            c80% of 55-59 have had atleast 1 dose
            c65% of 50+ Have had atleast 1 dose

            The link between high cases and high hospitalisations / death rates should have been broken.

            A further 6m of the 25m doses given to 21/3 have been given to 18-50 year olds.

            ONS survey released on March 16th (data is for 3rd March) suggests around 1 in 3 over 16’s had COVID antibodies. Since it takes around 2-3 weeks for the immune response to kick in post vaccination thats doses up to around week ending 14th Feb.

            Since the 14th 17m more 1st doses have been given or c31% more of the over 16 population.

            Ofcourse there will be overlap between people who have natural antibodies and have had the vaccine but In 3 weeks time atleast 50% of the adult population will have antibodies! The R (as calculated for these government statistics) will be seriously hampered.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            That meant to say “c65% of 50-54.”

          • Freddy says:

            I keep on seeing articles with ministers still being concerned with the spread of covid due to the risk of variants developing even if there is zero hospitalisations. If that’s their thinking we’ll never escape from lockdown

          • Froggee says:

            Scottish schools went back first but in a staggered manner. So preschool to primary 3 have been back since 22nd February. Whilst these young un’s don’t apparently spread as badly, it is striking that West Lothian which has the worst case count in Scotland currently has several primary schools with varying degrees of outbreak. It could just be a coincidence and a West Lothian outbreak has fed into the primary schools given that other areas don’t have as bad a issue. Secondary school in Scotland is yet to resume fully so we’ll probably find out fairly quickly if England overtakes Scotland again given all the English schools went back in a oner.

          • Will says:

            The issue is with mutations, we don’t know or understand them sufficiently well yet to make an informed decision on them.

            It’s only when the vaccine is rolled out, and mixing once again takes place that a vaccine resistant strain has a competitive advantage so the plan should really be
            1. Monitor that domestically very closely to observe if such a strain exists in the U.K.
            2. Be extremely careful about foreign countries with high caseloads and known mutations as importing these could put us back to pre vaccine risk levels.

            Foreign holidays should be ok if a vaccine resistant strain doesn’t emerge here and cases at the destination are similar to here with no known mutations.

            We’re a while off that situation.

          • Ian M says:

            Best to just keep the UK in lockdown forever. They’ll always be new variants of Covid, plus there’s the normal flu and of course we don’t know what other new viruses are just around the corner. Better to be safe than sorry, never give people their freedom back for their own good!

          • BJ says:

            They went back later, still has to feed through, and it will, just as surely as night follows day.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @BJ no

            All schools went back on 8th March before all schools in Scotland.

            The real risk is in the 11+ age groups which went back full time on 8th March in England while there was a phased introduction from 15th March in Scotland.

            Re mutation talk about project fear. Let’s lock up for good.

          • Will says:

            Whether you agree with it or not, the reaction of almost all responsible governments to uncontrolled admissions to hospital is to lock the country down.

            So if you dismiss mutations as incapable of doing that you must know more than the current evidence, which is that we don’t actually know if there are any deadly vaccine resistant strains out there but that some studies on SA variant have demonstrated that current vaccines may be ineffective against them.

            SA strain is in Europe and many countries in Europe have uncontrolled infection rates.

            Would you really risk invalidating the current vaccine roll out so people can holiday?

            Personally I’d rather have a de restricted U.K. than have a summer holiday and face going back to another lockdown.

            This isn’t going to take long, in 3 months we should have excellent real world data on this issue. The cost of ignoring the issue could put us back 6-9 months.

          • James says:

            Misinformed again, TGL. Scottish schools did go back first, albeit in a staggered manner.

          • BJ says:

            @TG, you’re missing the point. Ultimately, covid is spread person to person not age group to age group, sex to see, race to race, profession to profession or anything else. Those are only patterns that emerge resulting from person to person contact and transmission. Transmission is transmission with potential for further transmission within and across any defined groups. Person to person transmission can occur within any group you care to define and there is nothing that renders a transmission in P1 potentially less harmful at larger scales than one that occurs at 11+. @Froggee refers to the situation in West Lothian in relation to transmissions in schools, the same think is happening towards the other extreme. In East Ayrshire with less than 50 cases per 100k they have whole classes of P1 5yo self isolating at the moment due to confirmed cases. The numbers will increase in schools regardless of age and when they started or whether they started together or where. The impact of schooling will become more difficult to measure as the lockdown is further relaxed but that does not mean schools have no impact, they do and they will.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @James as per usual you haven’t read the comment

            So I’ll reiterate again ALL school ages have gone back to school full time before Scotland. That is fact

          • David D says:

            @Froggee’s point relating to the schools aspect in West Lothian (which is where I live) could be part of a delayed reaction once more of the school children returned after the issues at Addiewell prison recently which caused a spike in positive tests locally. With the children of staff at the prison mixing in class with Covid-19 asymptomatically then passing it onto other children who in turn take it home, is the main likelihood of the increased cases in the Livingston area. One specific section in Livingston Village was recently showing 88 cases at a rolling 7 day case per 100k of the population over 1,500. Overall, I am eventually expecting that children will also be vaccinated to break that potential chain of transmission, which may delay travel further dependent on how other countries decide to manage it.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @BJ I don’t think I’ve said anywhere that schools returning doesn’t have an impact.

            I specifically have issue with you saying England will see an impact after Scotland when ALL school ages returned to classes on March 8th which was before all Scottish did.

            – remaining Scottish primary years only went back full time from March 15th
            – Scottish secondary equivalent ages only went back part time from March 15th.

        • Gavin says:

          Given that the height of the first wave in Europe was around this time last year, and travel in Europe was mostly back to normal by July, I don’t see why travel shouldn’t be at least as possible as it was last summer given that we are in a far better position this year. By July, most people in the UK should be vaccinated, and most EU countries should have made good progress too.

          • Callum says:

            Probably because the government probably isn’t quite content with just doing the same as last year, which culminated in the NHS coming close to collapse? How many people have greatly worsened, or even died, because they couldn’t get their routine hospital care?

            There are a lot of posts beginning with things like “if” this works, or “if” vaccinations have stopped mass hospitalisations then it will be fine. You cannot possibly know any of that yet, and it’s a perfectly legitimate strategy to not want to take that risk. We have clear evidence of the potential for the virus to mutate to such an extent that it renders certain vaccines almost useless – who knows what more is to come?

            It might all be fine, it might be a complete disaster. If the brigade who, for some reason, NEED to get abroad right now trigger a repeat of this winter again…

            Note: I’m not saying that travel definitely shouldn’t happen at all this year (or even ruling out myself going), I’m just sick of the “cases are down, get rid of the restrictions” mentality. They’re down because of the restrictions, and removing them puts everything in jeopardy again.

          • BJ says:

            @TG, think you’re still missing my point so we’ll just call it a day 🙂

        • BJ says:

          I don’t disagree @Harry T, the problem is we always get caught up in the UK perspective and overlook the destination perspective. The USA is a good example, the rationale for it seems reasonable and plausible given our respective progress in vaccinations. However, the benefit to the UK economy from inbound tourists to the UK from the USA massively outweighs the benefits to the USA economy of visitors from the UK. Therefore, the USA might not consider the trade off between the risks to public health (particularly from variants) and benefits to the economy politics and the wider society as favourably as Westminster likely does. We have already seen a willingness to accept those trade offs from Greece but their economy has much more to gain from UK travellers so who can blame them, paricularly based on early indications of the benefits of mass vaccination. They have been both much more rational and pragmatic than the majority of their European neighbours. We can all be as optimistic as we like based on what is happening here, but at the end of the day where we can go overseas will be at the mercy of political decisions taken elsewhere, the vast majority of which Westminster will have little or no influence over.

          • Harry T says:

            @BJ I broadly agree.

            Opening up last year was a disaster because it was done promptly and without thought. For instance, letting people socialise indoors in pubs was an awful idea. This time it appears the government has learnt its lesson and is going slow, with outdoor socialising permitted first.

            I don’t think there’s any point comparing the situation directly though, as last year we only had low cases and seasonal variation on our side. When you have vaccines that essentially eliminate the risk of death in vulnerable groups, you are talking about a different ball game. Covid will continue to mutate, of course, but we haven’t seen any convincing evidence that this will render vaccination meaningless – unless you count poorly conducted small studies that have been overhyped by the media. Personally, I think we are going have to accept a certain amount of cases and hospitalisations moving forward, or face the consequences of ongoing lockdown on mental and physical health across the country. As a side point, I think people are quick to paint those who desire to travel abroad on holiday as selfish, but vacationing is a powerful means to improve mental health and prevent burnout. I’ve worked flat out all through covid and I could certainly do with a holiday. I know people in ICU who will have worked harder than I can imagine. Public health needs to be seen as more than just suppressing covid at all costs, and I say this as someone who is far from a lockdown sceptic.

    • Oh! Matron! says:

      I had to cycle round Heathrow (Hatton X, east end of the runways, northern perimeter road) yesterday to pick up hire van up from Hertz

      There was a massive testing facility in one of the car parks on the northern perimeter road, and another one in between the HGI at HX and Khuene and Nagel. Lots of little tents, flood lights, people standing around….

      On a lighter note, watching an A320 take off with no cargo is amazing…. The angle of attack looked to be close to 15 degrees!

      • Lady London says:

        @Oh Matron! for Hertz vans especially if you hire them repeatedly over time I highly recommend Hertz Feltham. They specialise in vans used them on and off for years. There is a bus stop right outside the estate it’s nearish the A30 at the Heathrow end. They do a few cars too particularly if booked with a few days’ notice.

        I only pick up at Hertz Heathrow if there is a specific reason such as needing to pick up 24hrs. Also the history of Heathrow Hertz has a lot of reports of fake damage until past couple of years so always wary there. (seen people more than once being apparent victims of this when picking up my own hire too.). Feltham has never messed me round and used them quite a few years now. Smaller branch as well and generally nicer experience.

    • Alan says:

      I cannot see the logic behind requiring a PCR test on the way out to Amber countries.

  • ashish says:

    This is why we should remain in the EU. They are to powerful cant do anything without them.

    • Ian M says:

      We can’t remain, we’ve already left thankfully. As for rejoining I think there’s no chance whatsoever of that!

      • BJ says:

        The reason so many Tories love covid and want to take action to sustain the worst of it on public health and the economy is because it is sufficiently distracting to hide the disaster they created by Brent.

        • BJ says:

          …or Brexit … wow, the dark arts have now got to predictive text 🙂

          • Michael C says:

            Thought you were referring to a new series of The Office, BJ! Now THAT I would watch, as they struggled with imports into Slough!

          • BJ says:

            Never got round to seeing it @Michael.

          • Ashish says:

            This is right it is disasters after another

        • Ian M says:

          So what’s the reason for all the many other countries that are doing the same, what are they trying to distract people from?

          • BJ says:

            Who cares, I just enjoy winding up Brexiteers (including my old dad ) … it’s a fun sport, some just can’t ignore it.

          • Bazza says:

            Don’t look for logic from these people. As you see….who cares! Embarrassing.

        • Harrier25 says:

          God! This thread is like listening to Nick Abbott on LBC.

          We’ve left the EU. Get over it and move on.

          • BJ says:

            I am over it, I accept it but I thought it was about getting our freedoms back? Does this not include me freedom of speech?

          • Rob says:

            Quick reminder that HFP does not, and never has, offered freedom of speech.

          • Harrier25 says:

            @BJ, what has freedoms and freedom of speech got to do with droaning on about leaving the EU based on articles from the Guardian newspaper?

          • BJ says:

            @Harrier, everything when it comes to a very small number of Brexiteers who think that because we have now left this means that nobody is allowed to voice the smallest criticism of either the cause, process or effects of Brexit.

          • Yorkieflyer says:

            If I recall we were taking back control, but no one has ever convincingly explained to me what we actually want to do now that with all the opt outs we had we couldn’t do?

        • Doug M says:

          Exactly BJ.
          I’ll offer this on the EU. I work for a company that turns over around £80M/year. Of this they do around £12M/year in the EU. Since 1st January in an attempt to maintain that level of business they’ve started selling to an EU based subsidiary which in turns sells to the EU customers. This allows the company to pay the VAT, reclaimable some months later, and the import duties, sunk expense. So the companies cost have increased around 10% to 12% when freight difficulties are factored in. These additional costs go to the EU as duty, and a large USA freight company. Many of our competitors in the UK have struggled to find a working system, which may prove a small short term gain, but in the long term I don’t believe that’s good for anyone. To be clear none of these additional costs are teething issues, they’re real additional costs that will remain.
          I don’t see any Brexit benefit myself.

          • Bazza says:

            It was never just about money. Remainers constantly on about money.

          • Chris Heyes says:

            Doug M, But Doug you don’t need to see any benefit ? for or against it’s happened
            I don’t see any benefit to having to pay taxes and surcharges on flights
            but its happened.
            I Think if I can’t see a benefit to me it shouldn’t be allowed lol

          • Will says:

            Quick vaccine roll out?
            (And I say that as someone in the U.K. who’s company has goods stuck in Spain awaiting the docs, having said that my German suppliers sorted docs out ASAP and no delay on shipping, 2 months later and Spanish still haven’t got correct papers)

          • Callum says:

            Bazza – the reason people “go on about money” is because that’s the argument constantly pedaled by most Brexit supporters.

            I’ve regularly tried to get clarity over what exactly the non-monetary benefits are, and in 99% of cases it ended with “get the foreigners out”. So I guess it’s not surprising most people like to keep that bit of their agenda hidden under the surface, covered with fake concern for “the economy” etc.

          • BJ says:

            @Bazza and others…just for the sake of clarity, as far as I can tell the impact of Brexit in many ways has been less severe than I anticipated. However, let’s face it, that is simply because Westminster caved in on most of the hard Brexit most Brexiteers wanted and just accepted what Brussels was prepared to give them. I can live with the result but I still would never have voted for it, and still wouldn’t do now despite my views on Europe taking a very hard hit from the ongoing shambles over vaccines.

          • Harrier25 says:

            This isn’t criticism @BJ. This is just dragging up the same old things and it’s now getting very boring!

    • Navara says:

      Don’t want to trigger another Brexit debate but that’s another reason we are better out.

      • IanM says:

        Even the Tories who are a bunch of corrupt incompetents get it right by accident sometimes, although to criticise the EU when you don’t export any yourself says it all.

        Grant Shapps in charge of the Global Travel Taskforce, OMFG heaven help us.

        • Harry T says:

          Grant Schapps wasn’t even smart enough to dodge a travel ban to Spain he was largely responsible for implementing!

          • IanM says:

            haha…reminds me of Stephen Byers in charge of transport when he didn’t even have a driving licence!

          • kitten says:

            Guy Opperman has the same effect on me. Listened to an interview yesterday where he appeared to libel a well known industrialist, by name, at least twice in the interview. Most people would agree that industrialist has taken corrupt actions but he hasn’t actually been tried or convicted.

      • Harry T says:

        Individual countries and their regulators are allowed to take unilateral action regarding authorisation and administration of medicines, within the EU. So the UK’s actions regarding the vaccine rollout could have happened within the framework of EU membership. I’m a fan of facts rather than partisanship!

        • Will says:

          They can, but have any?
          The facts are that developed countries outside of the EU are rolling out vaccines far quicker than those in the EU.

          • Jamie says:

            Lol, what about Denmark?

          • will says:

            I stand to be corrected but it was my understanding that all EU countries went under EU approval and vaccine procurement until it proved to be ineffective at delivering sufficient doses and it’s only recently that those countries that have sidestepped the EU procurement process have been making ground.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            My understanding is that those that signed up to be part of the EU procurement process couldn’t do deals which would lead to preferential treatment from the same suppliers ie AZ Pfizer and moderna.

            But can do deals with any other provider independently.

    • mark2 says:

      I thought this comment was ironic?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Last time I checked Hungary, Monaco, Malta, Serbia are in the EU and have very good vaccine rates.

      AZ leaving the EU 100m shots short for March has obviously had an impact on the roll out!

      • Harrier25 says:

        Hungary & Serbia have been vaccinating their populations with a Russian drug called Sputnik….no thank you!

        • Ian M says:

          By all accounts Sputnik is one of the best Covid vaccines. Personally I wouldn’t take any of them. But what makes you against Sputnik?

          • Harrier25 says:

            It has nothing to do with it sharing the name of an 80’s rock band, but I wouldn’t trust anything that comes out of Russia. I certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable having a Russian made drug injected into me. I know that I have probably been added onto Putin’s kill list with comments like this, but oh well, never mind.

          • Ian M says:

            You wouldn’t trust anything that comes out of Russia? Are you sure about that? 😂

        • Doug M says:

          A Russian word that I understand means travelling companion. Do you have some specific technical issue with the Russian Sputnik vaccine or just general xenophobia which doesn’t extend to other vaccine producing countries?

          • Oh! Matron! says:

            Given Harrier’s delight in leaving the EU, I think we can work the answer out for ourselves.

            One of my closest friends is a virologist. You know, PhD and all that. We have a lengthy phone call a few weeks ago where she took me through each of the vaccines and the methods

            To cut a long story short, and without bias, I’d prefer to take the Russian vaccine that the Oxford!

          • BJ says:

            @Oh matron, care to share with us what she told you about Pfizer and Moderna?

          • Harrier25 says:

            As sure as sure can be, Ian M. Why would you?

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            I don’t think it’s xenophobic to be wary of a state led by a megalomaniac that spends so much time and effort on doing harm to the UK and its interests. Also if you’d ever experienced typical Russian healthcare you’d be wary of everything related to it.

          • will says:

            Russian scientists have produced some excellent products, and I’m confident the Sputnik Vaccine is fantastic as it was designed in the lab by those scientist.

            I don’t trust the Russian government to do what they say they will do, so will they be sending the vaccine, will it be a placebo, will it have passed quality control, will it be mixed with Novichock for people the state doesn’t like?

            As a UK citizen I would rather risk covid than have something sent from Russia, the state is not trustworthy. They denied a nuclear power plant had exploded until it become impossible to do so and if anything the integrity of their government is worse now than then.

            If that’s xenophobic then I’ll consider changing my stance when they stop using biological and radioactive weapons on people that disagree with their politics, stop invading neighbouring countries and stop shooting down civilian airliners.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          If it works, it works! Who cares what it’s called

          If you trust big pharma from the USA and Europe to roll out vaccines then you should trust the Russians and Chinese!

          AZ is doing a trial with Sputnik mix and match to see if it provides an even stronger immune response.

          • Harrier25 says:

            Why should I trust Russian and Chinese vaccines over ones from the US and Europe? The USA and European pharma companies have to follow tighter regulations and their governments are not corrupt…..well, not as corrupt.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I didn’t say more than I said if you should trust 1 you should resist the others.

            Some of the biggest health scandals in the world have come from European and US Pharma companies and governments lack of transparency/regulation.

            Vioxx, USA Opioids , USA’s habit of paying for blood or taking it from prison inmates leading to contaminated blood scandals like Factor VIII etc

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Bloody hell Apple is having a laugh.

            Trust not resist.

        • Alan says:

          There’s nothing wrong with the Sputnik vaccine itself, in fact it’s a bit better than our AZ one.

          The Russians took a chance on testing as they rolled out, it could have gone badly wrong but thankfully it didn’t.

      • Paul Pogba says:

        Serbia isn’t in the EU but is negotiating membership, Monaco isn’t in the EU but cherry picks programmes it wishes to join (like Switzerland). EU member countries have millions of unused doses the OAZ vaccine EUropoeans don’t wish to take because Merkel and Macron (and many of the national drug regulators) have undermined its credibility.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          You’re right Serbia is just a full candidate

          Monaco is part of the customs union via France.

          Doesn’t every country on the mainland pick and choose what they like to implement!

          There just aren’t millions of unused AZ doses in Europe I recall an article talking about 1-1.5m dose “stockpiles” in 3 large member states a couple of weeks ago which wouldn’t even supply a weekend of vaccine rollout in the UK. We also have no idea how many of them were being held back for 2nd doses because they are millions of doses short of supply for March/April.

      • meta says:

        Serbia is not in the EU.

      • maccymac says:

        They are short of doses because of political incompetence and nothing more, but decide to behave like a mafia gang in undermining public confidence in the vaccine (not safe for over 65s, causes blood clots, etc) and relentlessly blaming AZ to save their own skins. The EU insisted on AZ making vaccines at partner sites and are now crying because those partner sites are having issues.

        Robert Peston, writing for ITV, summarises it here:

        In May (2020) AstraZeneca reached an agreement with Oxford and the UK government to make and supply the vaccine.

        In fact Oxford had already started work on the supply chain.

        The following month AstraZeneca reached a preliminary agreement with Germany, the Netherlands, France and Italy, a group known as the Inclusive Vaccine Alliance, based on the agreement with the UK. The announcement was June 13

        But, the EU insisted that the Inclusive Vaccine Alliance could not formalise the deal.

        The European Commission insisted it should take over the contract negotiations on behalf of the whole EU.

        So there were another two months of talks and the contract was not signed till the end of August.

        What is frustrating for AstraZeneca is that the extra talks with the European Commission led to no material changes to the contract, but wasted time on making arrangements to make the vaccine with partner sites.

        The yield at these partner sites has been lower than expected.

        The problem is in the course of being sorted.

        AstraZeneca say it is working 24/7 to make up the time and deliver the quantities the EU wanted.

        It says its contract with the EU – as with the UK – was always on a “best effort” basis, because it was starting from scratch to deliver unprecedented amounts for no profit.

        AstraZeneca is not blaming the EU.

        But it does not understand why it is being painted as the “bad guy” given that if the deal had happened in June, when Germany, the Netherlands, France and Italy wanted it done, most of these supply issues would already have been sorted.

        A pro-EU source at the company says “I understand Brexit better now”.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          The EU didn’t insist they were produced at partner sites the article you are quoting is saying that if they didn’t waste 2 months the contracts with the partner sites might have been signed quicker and issues ironed out by now.

          Ofcourse the partner sites were probably contracted anyway to produce vaccines for the rest of the world and the problems in yields might still be there in two months.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Also the “not-for-profit” is a red herring

            To quote an FT article

            “AstraZeneca, which has promised not to profit from its Covid-19 vaccine “during the pandemic”, has the right to declare an end to the pandemic as soon as July 2021, according to an agreement with a manufacturer.”

          • maccymac says:

            “What is frustrating for AstraZeneca is that the extra talks with the European Commission led to no material changes to the contract, but wasted time on making arrangements to make the vaccine with partner sites.

            The yield at these partner sites has been lower than expected.”

            Read again.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Honestly I think you need to read again.

            The comma is important.

        • Jek says:

          Most of what Preston says is not true and only blames the EU. In fact both contracts between AZ and the UK / EU habe been signed within a day of each other. Both contracts are extremely similar and contract law does not support the stance that the UK contract trumps the EU contract. It is just AZ Choice to supply the UK instead of the EU. Note that the EU are exporting a huge amount of vaccines to 3rd world countries to support them while the UK has not exported a single dose. Instead, they have imported the majority of the vaccines that have been administered.

          I am sick of this self centred Britain first where all media outlets in the UK are just repeating the „look how great the UK is in vaccinating“ instead of proper researching what is going on.

          • maccymac says:

            “Most of what Preston says is not true and only blames the EU.”

            The EU does not dispute this summary of events, nor does Macron and France.

            “It is just AZ Choice to supply the UK instead of the EU.”

            That is nonsensical, the EU is a much bigger market… unlike the EU, AZ, like many other international businesses, are driven by markets and revenue, not baffling ideology.

            “Note that the EU are exporting a huge amount of vaccines to 3rd world countries to support them while the UK has not exported a single dose.”

            As of Feb 19th, the UK has provided $735 million for COVAX. The EU? a paltry $489 million.

            The UK also supplies vital ingredients that make up the Pfizer and AZ vaccines to the EU, without which the EU is producing nothing and exporting nothing.

            The EU has blocked vaccines to Australia, an act of modern day piracy, holding hostage an agreed transfer of contracted and paid for goods. Who made up the shortfall to Australia? Britain

            The EU is a dumpster fire

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Australia has next to no Covid and no use immediate for 250k vaccines. They chose their route and it was closing their borders.

            They, plus any others like them, can wait while the rest of the world who didn’t completely shut themselves off vaccinates.

    • HBommie says:

      You tried this tack last week, looks like you got a bite this week.

  • Bobri says:

    Follow-up question to @ChrisBCN and other Iberia Icon users – are there any viable routes left? Revolutionary via bendy or bee-next or the lion bank?

  • Nico says:

    Hi can I ask what Creation – only acronym I can’t work out !

  • Ali M says:

    Etihad 30% buying bonus email just now.

  • @mkcol says:

    Why would a 3 night, 19000 points/night Hilton redemption at a DoubleTree have now been reduced to 52,806 points deducted and also have earned me 597 base points?
    No incidental spend or anything other than just sleeping there this week?
    I’ve done no other stays for over a year & am diamond if that makes any difference.

    • Andrew says:

      Did the rate include Breakfast?

      Some kind of VAT adjustment, or discount due to closure of leisure facilities?

    • kitten says:

      Well done.
      Best not to ask 🙂

    • QFFlyer says:

      597 base points *2 (100% diamond bonus)=1,194+1,000 MyWay points+2,000 per stay promo running at the moment, and there’s your missing 4,194. No mistake.

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