Boris Johnson called the delivery of 15 million vaccines since December an “extraordinary feat”.It is an achievement—but it’s not his.
The vaccine rollout is perhaps the only government response to the coronavirus pandemic that hasn’t been mired in total chaos and in failure. That’s why Johnson is so keen to take credit for it.
But it owes its success to something the Tories have been trying to destroy, undermine and sell off for decades—a public health service that isn’t run for profit.
Compare the vaccine rollout to the failed test and trace scheme. The Tories have spent tens of millions outsourcing the operation to private companies such as Sitel.
The result was call centres understaffed with workers who were undertrained, unable to contact anywhere near the number of people needed to make the operation effective.
On top of that, years of privatisation and cuts had reduced the NHS’s ability to test for coronavirus as quickly as it could have been done.
In contrast, vaccination centres have been run directly by the NHS. They’ve been staffed by NHS workers who’ve gone above and beyond to run a service for the public good, not for profit.
“We’ve done it together,” said Johnson on Sunday.
But the vaccine success has nothing to do with him.
It’s just more proof of his failures.