Coronavirus days: how's my vaccinating?

1610023068469-16cf3c99-8fe2-4404-bc75-a2d3df9758f4 Vaccine rollout begins, but I notice a curious lack of numeracy, or so it seems. Sometimes numbers are reported, sometimes vague deadlines like "spring" or "autumn". I wonder, how does it stack up?

The UK govt plan says we have already vaccinated over 2 million people, and are on track to deliver on our commitment to offer a first vaccine to everyone in the most vulnerable groups by the middle of February. Later, "mid" becomes clearly "15th"1, and the four groups are those in care homes; 80+ and frontline health and social; 75+; 70+ and clinically extremely vulnerable1.

Update: (thx AS): note that "offer", above, is weaselly. If they offer appointments for three days in advance, then on the 15th they can claim to have "offered" everyone an appointment. Furthermore, are they factoring in the proportion who will decline, when offered?

And the numbers are then 0.3 + 0.5 + 3.3 + 2.4 + 1.4 + 2.3 + 3.2 + 1.2 = 14.6 million, unless I've miscounted (ah, but they says that total priority cohorts 1-4 is ~15 million). Since we're currently on ~2.4 million vaccinated (we claim 2.4 million, OurWorldInData says 4.2% which I make about 2.8 million; and I'm accepting first-dose-only as good enough for now), that's an additional 12.2 million in 34 days, or  375 k / day. Our current best rate looks to be a shade under 200 k / day, so... we're not going to make it. The plan says By late January we aim to have the capacity to vaccinate at least 2 million people each week, but that is somewhat under 300 k / day, so even if we hit that target, it won't be enough. And that's assuming working seven days a week, which I think we currently aren't.

So even on their own terms, they won't hit their target, and yet they claim to be "on track". And, here I return to my point about numeracy, they carefully avoid calculating the rates they need and seeing if they are indeed on track.

Did I get my numbers right? I find this (sorry, it's the Sun) which talks about 13 million by mid-Feb, so I think my 14.6 is about right. This, from Sky, says 14 million in six weeks, and agrees with my calculation of ~400 k / day (although the "conclusions" section seems rather muddled to me).

FWIW I think that, in retrospect, we were far too slow at approving the vaccine, and should have accepted greater risk.; and wasted our opportunities when the infection rates were low However, I didn't say that at the time so can't really complain at other's lack of prescience; and doubtless there would have been endless hand-wringing from the usual suspects if the vaccine had been "rushed".

My picture shows a French snail-collector, somewhere near Verdun, who I met one misty morning in 1989, on my way to Nis.


Vaccination rates do seem to be going reasonably well: 324k on the 15th, and just under 300k on the 16th, a Sunday 277k on the 16th, a Saturday. I say reasonably well, but they aren't good enough to hit the targets, so hopefully they will improve (update: they didn't: down to only just above 200k on the 18th). There seems to be some nonsense about doses being wasted - see, e.g. this, where the bureaucracy discovers that it needs to give permission not to waste them - but I suspect this is a minor effect.
2020/02/05. Still going well, the 7-day average is over 400k.

Triumphal conclusion

It would appear - quite to my surprise - that we have indeed met our target. Unlike those useless furriners in the EU, who have resorted to lying about it; happily for them the Graun is happy to publish their lies.

But as of this morning we're claiming 15,062,189 and I see no particular reason to doubt those numbers. Everyone is sounding happy, the govt is rolling in credit, and pressure for ending lockdown is starting to grow. Could people - gasp - be allowed to go on self-catering holidays?

Incidentally, there's a strong weekly pattern in the vaccination rates; I haven't seen anyone explain them.


1. There is some possible scope for ambiguity in these groups. I believe that by "four groups" they mean everyone in one of the first four (numbered 1-4) priority cohorts, of which there are eight different groups (for example, care home residents and residential care staff are two separate groups in cohort 1).


* Reflections on the President’s Conduct by Robert A. Levy - Cato: In short, President Trump’s conduct has been unacceptable. To be sure, the nation needs time to heal. So, the decision – urged by some observers – to impeach the President a second time, or remove him from office by invoking the 25th Amendment, may well hinge on prudential rather than legal assessments. Still, at a minimum, a congressional censure – joined in particular by Trump’s Republican enablers – would be both welcome and warranted.
* They were good questions then and they remain good ones today. From The rediscovery of character: private virtue and public policy by James Q. Wilson in the Fall of 1985 - TF.
* Walter Williams; The State Against Blacks: on the racial effect of the minimum wage laws.
Fidelity to the Rule of Law demands not only that a government abide by its verbalized and publicized rules, but also that it respect the justified expectations created by its treatment of situations not controlled by explicitly announced rules - Lon Fuller.
* And by bizarre co-incidence from that last quote, the EU's mask slips; see-also Marina Hyde taking the piss.
* In Praise of CVS by David Henderson



Brian said...

Well, delaying the second dose sure seems like a good idea, but little chance of that happening here in the US. People are too brittle in their reasoning, see only risks and ignore the potential benefit of saving tens of thousands of lives.

Tom said...

Hmm. Your calculations look reasonable, but I wonder at how many individuals could raise their hands as members of more than one group? If I'm 80+ in a care home and diabetic how many boxes do I tick if vaccinated?

William M. Connolley said...

I don't think it can be like that; the groups must be exclusive; since my sum-of-people agrees with the govt's.

Graeme said...

Predictions are hard, especially about the future

William M. Connolley said...

Plenty of time for it still to go wrong, but I agree, it is looking pretty good. FWIW, the govt's own official figures are easy to read now.