Tuesday 16 February 2021

"But let me bring up something else"


Here' a comment from Cue Bono on the Open Thread earlier:

I caught the ten past eight interview on Radio 4 this morning and the interviewee was a voice I didn't recognise. The tone however was very recognisable indeed. It was with the Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi, a gentleman most would recognise has done an outstanding job in pushing the UK ahead of Europe in terms of vaccine distribution.

It began "Let's start with the good news" and indeed there was some very brief recognition that things were going well. Then began a list of people that the BBC feels should be at the top of the queue for vaccination and demands to know why they weren't. Anyone listening from another planet would conclude that the roll out has been something of a shambles.

Relentless negativity and pathetic attempts at "gotcha". So if indeed it was a new presenter it was still very much the old BBC.

If you missed it, here's a flavour of that very interview:

Simon Jack, BBC: There are some interesting questions to be asked about how you prioritise people. Now, the Daily Telegraph is reporting the rollout for under 50 will be done by age and ethnicity, rather than profession. Is that right, and what are the benefits of doing that?

Nadhim Zahawi: You're absolutely right. So the top 4 cohorts, to which we've just given the first dose, are 88% of mortality. The top 9 cohorts of Phase 1 are 99% or mortality. We are now going back to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation asking the question as to what should Phase 2 look like. Should we be looking at those in professions like police officers or teachers or shop workers who may come into contact with much greater volumes of the virus? Should they be prioritised, or what do they recommend to be the prioritisation to make sure that we continue to bear down on serious infection, hospitalisation, of course, and death and...

Simon Jack: (interrupting) But if you're having schools go back on March 8, which is the target, surely putting teachers near the top of this is a no-brainer, isn't it?

Nadhim Zahawi: So here's the interesting thing. In terms of teachers, Category 6 is 16 -64 year-olds who may have an underlying health condition. That would capture any teachers who have an underlying health condition and therefore would be at higher risk of serious infection, hospitalisation and death. And of course any teacher over the age of 50 would be in Phase 1 as well because that's Category 9. The JCVI will look at the evidence for prioritisation in Phase 2, but I think it's right to ask them the question to say 'clinically do you think we should prioritise a profession because they come in much greater contact or should we be looking at other evidence, because we want to make sure that those who are in greatest need receive the vaccines first?'

Simon Jack: OK. It will surprise some I think that you haven't had the sort...haven't made those decisions already. But let me bring up something else. We had Mencap on earlier saying that adults with a learning disability... 

And on Simon Jack went, working his way through his list.

The last paragraph quoted there illustrates one of my pet hates as far as interviewing goes - i.e. when the interviewer gives himself the 'last word', pops in an editorial comment (and/or criticises the person being interviewed), and then, instead of inviting the interviewee to respond, immediately changes the subject and 'moves on'. 

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