I THINK I may have mentioned before that I’m not on Facebook for a whole host of reasons, but from time to time my attention is drawn to one or two more interesting posts.

I came across one recently on a local Warrington group from someone who had been contacted by the NHS and had declined the offer of a Covid-19 vaccine.

The poster made it clear he (I’m not sure if it’s a he or she so we’ll go with he for the sake of simplicity) wasn’t a Covid-denier or an anti-vaxxer but went on to list the reasons why he wasn’t going to have the vaccine.

That’s fair enough. He presented what appeared on the face of it to be a cogent rationale, a list of ‘facts’ that supported his considered decision to refuse to be vaccinated.

Now this is his truth and this is his reality and I have no argument with his decision.

And he chose to make his reasoning public so for the purposes of this column, I’m going to detail where his truth and ‘facts’ diverge from mine.

Firstly, he says he has a nagging doubt about the safety of Covid vaccines because they been given ‘temporary approval for emergency use only’.

This temporary approval, in reality, is the only authorisation that can be given at the moment for any of the vaccines in any country in the world. It doesn’t mean there are doubts about them. Full authorisation can only be given after long-term use.

He may be right, there may be problems down the line. On the other hand, there may not.

In my balance of risks, taking a vaccine based on proven technology – as the AstraZeneca one is – far outweighs my fear of contracting coronavirus.

To be fair to the original poster, he also concedes this point and adds he has done a self-assessment and balanced his risks, taking into account his age, physical condition, lifestyle and the probability he has already had the virus.

Where I do take issue with the poster is his assertion that the only claim to date for a Covid vaccine ‘is that it will reduce severity of symptoms from Covid. It does not claim to stop catching or transmitting it’.

This is just wrong. The latest Public Health England report shows that after one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, effectiveness at preventing symptomatic Covid-19 increased over time to 70 per cent between 28 and 34 days after vaccination. From 14 days after the second dose, effectiveness rose to 89 per cent.

The study also showed that in over-70s one dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was 60 per effective from 28 to 34 days post-vaccination, which increased to 73 per cent from day 35 onwards.

That’s significantly more than ‘reducing severity of symptons’.

I would also add that data for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine suggests that one dose of the jab could cut transmission of the virus from person to person by 67 per cent.

The question I ask myself is who do I believe Public Health England, or some bloke on Facebook.

The original poster went on to say: “I do not believe that anyone should factor in the possibility of vaccine passports being required to enter pubs, restaurants or arenas, or to travel abroad, in making their personal decision.”

I’m really sorry to say, this doesn’t make sense. Thousands of people around Warrington will be making their personal decisions whether or not to have the jab and surely the possibility of vaccination passports will be one of the issues that will need to be factored into all those individual decisions.

Where I very much agree with the poster is when he says: “I do not think it is appropriate for anyone to tell another person to get the jab, or indeed to tell another person to not get the jab.”

If people don’t want it, they don’t want it. It’s that simple. Leave them to their decision and its potential consequences and move on to vaccinating those who do want it.