The egregious beast that is 2020 has nearly huffed and puffed her way out of our lives forever. I long to see her distant butt cheeks on the horizon next month, as she permanently fades from view. I don’t know if you feel the same, but it’s as though this series of lockdown restrictions and pandemic shenanigans have a subtly corrosive effect on the soul. I’m rusting from within.  As for my personality I’m now Mrs One-note.  

Wake up, make a variety of breakfasts in my imaginary café (named Freudian Sips) sit at my desk for five hours, walk the dog, spend a few more hours with my immediate family (my face your face my face your face), cook, clean, watch tv, binge read, eat biscuits, go to bed, tackle insomnia, wake up, start over. Now the bright spot that was Bake Off has had its finale of to die for show-stoppers, I’m bloody glad they’re lifting the roller blind a crack to let us out. A semi-Xmas has been announced, but I won’t be able to head home any time soon. I’m testing positive to suspicion with a capital S that something godawful will happen as late as NYE too, (Brexit and Covid will combine in a ghastly Y2K style duo?)  as we wave our tiny flags and toot our flaccid horns in an Auld Land Syne-along that will perhaps usher in the Third Wave. This has been the longest November in living memory. Characterised here in the UK by our circuit break lockdown that was announced on Halloween (a night that that fizzled like the mostly absent fireworks and festivities) it is now in its final days. The Black Friday sales are a welcome diversion as we limp to the finish line, but I keep getting spammed by sales alerts for Charlestown Square, NSW, Australia which seems terribly far away from here, in a paradise now brimming not with Covid but with sunshine.

On the more convivial side of current events, remarkable leaps continue to be made forward to unlock our global pandemic stalemate. The science, which we have been ‘guided by’, like a gentle hand leading us blind folk to safety, is a subject around which I have scant knowledge and am both idiotically and ecstatically indebted to. There are too many smug and preachy armchair immunologists for my liking and I will not be joining their number, except of course to write this post.

Recent advances have seen scientists, in under a breath-taking TWELVE MONTHS, identify an entirely new virus, characterise it, sequence it, pin it down, bring it bang to rights, measure its genomes and then sprint off to the lab to conjur the vaccines that will not only save lives and save the economy, but enable us to travel all the way to Charlestown, NSW, Australia, if we so choose, in time for 2021’s Black Friday specials. It is in this state of giddy anticipation that I provide you with my guide to the vaccines that will soon be ours for the jabbing.


The all-singing all-dancing history making result of hard-working Turkish immigrants (surely the Nobel Prize will soon be theirs) claims the Number One spot. With its snippets of RNA coding from the spike surfaces of those mutant balls we’ve had to endure on every BBC bulletin since March, this vaccine boasts 90% efficacy. Okay, she’s a little on the high maintenance side, stipulating the many demands that constitute her rider. The Mariah Carey of the vaccine world, she won’t perform unless she’s kept at -70 degrees. She must be transported to her own ‘freezer farm’ in a special box with GPS trackers and once she leaves the deep freeze she’ll only sing for the next 5 days. She also says only the blue M and M’s will do and can she have an endless supply of TikTok while in transit. (Clips containing polar bears are her favourite). Her protein spikes have been modelled in the form of her must-have Louboutin heels.


Even her name is a little bit fabulous. Coming in second place but with 94.5%. success rate, this American college-style high achiever also wants a specially chilled environment to remain stable (in her case -20 degrees). Dolly Parton invested a whopping million bucks into her development, so she has a ringing endorsement from music royalty, and a penchant for country music. There could be 1 billion doses of Moderna administered by the end of 2021, her protein spike administered in a teeny fat bubble which can cause some gurgly side effects for 24 hours, but obviously this ‘reactogenicity’ is worth the (literal) headache. 

Oxford University/AstraZeneca

Ah, the keep-calm-and-carry-on of all the vaccines, AstraZeneca, is my personal favourite. Just pop me in the fridge, she says, in her non-demanding way, then pop the kettle on. We’ll have a Hobnob and a cuppa then get down to this ghastly business. She doesn’t mind she’s not first, she just wants to press on. Today the news emerged that during the vaccine trials, half doses of the Oxford vaccine were ‘accidentally’ given to a small number of volunteers, but it turned out they worked rather splendidly that way after all.   Quietly reminding us to queue patiently, she’ll be rolling up the sleeves on her tweed coat and coming at us with 60-90% efficacy soon.

Gamaleya (Sputnik V)

Seriously, I’m intimidated just writing down the name of the Russian iteration. I’m not that happy this guy tried to sling mud at Lady AstraZeneca by calling her a ‘monkey’. That the Oxford vaccine does owe its success to the ability to harness the virus of a chimpanzee doesn’t mean it will turn our PM into a giant Monkey Man after he receives his inoculation, so Gamaleya-Sputnik needs to pipe down.

Wuhan Institute/ Sinopharm

I’m not 100% sure, but I think China had the very first Covid vaccine back in February, which may or may not have consisted of bits of dead Coronavirus injected straight into muscle, under a conspicuously displayed flag. I’m also pondering the reason for the delay of their updated version. Is it because the Chinese were so effective at clamping down on the virus that it took longer for them to run their clinical trials? It’s now due any day, after eleventh hour hiccups in Brazil where the trials finally took place…but, not actual hiccups, as they are not an official symptom of Covid 19.

In summation, my arm is a-tingle with anticipation for whichever vaccine the NHS deems possible first. I’m unbelievably grateful to all the hardworking scientists and technicians who have made these vaccines a reality with such lightning speed. I for one, can hardly wait to get immunised, then fly home immediately, to the bosom of my family and friends. Maybe I’ll reconstruct the tattered remains of my deconstructed self while I’m there.

In the mean time, it’s still 2020,so I shall get on with writing my very own Coronavirus Christmas Carols to play in my imaginary cafe. Here’s a taster…

“God rest ye merry pangolin

Let nothing you dismay

Pfizer and Moderna

Come charging to the fray…”

Just what is it you think that I’m doing while I’m at my desk, anyway?