IT is regularly said that we get the politicians we deserve. That being the case, society must be in a parlous state.

Trust in the political class is at a very low ebb and the limitations of the current crop of politicians across the UK are plain to see.

We are at one of the most critical crossroads in the UK's history and the success or otherwise of the Covid vaccination programme will resonate for many years to come.

A significant number of people are reluctant to take the vaccine for a variety of reasons. Whilst a proportion has an anti-vax agenda, I suspect that many are simply fearful of being asked to take a vaccine that is based upon new technology and whilst testing has been undertaken it has been truncated and we have no idea what the medium to long-term implications will be, if any.

The Government and the scientific community reassure us that it is safe and have pushed through approval at breakneck speed.

Sadly, history is pockmarked with numerous examples of safe medicines that have turned out to be far from that and we also know that governments are capable of leading us to war for the flimsiest of reasons. Trust needs to be earned.

The television media uses vox pops to marginalise concerns by focusing upon the Jimmy-from-Glasgow types and their "Ah'm no takin the vaccine coz it's made by aliens an ma heid'll faw aff." Give us some credit for considered opinions, please.

Like them or not, the daily party political health broadcasts have become the most important vector for communicating updates to the public and attract high viewership.

It seems logical to me then to propose that the BBC and other news channels host a live debate where Government and state and corporate scientists can explain the science, what is in the vaccine and exactly how it works.

It would only be fair to permit those within the scientific community who have concerns over safety and efficacy, assuming such exist, to have a formal platform for their views with a respected member of the civil rights lobby also being permitted to balance the political narrative.

Live debates are used for far more mundane purposes than a vaccine that will have implications for the whole nation.

Equally, if Government and science is sure that the vaccine is entirely safe then what do they have to fear by exposing the matter to full scrutiny?

Fraser Kelly, Glasgow G13.

WHAT a splendid article by Helen McArdle ("Anti-vax narratives will be our next biggest challenge", The Herald, December 3). It clearly explains that in medicine, as in life, nothing can be 100 per cent guaranteed. But had William Jenner not set in motion the principle of vaccination 250 years ago, we might still be living with the scourge of smallpox and many other diseases.

During the summer, there occurred an event which should have made banner headlines throughout the world (but didn’t because of the pandemic) – the eradication of polio from the continent of Africa, due in no small part to the efforts of Rotary International and Bill Gates’ money in the worldwide vaccination programme.

Because of the lack of regulation and control over social media, the anti-vaxers exert undue influence over those who have had, who believe they have had, or who believe they might get, an adverse effect from a vaccine. It is obviously no consolation to those who have tragically lost loved ones in the current pandemic, but the actual death rate is only 0.02% of the population. The Spanish flu it ain’t.

Hopefully, everyone will be lining up to get the vaccines when they become available. The country cannot stay shut down indefinitely.

John NE Rankin, Bridge of Allan.

WITH many manufacturers of a Covid-19 vaccine at various stages of development and testing, the winner may prove to be the one which can produce a safe and effective vaccine which will require only a single injection and which can be stored and distributed at temperatures at which other vaccines are usually handled.

The logistical challenges which will be encountered in a global vaccination using any of the recently announced vaccines should not be underestimated. The uptake in less developed countries with scattered populations in remote areas served by limited transport make the search for an approved single-dose vaccine of great importance. It remains to be seen for how long any vaccine will prove to be effective.

Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs.

I HAVE just finished watching First Minister’s Questions (December 3).

Ruth Davidson weighed in with a load of questions, where are the freezers to be, where are sites for vaccinations to be, etc.

I wish Nicola Sturgeon would answer truthfully something along the lines of (or maybe stronger): “You know fine well plans are fluid and we do not yet know where they are actually to be. Stop asking stupid questions anyone with any common sense would know the answer to: to wait until they have been confirmed and we announce the details in due course.”

I despair at times at the point-scoring and showboating at this critical time

Dougie Jardine, Bishopbriggs.

THE First Minister tells us that we are approaching the end of a long nightmare.

For a moment my heart lifted and I forgot about the pandemic and blissfully thought she was referring to her party’s time in office.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh EH6.

I DID raise a smile when David Stubley (Letters, December 4) made a reference to the possibility of Nicola Sturgeon walking across the Clyde and then telling all of us that she had discovered a cure for cancer, because we all know that SNP supporters would believe every word of it.

Maureen Henry, Glasgow G12.

Read more: Letters: Why can’t the FM praise the UK’s fine work in delivering the Covid jab?