OF course it is “wonderful” for care home patients to get the vaccine first, as they themselves say.

But the appalling death toll in our care homes was reported to be due to cross-contamination of staff working in several homes and to the NHS deliberately transferring hospital patients into them, without first testing them.

Both of these matters followed from the public health authorities’ jealous insistence on limiting testing to their own laboratories and excluding the offers from private, academic and charity labs until far too late.

The effect is that younger generations have to wait. But the probable consequences of that are a slower economic recovery and rather more younger people dying well before their time.

We need to return our economy to normal, and to generate the wealth and taxes for our health and other public services from January onwards.

However sad it is for those of us over 75, we are not “needed” to anything like the same extent; and most of us can take the right actions for ourselves and for society’s benefit. Surely the immediate priority should be health and care workers, school teachers, the military and emergency services, plus essential and certain other workers in private industry.

John Birkett, St. Andrews, Fife

Where is the evidence?

AS viruses have historically demonstrated their ability to mutate, it can hardly have come as a surprise to learn that there is evidence of the Covid-19 virus having done so.

We are repeatedly advised that Government ministers “follow the evidence”..

The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, “suggests” that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine should still be effective.

It has to be asked, where is the evidence to support such a claim? It may be fairer to say that the present vaccine may provide a measure of protection against any newly emerging strain though this yet remains to be confirmed.

Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs

Climate change and propaganda

THE BBC continually reports that every unusual or extreme weather event is caused by mankind’s emissions. A less polite person might say that the BBC are telling blatant lies.

The BBC has become the propaganda machine for the climate change industry which sucks in taxpayers’ money and pays its far-too-numerous apostles huge salaries to spit out warnings of a climate apocalypse.

The BBC blamed the derailment of a train in Stonehaven on “climate change’’. So much for the BBC Charter obligation “to provide duly accurate and impartial news”.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has repeatedly said that there is limited scientific evidence to link human-caused climate change to extreme weather. The IPCC stated it had “low confidence” of any impact on the frequency or severity of floods, that hurricanes and tropical cyclones show a decreasing trend, and that droughts were less severe.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow

Gunboats and the language of war

NEIL Mackay’s use of the word ‘gunboat’ (“Brexit speaks of the death rattle of English nationalism”, December 15) certainly gives us a glimpse of a person’s soul, in this case his own.

Mr Mackay might like to confirm with minimal research that the United Kingdom does not possess any ‘gunboats’.

The word is used by the ignorant, or those who are stuck in 19th-century history. I’m not sure which it is in Mr Mackay’s case, or perhaps it is merely him reporting tabloid headlines rather than actual government announcements.

Let him ask the fishermen of the North-East of Scotland if fisheries protection is just English nationalism.

John Burton, Thornhill, Dumfriesshire

Sweating? No, merely swearing

I, UNFORTUNATELY, misread The Herald the day before yesterday. I thought your article said that Fergus Ewing was having a “sweaty rant” and I thought, haven’t the Scottish people suffered enough this year without this being reported as well? Luckily it was a ‘sweary rant’, which is more palatable.

David Bone, Girvan, South Ayrshire

Cobalt mining in the DRC

ON December 15 The Herald featured a couple of articles promoting electric car-charging points.

Every time I see an article on electric cars an image enters my mind of the tens of thousands of child labourers who are sent underground in the Democratic Republic of Congo in terrible, dangerous conditions for a dollar or two per day in illegal mines to extract cobalt, a vital ingredient in high-performance batteries.

Geoff Moore, Alness

Sorry, Rosemary, not this year

TO add to John Dunlop’s list

of non-starter songs this Christmas (letters, December 15), how about the catchy “Come on-a my house, my house-a come on”, popularised in the 1950s by Rosemary Clooney ?

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop, Ayrshire

Mile after mile, after mile ...

YOUR headline, “Wait continues as UK and EU ‘go extra mile’ in bid to seal Brexit deal” leads me to reflect that some of us have been “going our mile” over Brexit, independence, and other issues, in Letters for quite some time, and nothing has changed.

So good luck with that.

R Russell Smith, Largs