IN reply to Mr Walsh (Craven Herald Letters, April 8) I would politely point out that Boris Johnson’s responsibility for the Astra Zeneca vaccine and the successful roll-out of the vaccination programme is overstated.

Development of this type of vaccine was in progress before Covid-19 was identified and the Oxford team had learned how to scale-up production well before the government made the right decision to fund further development.

It would have been nonsensical to do otherwise. Hardly a ‘courageous’ decision.

What the Prime Minister was responsible for was the poor judgment that made the UK amongst the world’s worst in terms of Covid deaths per head of population.

Mr Walsh wants us to show some forgiveness for (among other lapses) ignoring warnings of the pandemic in early 2020 and throughout failing to take action to defend the nation against it. His delay in calling for a full lockdown until March 23 is estimated to have contributed to 20,000 deaths.

He ignored scientific advice for a circuit breaker in September and then lifted the lockdown for Christmas, creating a massive surge in cases from which we are still recovering.

A mish-mash of regional restrictions was so confusing that many people did not obey them.

At the onset, Johnson’s government floundered under uncertainty and unpreparedness. PPE supplies had not been stockpiled as had been advised well in advance of Covid-19 and the shambolic procurement process when it came was not only a waste of time and money but lives, including of frontline healthcare workers.

It took until July for people to be told to wear masks in public despite the benefit of this precaution being well known. Many thousands of elderly and otherwise vulnerable people died because the specific needs of care homes were ignored.

He spent (and is still spending) billions of pounds on a test and trace system (against the advice of public health professionals) that one year on still does not work properly.

As a result of what Mr Walsh calls ‘mistakes’ the current UK death toll is now over 127,000 and still rising.

By March 1 this year the UK had the fourth highest Covid-19 death rate (183.5 per 100,000) of the world’s 10 worst affected countries. I can’t think of much in all of this to forgive ‘Boris’ for.

Geraldine Reardon